Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told members of the foreign media that the domestic economy is where the real action is in the Philippines and where the Duterte administration intends to score irreversible achievements for the benefit of the Filipino people.
Dominguez said the 6.5 percent expansion of the country's GDP in the year's second quarter demonstrates well we are on the way to building a dynamic, investments-led and inclusive economy, in which the incidence of poverty is significantly reduced, incomes have improved and domestic consumption is strong.
I assure you: this is an exciting economic story, and it has just begun. Stay with us as we stay the course. We will deliver the change that matters, Dominguez said at Tuesday's forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.
Besides Dominguez, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez also took part in the forum to explain the Duterte administration's economic breakout strategy anchored on its Build, Build, Build infrastructure program and heavy spending on social services.
We expect even more impressive numbers in the succeeding quarters as private investments begin moving and as the infrastructure program gathers steam, Dominguez said.
The finance chief likewise made it clear that the economy's rapid expansion, which is necessary to achieve the Duterte administration's goal of cutting the poverty rate to 14 percent by 2022, will not come at the sacrifice of fiscal discipline.
It will not be a reckless growth that incurs unsustainable debt and causes inflation to spike, Dominguez said at the forum. We have set clear quantifiable targets against which our performance might be measured.
Dominguez thanked FOCAP members for their fair and competent reporting on the Philippine economic story.
We are doing our best to provide you with the latest details of this remarkable economic unfolding. You will agree this is an exciting story to tell, more exciting than the natural and man-made calamities in our disaster-prone country, Dominguez said.
He said the government's goal of pushing the GDP growth rate close to the 7 percent level will be attained on the basis of strong domestic demand and reliable remittance and investment inflows, with the rate of inflation contained at 3 percent or lower.
According to Dominguez, the country invested much over the past three decades working down the national debt, improving revenue flows and containing the budget deficit to achieve today's strong fiscal position, which came at the expense of postponing capital investments and the expansion of social services.
Following this much sacrifice, Dominguez said, Now is the time to catch up and modernize our economic base. Now is the time to deliver the benefits of increased social spending for our people. Now is the time for our economy to break out from slow growth and begin performing as the region's dynamo.
Observe the other indicators of economic performance: the reduction of involuntary hunger incidence, decreased unemployment and underemployment rates, strong agricultural output and exports, greater investment inflows. These are transparent numbers. We aim to show improvement in all of these year after year, he added.
Source: Department of Finance