Palace identifies 6 key areas where Duterte administration fared well

Malacanang identified on Tuesday at least six key areas where the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has shown significant achievements in just first six months of his presidency.

According to Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella, these are in the fields of economy, employment, infrastructure, international partnerships, peace talks and war on illegal drugs.

Regarding economy, Abella said the Philippines is one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia in 2016.

"With a 7 percent GDP growth in the first three quarters, we are sure to achieve, if not surpass, our target of 6 to 7 percent growth for the whole of 2016," he said.

Abella said household consumption, as well as investments in construction, public infrastructure and durable equipment drove the economic growth.

"This was supported by low inflation, low interest rates, better labor market conditions and the steady growth in the remittances of our overseas Filipino workers," the Palace official said.

He said other factors that boost the economy are Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps; agriculture sector which started to recover and finally breaking five consecutive quarters of decline; manufacturing; construction; utilities and, service sector.

In 2017, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) is expecting the gross domestic product (GDP) to grow between 6.5 and 7.5 percent.

"To accelerate poverty reduction, the fight for the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health or the RPRH Law. This is intended to make sure that women become more productive members of the labor force," he said.

Abella said the Philippine labor market is found to be in better shape "as employment rate as of October 2016 is at 95.3 percent."

"This means that there are approximately 41.7 million Filipinos employed, while unemployment rate also declined to a record low of 4.7 percent," he said.

With the improved local infrastructure and agricultural sector, Abella said employment is expected to improve again next year.

"We also need to strengthen linkages with academe, technical education institutions, and industries to equip students with competencies essential to thrive in today's competitive work environment," he said.

In terms of infrastructure, the NEDA Board approved 17 projects in 2016 including Phase 1 of the Metro Manila Flood Management Project; the EDSA Bus Rapid Transit Project; the Plaridel Bypass Road Project; the New Cebu International Container Port Project; the South Line of the North-South Railway Project; and the New Nayong Pilipino and Entertainment City.

"So what are the prospects for 2017? The government is ramping up public infrastructure spending next year, allotting at least 5 percent of the GDP to go to infrastructure projects until 2022," he said.

President Duterte also delivered remarkable job in improving international partnerships by embarking on foreign trips to Southeast Asian countries, China, Japan, and Peru.

"It was a very fruitful series of trips as the Philippines has now opened more opportunities for trade and investment to a market of 1.8 billion people across the ASEAN region," he said.

"This is line with our desire for a closer integration in Asia through regional economic rebalancing and diversifying our foreign economic relations," he added.

In January next year, the Philippines will host ASEAN Summit, describing it "a perfect opportunity for the Philippine government to forge more partnerships with our neighboring countries."

The intensified campaign against illegal drugs highlighted the achievements of President Duterte, resulting in the surrender of more than 900,000 drug personalities and arrest of over 40,000 and the seize of over PHP7 billion worth of illegal drugs.

President Duterte was surprised to know that illegal drugs have contaminated at least 4 million Filipinos.

"Exposing the drug menace has now led the government to look at it not only as a national security but also now as a public health issue, hence, the building of rehab programs all over the nation," Abella said.

The Duterte administration also worked hard in reaching peace with the state enemies particularly with the New People's Army and Moro rebels belonging to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front.

"President Duterte's ultimate dream is for all armed conflict to stop and for the Filipino people to live in peace, safety, and security," Abella said.

Source: Philippines Information Agency