MANILA — The Philippines will continue pursuing key structural reforms that support sustained inclusive growth that creates jobs and reduces poverty.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan stressed that while recent high economic growth has improved the country’s employment and poverty situation, inclusivity of growth remains a work in progress.
“We say that the task is far from complete because the employment and poverty picture still leave a lot to be desired,” Balisacan said in his remarks before the APEC Economic Committee in Clark, Pampanga.
He noted that sustaining growth and making it inclusive requires good governance and sound economic policies and strategies.
”The reforms undertaken thus far have yielded quite good results. The present administration’s strong governance and anti-corruption agenda has restored people’s confidence, including business and consumers,” he added, discussing the Philippines experience in structural reform.
Balisacan, also the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General, underscored the need for the country to develop a comprehensive package that will ensure more sectors benefit from structural reform.
“First on the agenda should be to ensure that there will be a lot more winners. This requires offering a level playing field (ensuring transparency of regulations and credibility of institutions), investing in human capital and ensuring mobility to equalize opportunities,” he said.
Moreover, Balisacan believes that the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) provides a forum for members to learn from each other, forge cooperative partnerships and accelerate structural reform.
He cited the massive potential gains from competition and opening up of the economy, including taking advantage of value-for-money goods and services and accessing a bigger market.
“And so, we support the move to further open markets, including reducing behind-the border barriers. In particular, SMEs (small and medium enterprises) need to be brought into the global value chain to make growth inclusive. The Services industry also needs to be encouraged to move up the value chain,” he added.
Balisacan said APEC can also provide the platform for deeper regulatory reforms through a program of regulatory cooperation or by providing technical assistance to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of regulations.