Duterte’s peace, development efforts hailed as key to economic growth

Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez recently hailed the anti-crime efforts and infrastructure program of President Rodrigo Duterte as the key engines that propelled the country’s economic growth to greater heights.

President Rodrigo Duterte (left) and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez

“No doubt about it, the President’s peace and development efforts were the twin engines that propelled our economic growth,” Romualdez said, citing as proof the forecast of experts on key economic indicators of the Philippine economy.

According to reports, the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by 6.4 percent in 2019 and 2020. Per capita GDP growth is also expected at 4.4 percent in 2019 and 2020.

Meanwhile, inflation rates have been forecast to fall from 3.8 percent in 2019 to 3.5 percent in 2020.

“Economic experts are right: the best is yet to come. If we can sustain this, we might just propel our economy to greater heights never seen before,” Romualdez said.

The president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) said it is imperative upon Congress to do its share to sustain this growth.

“It is the duty of the 18th Congress to help sustain the successes of the President’s programs and projects by acting favorably and swiftly on the proposed legislative agenda which the Chief Executive is expected to outline in his State-of-the-Nation Address on July 22,” he said.

“We should not waste precious time in politics and bickerings. We need to hit the ground running in the opening of Congress and help sustain this momentum for economic takeoff,” said Romualdez, one of the contenders for Speaker.

PRRD’s anti-crime efforts raised investor confidence

Meanwhile, Romualdez said a number of investors he had talked with have expressed confidence about the country’s economic prospects due to the success of President Duterte’s campaign against criminality as well as the breakthrough in his peace efforts in Mindanao.

The lawmaker pointed out that even as early as the first two years of Duterte in office, the country’s had seen an all-time low in crime rate and local drug cartels have been dismantled.

He said kidnappings are no longer a thriving industry and peace has been restored in the streets.

“This the climate that investors are looking for before they decide to pump billions of pesos in our economy. It is no wonder that investor confidence in the Philippines is at an all-time high,” Romualdez said.

Investors cite Build, Build, Build

Aside from the improved peace and order situation, the Leyte solon said investors also cited the ambitious infrastructure development program of President Duterte as one of the reasons for the upsurge of business confidence.

The “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) Program seeks to accelerate infrastructure spending and develop industries that will yield robust growth, create jobs and improve the lives of Filipinos.

Public spending on infrastructure projects under the program has been pegged PHP8 to PHP9 trillion from 2017 to 2022.

Key infrastructure projects under the BBB Program include six airports, nine railways, three bus rapid transits, 32 roads and bridges network, and four seaports that will help bring down the costs of production, improve rural incomes, encourage countryside investments, make the movement of goods and people more efficient, and create more jobs.

Romualdez said the Duterte administration also scored points among investors in his administration’s “Roads Leveraging Linkages for Industry and Trade Program.”

The program was developed to create and enhance industry-developing infrastructure in priority economic and manufacturing zones.

Under the program, a total of 9,610 kilometers of roads supporting industry and trade development were identified.

As of 2019, PHP18.37 billion has been appropriated for the construction and upgrading of about 865 kilometers of access roads leading to industries and trade corridors across the country.

As of May 2019, 175.92 kilometers of access roads were already completed.

Romualdez also acknowledged as a big plus for investors the billions of pesos poured by the Duterte administration in programs and projects related to human development and social protection.

He specifically cited the free tuition in state universities, free irrigation to farmers, free Internet access in public places, institutionalization of feeding programs for public school students, free medicines, and financial support to indigent patients.

“Investors need a competent workforce for world-class products and services. The investments that we made in human development and social protection are now starting to bear fruit,” Romualdez said. (Jose Cielito Reganit, Philippine News Agency)

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