After unleashing a “barrage of reforms” in his first three years in office, President Duterte will continue to pursue game-changing initiatives in the final half of his administration to sustain high and inclusive growth and finally unlock Mindanao’s vast economic potentials, the Department of Finance (DOF) has said.
Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said Davao City will be at the forefront of Mindanao’s economic unfolding, playing a leading role in various sectors such as infrastructure development, agri-business, tourism, manufacturing, and transportation and logistics.
“The Philippine economy was about P17.4 trillion in 2018, of which 15.2 percent was contributed by Mindanao. I truly believe that Mindanao can sustain this high growth and be able to contribute more for the country's development. And I think this is among our marching orders: to unleash and realize the potentials of the Land of Promise,” said Beltran at a business forum in Davao City recently.
Beltran likewise pointed out that over the past five years, the Philippine economy grew by an average 6.4 percent per year, while Mindanao's average growth was higher at 6.7 percent during the same period.
Among the regions in Mindanao, Davao, the President’s home city, had the highest growth rate at 9.3 percent.
Mindanao, he said, can benefit immensely during this “golden age of economic reforms” under the Duterte administration.
Beltran, the DOF’s chief economist, said that “at no time in our history has there been a barrage of reforms” approved or implemented to bolster the economy.
In 2018 alone, he said these reforms included: 1) the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law that generates resources for the “Build, Build, Build” and anti-poverty programs; 2) Ease of Doing Business Act to streamline processing of government transactions, permits and licenses; 3) National ID system to facilitate financial transactions and improve the delivery of government programs; 4) rice tariffication law that has started lowering the price of rice and will generate funds to place the rice industry on a more competitive footing; and 5) the Private Property Security Act that will enable micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to use other forms of collateral to avail of credit.
Beltran also made special mention of the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which he hoped “will allow the rest of Mindanao to fly and soar like the Davao eagle.”
“But the Duterte administration is not resting on its laurels. The government will continue to adopt reforms, implement programs to boost economic growth,” Beltran said.
Beltran said among the reforms to be pushed by the Duterte administration in the last half of its term is the proposal to lower the corporate income tax (CIT) and rationalize fiscal incentives, which constitute Package 2 of its comprehensive tax reform program (CTRP).
The Duterte administration will also push the approval of measures that aim to harmonize tax rates in the financial sector, rationalize valuation systems for more equity, and transform agriculture into a key growth driver, he added.
“These reforms will help unlock the proverbial cage, releasing the eagle to fly high and free like the Davao eagle is doing now. Mindanao is an eagle trying to soar, and we hope that in the next flight of the Davao eagle you will bring the Mindanao eagle with you. Let us all work together to make this a reality,” Beltran said.