By: Ben O. de Vera, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Apr 13, 2018
CLARK FREEPORT ZONE-The “golden age of economic growth” being experienced by the Philippines was a result of reforms put in place by previous administrations, the head of the Duterte administration’s economic team acknowledged on Friday.
Moving forward, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III told reporters that the “dynamic” leadership of President Duterte was set to sustain robust growth in the medium term.
Last Wednesday, Kelly Bird, the Asian Development Bank’s new country director for the Philippines, told reporters in a press conference that he believes the Philippines is experiencing a “golden age of economic growth” amid sustained expansion in over five decades.
“If we are experiencing a golden age of economic growth, this did not happen overnight. First of all, it took a lot of work. Previous administrations really set the groundwork for our growth,” Dominguez said during the roadshow for the Philippines’ hosting of the ADB’s 51st annual meeting on May 3-6.
“The administration of President [Gloria] Arroyo, for instance, first of all, avoided the big crisis that happened in 2008,” Dominguez said, referring to the global financial crisis that happened a decade ago.
“The administration of President [Benigno] Aquino [III] provided us with a lot of cash savings, so our financials, our balance sheet when we came in it was very good,” Dominguez added.
“We have a very young and talented workforce. Our average age is 23, and these are people who have very good basic education, willing to work, and have the interest to be trained. We also have very mild inflation worldwide for the last seven or eight years. So all of these factors came together,” according to Dominguez.
For Dominguez, “more importantly, the Filipinos elected a very dynamic leader in President Duterte, who has a vision for his country.”
Dominguez said the President was “very determined to do three things: reduce poverty; make the country more law-abiding; and institute a regime of peace—-peace with communist rebels, peace with Islamic separatists, and peace with our neighbors.”
“So all those elements, particularly the election of President Duterte, has set us in a very good economic growth path,” Dominguez said.