NEDA Assistant Secretary Carlos Abad Santos represented the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in the Philippine economic team that conducted briefings on the state and outlook of the economy, and the two-way question and answer sessions during the Cebu-Leg of Sulong Pilipinas-Hakbang Tungo sa Kaunlaran last November 9 at the City Sports Club, Cebu.
Abad Santos’s briefing covered the country’s macroeconomic and regional economic indicators and key policy reform agenda. During the open forum, he made many references to the Philippine Development Plan framework, chapters, and strategies that respond to the concerns of the Cebu audience for reduction in regional inequality and an improved technology and innovation environment.
Furniture designer and entrepreneur Kenneth Cobonpue, in his capacity as RDC Chairman, welcomed the audience to the forum with a message of hope. He briefly took stock of the achievements and challenges of the regional economy, and cited the bright spots arising from ongoing and pipelined major infrastructure projects.
Sulong Pilipinas is an annual conference between the Duterte Administration and the private sector, especially the small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs). It serves as the venue for delegates to directly participate in shaping the policies meant to benefit them. It also provides an opportunity to the economic team to highlight the socio-economic accomplishments of the current administration as well as monetary and external sector performance. The conference also aims to hold a dialogue with the business community and other stakeholders. The Sulong Pilipinas 2018-Regional Development Forum has been brought closer to the Filipino business community by bringing it to the different regions Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
The economic teams represented during the forum were the Department of Finance (DOF), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and NEDA, with the Presidential Communications Operations Office and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The morning updates focused on the Philippine Macroeconomic Development and Philippine Infrastructure Development Agenda while the afternoon session focused on the Ease of Doing Business and TRABAHO bill.
The economic team (L-R) PCOO Usec Lorraine Marie Badoy, DBM Asec Rolando Toledo BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo, DOF Usec Karl Hendrick Chua. NEDA Asec Carlos Abad Santos, and DPWH 7 Assistant Regional Director Nonie Paylado, during the open forum
Before the Cebu-leg of Sulong Pilipinas 2018 concluded, Negros Oriental businessman Edward Du, as PCCI Regional Governor and a private sector representative of the RDC, reported on the results of the Sulong Pilipinas workshop held to get doable recommendations for government consideration. The most voted top 10 priorities he reported reaffirmed to the NEDAns present that stakeholders priorities are largely reflected in PDP strategies for agriculture, industry and trade, and governance. Immediate attention was requested to deal with the lack of manpower at the Food and Drug Administration that has delayed their responsiveness to MSMEs.
The top 10 recommendations presented were the results of the workshops, where participants got to express their comments, recommendations and what they saw as positive or negative consequences to their respective businesses on the matters that were discussed or policies that were enacted.
The town-hall type of workshop was assisted by the rapporteur team from the NEDA 7, DOF and BSP. The team encoded delegate feedback, tallied votes, and summarized responses to come up with the top 10 recommendations.
PRRD representative PCOO Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy closed the forum with assurance of “we are listening,” citing previous Sulong recommendations already acted upon by the National Government.