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19 April 2018

Dr. Benjamin E. Diokno, Philippine Secretary for Budget and Management, highlights sustainability of Philippine economic growth and strong macro-economic fundamentals in a briefing for members of the US Chamber of Commerce on 18 April 2018 in Washington, D.C.


WASHINGTON, D.C.— “The Philippines posted a growth rate of 6.7% in 2017. This makes us one of the fastest growing economies in the fastest growing region in the world.TheInternational Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Asian Development bank all project the Philippines to grow steadily in the near-term. All three organizations peg our growth to reach almost 7% from 2017 to 2019.”

This was the compelling introductory statement of Dr. Benjamin E. Diokno, Philippine Secretary for Budget and Management, in briefing the members of the United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. on 18 April 2018.

The Secretary’s main message to the foremost US business association focused on the sustainability of high Philippine growth and the underlying strength of its macro-economic fundamentals.

“The underpinning fundamentals of the Philippine economy are very supportive to growth. We want to achieve growth of 7% to 8%,pushing the Philippine economy to upper-middle income status by 2022. But it is growth with equity. As the economy grows, we want to reduce poverty from 21.6% in 2015 to at least 14% in 2022,” Secretary Diokno told the participants of the briefing.

“And these lofty goals are supported by strong macroeconomic fundamentals and an aggressive policy reform agenda,” the Secretary added.

He then discussed what he called game-changing reforms that have been undertaken or being pursued by the Duterte Administration.

He talked about efforts to improve government processes dealing with business, as well as to ease restrictions on foregin investments. He outlined the reforms relating to the tax system and the budget process. He also noted how exports are being increased by exploring and developing new markets, including government support for crop diversification. Finally, he gave updates on investments in disaster resiliency and programs to restore peace & order, particularly in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.

He also provided updates on the progress in implementing two key pillars of the Duterte Economic Agenda, namely: infrastructure & human capital development.

“In view of the robust and long-standing bilateral economic ties between the Philippines and the United States, we want to strongly encourage US companies to explore opportunities to participate in this infrastructure program. And I think, Secretary Diokno is one of the best resource persons for understanding not only Build Build Build, but the broader gamut of Philippine economic priorities and programs,” Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez said in a statement.

“We thank the Secretary for taking time out from his heavy World Bank/IMF schedule to do the briefing, and we appreciate the partnership with the US Chamber,” Ambassador Romualdez added.

“The Philippines has a very good story to tell,” said Charles Freeman, Senior Vice President for Asia at the U.S. Chamber, after the briefing.

“It is projected to be the fastest growing ASEAN economy over the next several years, is opening its economy to greater foreign investment, and has an ambitious economic reform agenda.  In our annual ASEAN Business Outlook Survey, 85% of U.S. companies we surveyed in the Philippines expect profits to increase in 2018,” he further stated.

Secretary Diokno is heading the Philippine Delegation to the 2018 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C., USA. He was joined at the US Chamber briefing by Senator Loren Legarda, Alternate Head of Delegation; Ambassador Romualdez; and other members of the Philippine Delegation. ###

19 April 2018

Dr. Benjamin E. Diokno, Philippine Secretary for Budget and Management, with Mr. Charles Freeman, Senior VP for Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce on 18 April 2018 in Washington, D.C.

19 April 2018

Senator Loren Legarda (right), Alternate Head of the Philippine Delegation to the World Bank/IMF Spring 2018 Meetings and Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez (2ndfrom right) join Secretary Diokno at the US Chamber briefing on 18 April 2018.