WHILE authorities are trying to put an end to Marawi crisis the soonest possible time, President Duterte's economic planners are also busy promoting government's program basically aimed at achieving his so-called high-and-inclusive growth.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez told members of the global business community at a recent gathering of the Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Association and the Bank of China Forum in Hong Kong that the Duterte administration is making sure its growth agenda anchored on massive investments in infrastructure and human capital is on track despite the "disruption" caused by the Marawi conflict.
He assured participants that even if President Duterte placed the entire Mindanao Island under martial law, the government is going ahead with its priority program to reshape the Philippine economy in order to attract investments, create jobs and attack poverty.
President Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao last May 23 to deal decisively with the armed assault in Marawi to prevent extremist forces from making Mindanao their "main theater" for terrorism in the region.
But even as this developed, not a single major project planned for Mindanao has been delayed. The general economic program is intact.
"The battle for Marawi is a decisive one. Had government failed to respond firmly, the extremists might have succeeded at establishing a rallying point for the stray bandit factions in the area. The defeat of the militants is a costly one for them. Whatever terrorists designs there might have been for Southeast Asia, the main theater can no longer be Mindanao," Dominguez said.
The government is now focusing on the implementation of Duterte administration's ambitious infrastructure development program which requires a high-spending of some US$170 billion or about P8.4 trillion over the next five years. This will keep the economy strong amidst the uncertainties in the globe, according to economic experts.
"Over the past few years, the Philippines emerged as an increasingly important node of growth for the global economy. We are seeking to sustain a growth rate of at least 7 percent through the medium term. That growth level will be driven, to a large extent, by the massive infrastructure modernization program," Dominguez said.
Philab chair to step down
Tom Navasero is stepping down as Philab Holdings Corp.'s executive chair effective immediately, citing health reasons. Navasero was recently advised by his doctors to take an extended rest to give due attention to his health. The board accepted his resignation, with deep regrets, and will soon announce his replacement.
Tom Navasero, who took over the leadership of Philab Industries, Inc. in 2013, steered the reverse takeover of Philab Holdings, Corp., the holding company which was previously known as Alterra Capital Partners, in 2016.
Philab Holdings, Corp., through its subsidiary, Philab Industries, Inc., is one of the pioneer local companies that provides life science and laboratory equipment and services. Philab Industries has been in business for almost 60 years. The company grew by supplying health and life science equipment and services to both public and private institutions.
Recently, Philab Holdings Corp. introduced an in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) early screening kit for Dengue fever through the brand name LABit and is anticipating to expand its business in the field of in-vitro diagnostics and genomics. It also intends to actively pursue mergers and acquisitions prospects in the healthcare sector for the balance of the year targeting the Pharma, Diagnostics, and genetics healthcare sectors.
Navasero will take this time as an opportunity for him to support his advocacy of curbing the spread of NTDs (Neglected Tropical Diseases). He will still oversee the international business developments of his projects MedX and Genomics, health permitting. He remains as the majority shareholder of Philab Holdings.
“Together with the rest of Philab, we will continue to work on innovating our roster of businesses to help save lives. I thank Tom’s vision and dedication in empowering the patient and making healthcare accessible which remains the heart and soul of Philab,” said president and CEO Darlene Berberabe.