Senate vows to help sustain economic growth

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Friday, January 31, 2014

THE Senate is committed to enact laws that will sustain economic growth after the country's full year gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013 grew by 7.2 percent, Senate President Franklin Drilon said Friday.

"The challenge is upon the Senate, along with other leading institutions, to pass legislation which will further fuel the economy, and more importantly, ensure that development is felt in all corners – and that means more jobs, better basic services, improved public infrastructures, among others," Drilon said.

Among the measures the Senate is considering are the rationalization of fiscal incentives to certain industries, the rationalization of the mining industry's fiscal regime, the amendment of the cabotage law, amendments to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas charter, and measures to attract more foreign direct investments.

"We have to help the government sustain this economic momentum that was elusive for so many years, for this is the kind of growth that will eventually present us an array of opportunities in the years to come," Drilon, a close ally of President Benigno Aquino III, added.

The Senate President said such laws will ensure that long-term solutions are laid out for the overall improvement of the welfare of Filipinos.

"But more than that, we need to make sure that our rise in economic standing also delivers our nation’s poorest constituents to a better status in living, as the country’s wellbeing is the ultimate goal of public service," Drilon said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan earlier reported that the economy grew 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, resulting to a full year GDP of 7.2 percent, surpassing the official target of 6-7 percent.

The growth was achieved despite the devastation wrought by several disasters in the country, such as the 7.2-magnitude Bohol earthquake, the Zamboanga siege and super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

Senator Ralph Recto, for his part, said that the GDP growth should translate to the decrease in the unemployment rate and self-rated hunger, which was pegged at 6.5 percent and 18.1 percent, respectively.

"After enlarging the economic pie, the challenge now is how to make sure that everybody will be able to taste it. Economic growth must be transformed into calories which those who need them more can actually consume," he said. (Sunnex)

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