THE economic team of the Marcos administration, led by the Department of Finance (DOF), has vowed it will work closely with Congress, the private sector, and civil society in a unified approach to economic recovery and long-term growth.

“We are making a bid for lasting change, and we can only do this if we work in unity. I am confident that we have the right people at the helm and a clear, focused plan that will build a truly inclusive and sustainable economy that the Filipino people deserve,” said Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno at the Philippine Economic Briefing held a day after the first State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Ferninand Marcos Jr.

Diokno said the current administration will expand the private sector’s role in driving economic transformation.

He added that the government will widen the space for civil society to turn the collective aspirations of the Filipino people into reality.

Diokno said the economy’s growth prospects are bright, given the projected growth domestic product (GDP) expansion rate of 6.5 to 7.5 percent in 2022, and 6.5 to 8.0 percent from 2023 to 2028.

He said analysts consider these near-term growth projections to be the highest among the Asean+3 countries, which include Japan, South Korea and China.

He also assured the public that the economy is fully prepared to address challenges, including elevated world prices of oil and other key commodities, lingering effects of the pandemic, and unpredictable global political economy.

“The Marcos administration will implement a comprehensive eight-point socioeconomic agenda to decisively respond to these risks and steer the economy back to its high-growth trajectory,” Diokno explained.

In the near term, the plan seeks to address the immediate challenges confronting the Filipino people—rising prices, scarring from the Covid-19 pandemic, and ensuring sound macroeconomic fundamentals.

Over the medium term, the goal is to create more jobs, quality jobs, and green jobs through higher investments in infrastructure, human capital development, and digitalization.

Diokno said the interventions under the agenda will enable the government to cut the poverty incidence to nine percent by 2028 and elevate the country to upper-middle income status.

“We will do all of these while exercising fiscal discipline. The economic team is committed to implementing a Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTTF). This serves as our blueprint to reduce fiscal deficit, promote fiscal sustainability, and enable robust economic growth,” said the finance chief.

He added that the MTFF proposes measures that will improve tax administration, enhance the fairness and efficiency of the tax system, and promote environmental sustainability to address climate change.

The MTFF will, likewise, bring down the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio from 63.5 percent as of the first quarter of 2022 to less than 60 percent by 2025, and cut the deficit-to-GDP ratio from the current 6.4 percent to 3.0 percent by 2028, while increasing infrastructure investments at five to six percent of GDP annually.

Marcos, in his Sona, described the MTFF as a forward-looking document that extends beyond the traditional three-year horizon to reach six years.

Once adopted, the MTFF will serve as an anchor for the annual spending and financing plan of the National Government and Congress when preparing the annual budget and undertaking related appropriation activities.