FOR regional cooperation to be more inclusive, the Philippine government must do more to enhance the country’s competitiveness and to promote cultural exchanges, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said.
In a speech at a conference in Makati City last Friday, Neda Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Rosemarie G. Edillon said that Philippines has much to gain from being part of economic blocs in the region, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec).
“One benefit, for example, is in the area of trade. However, even in this regional grouping, we have an inherent disadvantage due to our geography. We even have a different cultural background from our Asean neighbors,” Edillon said.
Given its geographical disadvantage, the Philippines should focus on cultural tourism and attract foreigners to take a peek into Filipino culture, she said.
Edillon explained that the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, the Philippines’ blueprint for socioeconomic development, outlines strategies to boost tourism along with measures to improve the country’s “behind-the-border competitiveness,” particularly in the areas of human capital, infrastructure, logistics and transport, and good governance.
“The key message is that regional cooperation does lead to inclusive growth. Then again, significant reforms and improvements need to be undertaken to be part of any regional cooperation. Following such, we move closer to our goal of achieving inclusive growth,” the Neda official said.
In the same conference, Neda Undersecretary for Regional Development Adoracion M. Navarro underscored the role of efficient, quality and well-developed infrastructure as a key driver in the country’s economic growth.
“Improving the venue for regional cooperation and increasing people’s access to infrastructure is essential to create more economic opportunities and growth for the country,” Navarro said, highlighting infrastructure opportunities the country can get from Asean cooperation.
Navarro said P1 trillion or 13 percent of the P7.7 trillion total investment requirements in the Public Investment Program (PIP) 2017-2022 will come from Official Development Assistance (ODA). (PR)