Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia on Saturday said peace and order in Mindanao will pave the way for development in the war-torn island, hence the country’s chief economist was generally supportive of the declaration of martial law.
In a statement, state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said it “acknowledges the seriousness of the crisis situation in Lanao del Sur centered in and around Marawi City.”
“We trust the President and his security officials to do what has to be done to restore peace and order and protect our fellow Filipinos in the South,” said Pernia, who also heads Neda.
As far as the economy is concerned, the impact of the terror attack in Marawi and the subsequent declaration of martial law “would largely depend on how things pan out,” Pernia pointed out that “economic growth cannot be sufficiently sustained nor be inclusive without peace.”
READ: Martial law in Mindanao won’t impact economy, says Finance chief
“The economy remains stable given its strong fundamentals. Neda is hopeful that with all the policies, programs and projects, many of which are already underway, the economy will remain resilient and will keep growing, temporary disruptions notwithstanding,” Pernia said.
Moving forward, Pernia said achieving peace, security and public order is a priority of the Duterte administration, hence it was identified as a “bedrock strategy” under the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022.
The PDP 2017-2022 targets 7-8 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the medium term by pursuing the 10-point agenda ultimately aimed at reducing the poverty incidence to 14 percent by 2022 from 21.6 percent in 2015.
For Pernia, “having the watchful eye of government forces especially in Mindanao will ease tensions and allow communities to live normally.”
“As security forces deal with the situation, government must continue to do what it has set out to do under the PDP, which is a holistic and comprehensive approach to bringing about inclusive development and higher quality of life for all Filipinos, wherever they are,” the Neda chief added.
According to Pernia, “while Mindanao’s contribution to the country’s economy has remained relatively minor owing to past neglect, this major island region has huge potential and can be a major driver of growth in both agriculture and trade, and this is what needs to be tapped and unleashed.”
“We are encouraged that agricultural production recovered in the first quarter of the year, growing by 4.9 percent following several quarters of decline. This was driven by high production gains for sugarcane, banana, pineapple, tobacco, peanut, monggo, cassava, tomato, garlic, onion, eggplant, and rubber. Many of these high-value crops are located in Mindanao,” the Neda chief said.
“There is a lot planned and already underway especially for lagging areas of the country. The PDP covers a wide range of interventions that will provide more and better opportunities for people not only in Mindanao but in the rest of the country. Let’s hope that peace and order challenges are quickly resolved so as not to derail the implementation of plans,” Pernia added.
Inquirer calls for support for the victims in Marawi City
Responding to appeals for help, the Philippine Daily Inquirer is extending its relief to victims of the attacks in Marawi City
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