Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said he will focus the remaining months of his term on pushing top three priorities — help improve the prospects for economic recovery, increase productivity in the country, and respond to climate change
In his message during the 2022 Inaugural Meeting and Induction Ceremonies of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) also urged the government and the private sector to collaborate to push for the top three priorities.
As one appointed top officials of the Duterte administration, Chua’s term is co-terminus with the President, who will step down from office in June this year.
The achieve these three goals, Chua said the country needs to continue recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, and will require a change in mindset or paradigm, from a pandemic mindset to a more endemic mindset.
By doing so, he believes “we can balance the important needs of the people to protect themselves from COVID and to protect themselves from all other diseases, problems of hunger, joblessness, and the need for income to support also other development objectives.”
As part of this, NEDA and the economic team proposed a 10-point policy change to address the following areas: metrics; vaccination; healthcare capacity; economy and mobility; schooling; domestic travel; international travel; digital transformation; pandemic flexibility bill; and medium-term preparation for pandemic resilience.
“The second issue that I want to bring up, which requires significant support from the private sector, is enhancing or increasing productivity,” the NEDA chief said.
Chua said that the private sector plays a vital role in enhancing productivity in the country.
He explained that productivity could be increased by strengthening human capital development, improving health and education outcomes, improving logistics, improving how things are done in the factories and in the office, the business process, and how the country does governance.
“The Philippines will soon become an upper-middle-income country. To sustain this level of development and eventually reach high-income country status, we need to innovate. If we are to simply copy or assemble products, without any innovation, then we will have difficulty achieving our next stage of development,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chua’s third major priority is addressing the threat of climate change.
Chua said that NEDA considers putting climate change adaptation and mitigation as a cornerstone of its policy framework.
“Everything we do in the environment, education, agriculture, transportation, energy, and governance would revolve around protecting or enhancing the livability of the people, whether it is on planet earth or in the Philippines,” Chua said.
“So I leave you those three important priorities that we hope we can work together in the coming months, and that the next administration will continue. I hope the new board of FINEX and your members will be fully supportive of this collaboration,” he added.