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Purisima: Philippines now a 'bright spot in Asia'

Dennis Carcamo (Philstar.com) - September 26, 2015 - 3:26am
MANILA, Philippines - Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima has discussed several economic gains of the Philippines during the term of President Benigno Aquino III, transforming the country from being "sick man of Asia" to being a "bright spot in Asia."
 
In his speech before Singapore Summit last September 19, Purisima said while the Philippines is not immune to the impact of global challenges, the country has risen from the economic slump, getting an average 6.0 percent growth from 2010 to 2014.
 
He underscored President Aquino's efforts to instill necessary and vital policy reforms coupled with good governance or the administration's "Daang Matuwid" principle. 
  
"The Philippines of the past had a poor reputation. Yet in 2010, something changed. President Aquino took office with a very large mandate and a platform of reform... The impossible started to happen," Purisima said. 
 
"We enforced our laws. We involved the people in filing complaints against corrupt officials and we filed cases against them. We championed radical reforms in our budget process, opening it up to all with the use of technology," he added.
 
Purisima said the Aquino administration, with the "Daang Matuwid" (straight path) as its governing principle, has passed laws which would move the country forward, including the Reproductive Health Law and the K to 12 program. 
 
"We legislated the following: a reproductive health law, amendments to the Sin Tax law, enhanced basic education to follow the global standard of K to 12, a state-owned enterprises governance law, full entry of foreign banks, amendments to the cabotage law, and a competition law. All our policy reforms focused on increasing competitiveness of the Philippines," he said.  
 
Purisima also cited the importance of the administration's Public Private Partnership (PPP) program in hauling the the country into "safe harbors."
 
With the PPP program, Purisima said the public investment in infrastructure has jumped from 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 5 percent, boosting investor-confidence in the country. 
 
"We have awarded 10 projects worth $4.2 billion, and have over 50 projects in the pipeline including highways, rail and ports needed to sustain our economic growth under a thriving PPP," he said. 
 
Purisima, however, said that there are still concerns hounding the Philippines such as poverty alleviation.
 
He said the ultimate goal of alleviating poverty and improving the lives of Filipinos can only be achieved if the government continues to invest in infrastructure and its people and reform policy in the next 10 to 15 years. 
 
"We were able to invest in a skilled, trained and healthy community. After all, economies are about people. The Philippines just entered our demographic sweet spot and we are expected to hit a middle income sweet spot where GDP per capita could reach $6,000. 
 
"To capitalize on these two sweet spots, we strengthened a priority program using conditional cash transfers to improve the health, nutrition and education of children aged 0-18. We increased the budget for this program by more than 6 times. Since 2010, we doubled our education budget, and we tripled our health budget with new funding from the sin taxes," he said. 

DAANG MATUWID DIV FINANCE SECRETARY CESAR PURISIMA GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT NBSP PHILIPPINES PRESIDENT AQUINO PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP PURISIMA QUOT
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