P1T marine resources remain untapped – Pernia

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has about P1 trillion worth of untapped marine wealth that can be integrated into the economy, incoming socioeconomic planning secretary Ernesto Pernia said yesterday.

In a keynote speech during a special joint meeting of the Makati Business Club and the US Philippine Society in Makati  City yesterday, Pernia said having concrete knowledge of the country’s unutilized marine resources can strengthen its position in the territorial row with China.

The preliminary valuation was contained in a study conducted by the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute.

“We also need to valuate and monitor our blue economy. Our marine wealth is contained in 70 percent of our territory. We have done some conservative preliminary estimates of our marine economy and the value is around P1 trillion. There is so much untapped marine wealth that we should be including in our economy,”Pernia told the business leaders.

“We will also try to have statistics on our blue economy. If we have done this before, it would have been easier for us to argue that the areas claimed by China are ours, that these are part of our total economy. This is part of our possession. We should have done this before,” he added. “If we show the world that we are aware of this, we would have a stronger hold.”

Pernia said not all of the country’s marine resources are folded into the measurement of the country’s economic growth.

“The blue economy is not part of our natural resources yet in terms of systematic valuation and monitoring,” he said.

Pernia said untapped marine resources may also include those that can be tapped for tourism activities.

“When you have tourism, this contributes to wealth,” he said.

Other than coming up with metrics for obtaining proper valuation of the country’s marine resources. Pernia would also order the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) to have new metrics of economic progress to reflect policy effect on poverty alleviation.

“We need innovative statistics. We’ll ask PSA to have new metrics on how economic growth is distributed across income classes. We have the GDP (gross domestic product) growth every quarter. I’d like to show how this economic growth is distributed. Because if the distribution is too lopsided, it would be very hard to reduce poverty,” he said.

Statistics on wealth distribution would also be generated on a regional basis in line with the incoming administration’s aim of making sure economic progress is felt in the regions, not only in Metro Manila.

The PSA is under the supervision of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) of which Pernia is also the incoming director general.

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