President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. met with the leaders of both houses of Congress on Friday to discuss the administration’s legislative agenda for this year.
The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) posted a photo of Mr. Marcos’ meeting with Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Speaker Martin Romualdez on its social media accounts, along with a one-paragraph statement saying the same.
On Tuesday, the Department of Budget and Management said the Marcos administration aims for the passage of the Progressive Budgeting for Better and Modernized Governance Bill, the Budget and Treasury Management System, the National Government Rightsizing Program, and the Maharlika Investment Fund.
The PCO has not provided any additional information as of press time.
The Senate and House of Representatives resumed their sessions this week.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Marcos admitted that inflation – an increase in the general price level of goods and services in an economy –remains a problem for the country even as the country’s economic growth reached 7.6 percent in 2022, beating its target.
But the President said he was animated by the reported growth, stressing his administration’s major thrust was to attract foreign investments to sustain this rate and development.
“We are happy to receive the news that our growth rate for the year 2022 exceeded all expectations even by the estimates of the international financing institutions and we are holding at 7.6 percent,” Mr. Marcos said in a statement.
“However, for 2023, we still have the problem of inflation which means there is still a problem for certain sectors of society and of the economy, [who] have yet to enjoy the benefits of that growth. And that’s why inflation is something that we are attending to.”
In a video posted by the PCO on Friday, the President said: “I think we are headed in the right direction. We still have some interventions that we will have to apply.
“Nonetheless, we are weathering the shocks on the international economic situation, and we are starting to see that the economy is moving in the correct direction.”
The Chief Executive, who had said he had been “losing sleep” over the problem of inflation, said government expected inflation to slow down by the end of the second quarter this year.
This may further slow to 4 percent “by the 3rd or 4th quarter of this year,” as he cited information from the Central Bank. Inflation hit a record-8.1 percent in December.
Countering inflation and maintaining the country’s growth rate involves more investments, Mr. Marcos said, justifying the need for his overseas trips to attract investors.
“We must maintain… that growth rate and that is why it has become so important for us to go out and to attract investment into the Philippines because that is the only way for economic activity to increase and therefore to grow the economy,” he said.
The Marcos administration is also seeking to create “green jobs” to help the workforce as “there is no silver bullet” to solving the country’s economic woes, the President earlier said.
Green jobs are decent jobs that contribute to preserve or restore the environment, be they in traditional sectors such as manufacturing and construction, or in new, emerging green sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported Thursday the Philippines posted a 7.6 percent full-year growth in 2022, the highest in 46 years since the country recorded an 8.8 percent growth in 1976.
The Philippine Gross Domestic Product posted a growth of 7.2 percent in the 4th quarter of 2022, resulting in a 7.6 percent full-year growth, the PSA said in its report.
The PSA said among the main contributors to the 4th quarter 2022 growth were wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, 8.7 percent; financial and insurance activities, 9.8 percent; and manufacturing, 4.2 percent.
Among the major economic sectors, Industry and Services posted positive growths in the 4th quarter of 2022 with 4.8 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively, according to the PSA.
The industries which contributed the most to the annual growth were wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, 8.7 percent; Manufacturing, 5.0 percent; and Construction, 12.7 percent.