By Chino S. Leyco, December 18, 2022; Manila Bulletin

The government approved the country’s blueprint for socioeconomic development over the medium term, and extended the tariff reduction on key commodities until next year, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

In a statement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said the NEDA Board, chaired by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., approved last Dec. 16 the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028.

According to Balisacan, the new PDP was completed in record, or just six months into President Marcos’ term.

“In the next six years, our overall goal is to reinvigorate job creation and accelerate poverty reduction by steering the economy back to its high-growth path,” Balisacan said.

“More importantly, the Plan seeks to effect economic transformation toward a prosperous, inclusive, and resilient society,” he added

Balisacan said the plan is framed by President Marcos’ 8-Point Socioeconomic Agenda, which seeks to address short-term issues confronting the country and medium-term constraints to rapid growth and inclusion.

The plan is also geared toward the realization of the AmBisyon Natin 2040, the Filipino people’s collective vision for the long term.

Guided by a systematic whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, the PDP was formulated through several months of consultative and collaborative engagements with government agencies, local government units, development partners, sectoral experts, private sector and stakeholder groups, and the general public.

Following the NEDA Board’s approval of the Plan, a draft Executive Order has been submitted to the Office of the President, mandating all government agencies to align their respective programs, projects, and activities with the PDP 2023-2028.

“Given the uncertainties and headwinds that we face, the Plan is our roadmap that will show us the way forward, guiding our efforts and initiatives as we sustain our robust economic recovery and aspire for no less than the economic and social transformation of our country,” he said.

Meanwhile, the NEDA Board also endorsed the draft Executive Order extending the temporary tariff modification on various products such as meat of swine, corn, and rice until Dec. 31, 2023.

On the other hand, the extension of the tariff reduction on coal will go beyond this date and will undergo a review every semester.

The proposed extension of reduced tariffs on these commodities aims to augment domestic supplies and temper inflationary pressures arising from supply constraints and external geopolitical conflicts.

“Food security and protecting people’s purchasing power remain as the government’s top priorities and are vital components of the PDP 2023-2028,” Balisacan said.

Through the temporary reduction of tariff rates on selected key commodities and our continuous efforts to address constraints in our value chains, we will ensure that Filipino families will have sufficient access to food, especially this holiday season and in the coming months,” he added.