Aquino to focus on three sectors of Arangkada Philippines

President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Thursday that his administraton would prioritize the development of three of the seven sectors outlined in a study conducted by the Joint Foreign Chambers entitled, Arangkada Philippines, for it’s ability to promote inclusive growth or an equitable allocation of resources with benefits accruing to every section of society.

These sectors, the President said, are in, tourism, infrastructure and agribusiness. He pointed out that the government has taken several steps in ensuring that these three sectors are given the rightful attention it deserves.

To attract more tourists which, the President said, is pegged at 3.917 million or 11.2% higher than the 3.520 million posted in 2010, the government has begun liberalizing Philippine aviation and upgraded various airports, to allow more carriers into the country.

The President also announced that around two thirds of the country’s budget for infrastructure has been released and is ready to fund projects such as refurbishing of NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) Terminal 1 and the completion and full utilization of Terminal 3, upgrading and widening the Manila North Road, and extending the light rail transit 1’s south and east portions.

“Now that the necessary project integrity checks and systems are in place, I am happy to report that as of January 13 of this year, around two thirds of the 205.8 billion peso budget for the infrastructure program has been released. This means 137.4 billion pesos that will redound to employment for those who work in construction, increase mobility for goods and services across the nation, and more livelihood opportunities for those in our local communities,” the President said.

On agribusiness, the President said the country’s goal to be rice sufficient by 2013 and improve the wages of farmers was still plausible since the Department of Agriculture’s budget this year was increased by 51.3 percent, to P53.3 billion.

“The basic strategy is to sustain the increase in productivity and improve our competitiveness; to enhance economic incentives and enable mechanisms for our farmers; and to manage the demand and diversification of our staples,” the President said.

“Irrigation, community seed-banking, and the construction of farm-to-market roads are all part of the package. These will all allow us not only a stronger rice farming industry, but also an opportunity to tap into other growth possibilities such as coconut, poultry and livestock, fisheries, and bio-fuel,” he added.

The President said that the benefits of these three sectors would redound to the common Filipino who will “reap the profits of our efforts and become skilled, healthy, empowered individuals, they will be the ones to spur the entire economy forward.”

“The driving principle behind my government has always been equitable progress and inclusive growth, and we believe that the success of these three sectors-- tourism, infrastructure, and agriculture-- redound to the benefit of the common Filipino,” the President said.

“They offer immediate opportunities to those in the margins: those who live in poverty; who are in the rural areas; who, by a systemic neglect of their dignity, have been disallowed more active participation in the national economy. These are the same people who are being targeted by our investments in social services such as education, health, and community development,” he said.

Arangkada Philippines is a comprehensive advocacy paper that share recommendations leading to the creation of US$75 billion in new foreign investment, 10 million jobs and over P1-trillion in revenue for the Philippine economy within this decade.

Conducted by the Joint Foreign Chambers, Arangkada Philippines estimates that, to achieve these results, the country must focus on more rapid development of the Seven Big Winner Sectors namely: agribusiness, business process outsourcing, creative industries, infrastructure, manufacturing and logistics, mining and tourism.

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