Philippines Country Statement; (Delivered at the UN High Level Dialogue on Financing for Development, New York, Oct. 23, 2007)
Byline: Senator EDGARDO J. ANGARA, Head of Delegation
ON behalf of the Government of the Philippines, we welcome this important conference in preparation for the review of the Monterrey Consensus next year.
We commend the Secretary General's report on the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, its urgent call for donor countries to meet their aid commitments, and its emphasis on domestic resource mobilization and South-South cooperation.
We appreciate the rising GDP growth of developing countries in the last decade. This represents an enhanced capacity to mobilize financial resources for development. It further demonstrates that countries are able to grow with less dependence on foreign debts and resources.
As the Secretary General's report highlights, while there has been an increase in ODA since the Monterrey Consensus, ODA flows are marked by selectivity and uncertainty. There are many low-income countries that receive very little aid. But a few have experienced surges in aid flows.
ODA to the Philippines, for instance, has steadily decreased for the past seven years. From US$13.3 billion in 2000, ODA loans decreased -- by 29 percent - to US$9.5 billion in 2006.
Nevertheless, in the first quarter of 2007, the country's GDP grew at a record high of 6.9 percent, the highest since 1990, outperforming other Asian economies such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Korea.
Market interest rates are dropping, enabling the acceleration of bank-lending activities and stimulating investments.
Inflation is on the downtrend, registering 2.2 percent in March 2007, the lowest in two decades. The peso is appreciating, brought about by strong dollar inflows from portfolio and foreign direct investments.
Strong export earnings and overseas workers' remittances have likewise contributed to a robust currency and to building up our international reserves.
Employment has been averaging over 91 percent for the last three years compared to 89.7 percent in the past six years.
The budget deficit decreased from US$4.8 billion in 2002 to US$1.5 billion in 2006. This year, we hope to lower it further to US$1.4 billion.
These economic gains are primarily accounted for by our own bootstrap efforts at raising domestic revenues through fiscal and financial reforms.
With strong macroeconomic fundamentals in place, we initiated policy reforms - through legislation -- on mobilizing domestic resources and strengthening the capital market.
The anticipated passage in Congress of the Credit Information System Act, Real Estate Investment Trust, amendments to the Insurance Code and the Central Bank charter, among others, will generate long-term local financing for development.
But we cannot afford to be complacent.
We have to sustain this accelerating growth and improve our competitiveness. More important, we have to translate our financial gains into higher investments, more jobs, increased incomes, and reduced poverty rates.
Thus, we are investing in social services, particularly health and education; infrastructure; and good governance, specifically, anti-corruption measures.
The government's top priority is education. We are working towards meeting the second MDG -- to ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling. …