NEDA: Human capital dev’t, agriculture are vital keys to a more resilient economy

The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) said reforms that enable structural transformation and strengthen human capital development and viable agriculture are strong  foundations of a more resilient post-pandemic economy.

In his keynote address during the opening of the recent 7th Annual Public Policy Conference (APPC) hosted by the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS), NEDA chief and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua underscored the importance of these two factors in the country’s development saga. 

The 7th Annual Public Policy Conference (APPC bannered the theme “Reset and rebuild for a better Philippines in the post-pandemic world.”

“Focusing on the theme, Chua said “this year’s Development Policy Research Month challenges us to plan for a more resilient economy, to achieve which, we need to focus on our agriculture sector and human capital development which are the foundations of any country’s structural transformation.”  

The NEDA chief said the Duterte administration has undertaken several reforms and invested trillions of pesos in social services and infrastructure to enable proper structural transformation and strengthen the human capital development of the country.  

For instance, the Rice Tariffication Law lowers rice prices for all Filipino consumers, especially the poor, and enhances the productivity of rice farmers through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund. 

“After the Rice Tariffication Law, rice ceased to be one of the top contributors to inflation and has been negative for most of the past 28 consecutive months since May of 2019. This allows the people, especially the poor, to more adequately meet their daily food and dietary needs, especially amid the pandemic. At the same time, rice production increased to 3.5 million metric tons in the third quarter of 2020, representing a 15% growth compared to the same period in 2019,” he said. 

Chua also highlighted the importance of accelerating the implementation of the Philippine Identification System or the national ID program to enhance the government’s ability to deliver various social services. 

He said the national ID will enable Filipinos, especially the poor, to open bank accounts where they can directly receive cash transfers. 

As of September 10, over 42 million Filipinos have registered for step 1 or the demographic data collection. Moreover, despite the quarantines, almost 30 million have taken the second step to provide their biometrics in the registration centers. 

“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is challenging, but the Philippines has a solid foundation to recover at the right time. Reforms such as Rice Tariffication Law and the National ID are helping us to restore our development trajectory and enabling the people, especially the poor, to access affordable food and better social services,” he said.

The Philippine Identification System Act (RA11055) aims to establish a single national ID for all Filipinos and resident aliens. The national ID will be a valid proof of identity that will simplify public and private transactions, enrollment in schools, and opening of bank accounts, among others.

It will also boost efficiency, especially in deals with government where people only need to present one ID during transactions. 

The Annual Public Policy Conference (APPC) public webinar series is the main and culminating activity of the Development Policy Research Month spearheaded by the PIDS.