Friday, May 26, 2017

Martial Law declaration has no impact on PH growth momentum

From the Website of PIA

Martial Law declaration has no impact on PH growth momentum

MANILA, May 26 -- Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the country's growth momentum remains on track despite President Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao on Tuesday night to quickly and decisively contain the threats of lawless elements in a limited area distant  from the island's major business centers. 

"The economy is in no way threatened by the imposition of martial law. The military is in full control of the government installations and major infrastructures on the island," Dominguez said.  
"Martial law will ensure that these facilities are protected so that business transactions will be unaffected," he said. 

He pointed out that President Duterte himself, upon his arrival from Russia, said at the airport that the government is prepared to do "anything and everything" to put an end to the lawless violence and restore normalcy in the affected areas as quickly as possible so as not to affect the economy.

Dominguez noted that, "The economy is rapidly growing; it is expected to grow by 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent during the year with both internal and external demand contributing evenly to growth. "  

Although Marawi City is Lanao del Sur's economic hub, he said "the threats by lawless elements are contained in areas far from Mindanao's major business centers and the military is doing everything to minimize these." 

"Martial law in Mindanao for a limited period is intended to protect the flow of commerce, protect the innocent and eliminate future threats to the communities," Dominguez said.

As noted by President Duterte, the "compelling reason" for the declaration of Martial Law was the involvement of elements linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in the Marawi conflict and that the whole of Mindanao was put under military rule to allow the government to best respond to the possibility of the terrorists seeking sanctuary or sowing terror in other parts of the South.

“The President is determined to protect the lives of innocent civilians and he will apply everything within his legal means to stop these extremist terrorist groups from further threatening the people of Mindanao and undermining government efforts to lift people up from poverty and transform Southern Philippines into a major growth center and investment destination,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez added: “I have known President Duterte for a long time. He is a strong leader driven by an intense love for this country – a man of grit and fortitude and determination who is no stranger to situations such as what is currently happening in Mindanao."

The finance chief, who also hails from Davao, said, "President Duterte's record in Davao City is strong proof that he has what it takes to overcome and prevail over any and all kinds of threats, turning an area that was once known as the ‘Wild Wild West’ into a thriving, prosperous and stable city in Mindanao."

Last Tuesday, the President cut short his official visit to Russia to better deal with the conflict in Marawi City, but the bilateral meeting between President Duterte and Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow had pushed through. Both Russia and the Philippines share similar concerns regarding the threat of terrorism and transnational crimes like the illegal drugs trade.

President Duterte said in his arrival statement that his government has given priority to strengthening the Philippines' bilateral relations with other countries like Russia, given the rise of "non-traditional security threats."

Dominguez said, "Threats of violence in the poorest regions of the country will not affect adversely the economic position of the whole country. Because the centers of commerce and sources of growth are in areas far away from the sites of potential conflict, economic expansion will not be jeopardized and economic opportunities will remain robust."  

"These threats will, however, dampen the economic prospects of the poorest regions. Government plans to revive this regional economy and transform it into a meaningful participant in the country's growth will be held in abeyance until lasting peace is attained," he added. 

According to Department of Finance (DOF) data, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao ARMM, where Marawi City is situated, accounts for P50.6 billion of the P8.1 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (at 2000 constant pesos) of the country in 2016, or 0.6 percent of the whole country. Of the 17 regions, it is the smallest. The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), the second smallest, has twice ARMM's share. 
Mindanao’s economy expanded last year by 6.4 percent, or up from the 5.8 percent jump in 2016 but accounting for just a 14.4 percent share of the country’s GDP in 2016. 

Last week, Dominguez voiced optimism that the Philippines remains on track to meet its full-year growth target of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent, after the National and Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reported a first-quarter GDP of 6.4 percent. 

“GDP expansion in the year’s first three months illustrates that growth remains steady and could gain momentum for the rest of the year," said Dominguez, "partly as a result of this Administration’s ‘DuterteNomics’ strategy to stimulate economic activity and achieve financial inclusion for all Filipinos in the long haul via an aggressive expenditure program on infrastructure, human capital formation and social protection.”

Dominguez said that, “Solid macroeconomic fundamentals plus strong domestic consumption and investment sentiment have enabled, and will continue to enable, our country to sustain its pace as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies on the Duterte watch despite the ever-changing global market conditions.” (DOF)

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