Policy Dialogue Series 2004
Academe Meets the New Government (on the Philippine
9 September 2004, 8:30-11:30 a.m., Claro M. Recto Hall, Faculty Center
Two items in President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's 10-point Agenda call for the reinvigoration of the country’s economic performance. The target to create six million jobs and the aim to balance the national budget necessitate a major overhaul of the government’s economic policies and strategies. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, out of 102 sample countries, the Philippine ranking nose-dived from 56th in 2001 to 63rd in 2002 and 66th in 2003. Of major concern is the fiscal deficit, which rose sharply to P212.7 billion (US$4.07 billion) in 2002, equivalent to 5.4% of gross domestic product (GDP). In early July the International Monetary Fund stressed the need for the Arroyo administration to reduce the large fiscal deficit. The Asian Development Bank ascribed the problem to the shortfall in tax collection. ADB reports that the country’s total foreign direct investment (FDIs) likewise collapsed to $319 million in 2003, down from $1.8 billion in 2002, mainly due to political uncertainties. Hence, the new Congress currently debates on the range of proposals to increase revenue, including the move to a gross income tax system and the taxing of SMS (short message systems) among cellphone users.
It is opportune time to assess the economic policies of the current administration, survey its future programs and identify their future implications to the socio-economic well-being of the nation. The third in the series of TWSC’s Policy Dialogue Series for 2004, Academe Meets the New Government, aims to stimulate discussions between the country’s economic managers, the academe and the larger public regarding the macro-economic vision of the Arroyo administration. Technocrats from the Executive Department’s economic planning team will examine the current state of the nation’s economy and provide their plausible solutions to the pressing needs of the country.
The forum seeks to provide a venue for the assessment of the President Arroyo’s economic policies and open the discussion for her future programs and plans. Specifically, it attempts to answer the following questions:
- What are the economic challenges that the Arroyo administration must confront in the next six years? What caused these problems?
- What will be the government’s short-term and long-term strategies to resolve the current economic issues?
Secretary Romulo Neri, National Economic Development Authority
Undersecretary Elmer Hernandez, Department of Trade and Industry
Undersecretary Ma. Gracia Pulido-Tan, Department of Finance
Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, Department of Budget and Management
Dr. Ma. Socorro Gochoco-Bautista, UP School of Economics
Prof. Cristina Morales, Department of Economics, School of Social Sciences, Ateneo de Manila University
Prof. Amado Mendoza Jr., UP Department of Political Science