World | Philippines

Benigno Aquino: Inclusive growth necessary for economic stability

It is the task of government to ensure that everyone benefits from a country’s economic progress, Philippines president says

  • By Gilbert P. Felongco, Correspondent
  • Published: 16:52 October 6, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manila: President Benigno Aquino III says he is aware of the need for progress to benefit all sectors of Filipino society as he pointed out that economic growth empowers people to become contributors to nation building.

In his remarks at the 21st Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Chief Executive Officers’ Summit in Bali, Indonesia on Sunday, the President stressed the importance of “inclusive growth” so that no sectors of society would be left out and unable to benefit from whatever economic progress the country had achieved.

He said it is the task of the government to ensure that everyone benefits from a country’s economic progress, saying that, “inclusiveness matters because it ensures the stability of societies, and consequently, the sustainability of growth.”

Aquino, who has a bachelors’ degree in economics, where one of his professors is his predecessor, former President and now Pampanga province Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said it is important for everyone to contribute to economic growth as it empowers people to become contributors to nation building.

An excerpt of his speech was provided by the presidential palace and it quoted him as saying: “The challenge for governments has deepened: When in the past we gravitated towards metrics that reflect merely the wealth collectively amassed by an economy, more and more the task of governments has become ensuring that this wealth is not concentrated in the hands of the few, but rather that it is equitably utilised to raise levels of human development. In this manner, we engender a situation wherein the broader base of society can benefit from opportunities opening up through economic growth.”

“Without these factors, a nation may perhaps experience periods of cyclical growth; any progress, however, will be prone to disruption. Because so long as a society has reason to clamour for change — whether due to a pervading sense of inequality, injustice, unfairness, or lack of opportunity — it will find ways to do so. This, perhaps, offers some insight into the question posed to us today: “Why does inclusive growth matter?” First: Inclusiveness matters because it ensures the stability of societies, and consequently, the sustainability of growth,” he added.

He said given that inclusive growth has been set in motion, it is important that this continue.

“The equation for sustainability is also integral to a second, perhaps, more important aspect. On top of fostering stability, social inclusiveness also empowers citizens to become bona fide economic actors that can productively contribute to nation-building. It allows them to buy into the system, from which they can reap benefits,” the President further said.

External observers, including international lending institutions had earlier noted that while the country have achieved substantial growth on the economic front, this achievement failed to trickle down to benefit the majority of Filipinos, who remain mired in poverty.

It is for this reason, among others, that programmes such as poverty alleviation scheme such as the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme was introduced by the government in 2008.

He said CCT programme now benefits four million families and has even expanded its scope to include families with children in high school as “there is a 40 per cent increase in income for those who finished high school versus elementary graduates.”

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