PES Pushes for Development Agenda
“With enough caring and sharing, poverty need not be inevitable.”
This was the hopeful message that Dr. Cielito Habito, former director-general
of the National Economic Development
(NEDA) and currently Director of Ateneo
de Manila University Center for Economic Research & Development
left with the attendees of the conference organized by the Philippine
(PES) and the Economics Program of the Ateneo
de Davao University, with the support of the Friedrich Naumann
Foundation for Liberty (FNF), on 28 August 2010.
The conference was held to heighten awareness on the national
and regional macroeconomic situation of the Philippines, and to
discuss key issues in Mindanao particularly in the areas of political
stability, peace and reconciliation, environmental sustainability
and cultural diversity, and their relationship with the overall
economic landscape of the country.
Dr. Cielito Habito
Dr. Habito stated that the Philippines has been lagging in terms
of economic growth compared to East Asian countries in the last
50 years. He noted, however, that there is a surge in private
investments in the country in the first half of 2010. He emphasized
the need for an inclusive, broad-based growth where development
starts from below. “The national government should only
steer while the local governments initiate the work since they
know the problems better. The focus should be revenue-generation,
infrastructure, and to encourage small-medium enterprises
(SMEs),” Dr. Habito said.
The discussion on Mindanao was optimistic given the leadership
of the President Noynoy Aquino. National
Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) Region XI Director Dr.
Estrella Turingan asserted that Mindanao contributes 18.2% to
the national economy. She said that the economic activities in
Regions X, XI and XII are booming, but remain challenging in Regions
IX, ARMM and Caraga.
Dean Marvic Leonen
Dean Marvic Leonen of the University of the Philippines College
of Law and Chair of the Negotiating Panel with the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) pointed out that peace is a major policy
platform of the Aquino Administration. “The revival
of the peace
process calls for understanding the root
causes of conflict
; working for just, comprehensive and
lasting peace; ensuring a transparent and participative process;
and securing a future under one sovereign flag,” she pronounced.
The topic on environment sustainability underscored Mindanao’s
access to water and the potential risks of mining, while the talk
on cultural diversity calls attention to understanding religion,
culture, and conflict.
The PES has served as one of the strongest networks of economists
in the academe, government, and business sector. PES is recognized
in the international professional community as an active member
of the International Economic
Association (IEA) and is one of the founders of the Federation
of Asean Economic Associations (FAEA).