IT looks like we will have a jolly holiday season this year, with many of us preparing to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve with more festive activities than in the past three years. It is the time of the year when the family members gather around the dining table to thank God for the blessings they received in the past 12 months, and talk about the future.
WE often hear from private and government economists the term demographic dividend that our nation is now reaping or about to earn in the coming years. Economic experts do not doubt this a bit. The Philippines has a big and young population—an economic asset that must be nurtured and exploited.
I am an advocate of making cities and human settlements safe and sustainable. My decades of experience in providing housing to millions of Filipinos taught me valuable lessons about the aspirations of many Filipinos—they want peace and security, a decent quality of life and a shared prosperity with neighbors.
There is still a misconception that selling certain government assets like those that provide essential public services is a mistake. Commonly referred to as privatization, this arrangement gives the private sector a hand at running certain state operations and allows non-government corporations to earn profits—when the state (as some critics argue) should be the one posting the revenues.
Our economy grew just grew 4.3 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2023 amid the challenging global environment and elevated inflation and interest rates. It is slower than the 6.4 percent in the first quarter, bringing the average expansion in the first semester to a still impressive 5.3 percent.
WE can safely say that the Philippines has neutralized the high inflation rate that hounded us at the start of the year. Former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Felipe Medalla did a good job at taming prices and keeping the economy stable, and I am confident the new BSP chief will follow in his predecessor’s track.
WE can say that the ‘budget season’ season has arrived. The deliberations of the proposed 2024 budget may take some time in both houses of Congress, but one can already take a peek at what is in store for the economy and government’s programs next year based on the initial proposal submitted to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. last week.
The inflation rate to a certain degree is predictable. Prices as measured by the consumer price index readily go up in times of a supply shock, as in the case of a turbulent global oil price market. They also spike seasonally—or when prices of commodities such as rice and vegetables increase on lean harvests because of adverse climate like typhoons that destroy crops and disrupt the supply chain.
WE often hear from every new administration about huge infrastructure projects that it will pursue to speed up the development of the Philippine economy and ultimately reduce poverty. Yes, we know that the benefits of infrastructure projects on the economy are enormous in terms of creating jobs and new business opportunities.