Bernardo M. Villegas
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The Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan


            Last November 16, I had the fortune of listening to a presentation by NEDA Deputy Director-General Rolando Tungpalan on “The Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan” under the present Aquino Administration.  DDG Tungpalan is one of the most professional and experienced career officials in the field of development planning and implementation.  Although what he presented was only a framework of the MTPDP and the final plan will be made public only in late January 2011, I would like to share highlights of his presentation so that both the business sector and civil society can already input the general principles and guidelines of the Plan into their own medium-term strategic planning.

            The presentation started with Challenges to Economic Growth:

·         Lack of productive employment opportunities

·         Unequal access to opportunities

·         Inadequate social safety nets

The vision of the Plan is as follows:  “A country with an organized and widely shared rapid expansion of our economy through a government dedicated to honing and mobilizing our people’s skills and energies as well as the responsible harnessing of our natural resources.”

The overall strategy is inclusive growth and poverty reduction:

A.    Transparent and accountable government;

B.     Upliftment and empowerment of the poor and vulnerable;

C.     Growing economy through:

·         Public infrastructure development

·         Strategic public-private partnerships

·         Policy environment for greater investments

D.    Creating sustainable development for reform through:

·         Peace

·         Justice

·         Security

·         Integrity of natural resources

To translate inclusive growth and poverty reduction, the Plan formulation focuses on the following approaches:

1. Attain a sustained and high economic growth that provides productive

    employment opportunities;

2.  Equalization of access to development opportunities; and

3.  Implement effective social safety nets

             Highest priority is given to infrastructure development and public-private partnership because:

·         Government has limited fiscal space

·         Private sector offers efficiency gains

·         Government to enable private sector to participate in socio economic development initiatives

To address the inhuman conditions faced by the poorest of the poor, there will be a social protection program which will consist in expanded implementation of Conditional Cash Transfer Program a.k.a. Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.  Those critics who are afraid that this Program may encourage the poor to be lazy and laidback should be reassured that the beneficiaries of this conditional cost transfer are among the most hardworking Filipinos but whose efforts to earn a living are rewarded very little by the market, keeping them at sub-human levels of existence.  These are among the “under-employed” who may be actually on the move (in the streets, forests, and seas) for 60 hours a week but still earn less than the equivalent of US$1.50 daily per capita

The presentation ended with an enumeration of the Five Pillars of Growth:

1.      Macroeconomic Policy Framework

2.      Infrastructure for Development

3.      Strengthening the Financial Sector and Capital Mobilization

4.      Enhancing Peace and Security for Development

5.      Protecting the Integrity of the Environment and Natural Resources

I hope that this brief presentation of the MTPDP will inspire those in the business sector and civil society to align their medium-term plans and programs to the laudable objectives contained in this framework.  For comments, my email is