By Genalyn Kabiling
Huge public spending on infrastructure and social services as well as pursuit of federalism are among the measures being taken by the government to improve the country’s competitiveness, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque issued the statement after the Philippines dropped nine places in the world competitiveness ranking due to certain challenges.
The Philippines ranked 50th this year out of 63 countries from 41st place in the 2017 survey, indicating huge decline among its regional neighbors.
“We take note of the results of the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Rankings 2018 citing that the Philippines ranked 50th out of 63 economies,” Roque said.
“The Duterte administration is already addressing these issues,” he said after the IMD listed the country’s challenges such as investing in quality infrastructure, increasing investment in human capital, strengthening institutions, increasing digital competitiveness; and mitigating political risks.
He said the government has started to roll out big-ticket Build-Build-Build infrastructure projects, including the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure project.
The administration also made the country’s education up to par with the global standards by continuing the K-12 Program, and provided free medicine to the poor, according to Roque.
He said the government ordered the selection of a third telecommunications player to push for better internet services and lower prices for Filipinos.
Federalism also remains a priority for the Duterte government, Roque said.
“The President has prioritized the shift to federalism to spur regional development and lessen political risk given that local governments will now have power over their own resources and create policies that will cater to their constituents’ needs,” he said.
In the IMD survey, the United States returned to the first spot, followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
The ranking of each country is based on analysis of economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency, and infrastructure.