The Philippines has supported the call for the international community to assist low- and middle-income countries in containing their financial stability risks, and achieving green, resilient and inclusive growth as the global economy continues to recover from the pandemic while still grappling with other economic shocks.
Department of Finance (DOF) Undersecretary Antonette Tionko told delegates at a recent forum of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN-ECOSOC) that, for its part, the Philippines will “adopt a robust agenda focusing on improved healthcare and transport capacity; easing local and international movement restrictions especially in global value chains; digital transformation; and resumption of face-to-face learning” to minimize the economic scarring from the pandemic.
“Rebuilding a stronger global economy amidst present and future external shocks will be arduous. It is imperative to strengthen international cooperation and endeavor to build a healthier and more sustainable world for future generations,” said Undersecretary Tionko at the UN-ECOSOC Financing for Development forum held last April.
In delivering the Philippines’ national statement at the forum, Undersecretary Tionko pointed out that efficient and sound fiscal policies continue to be the government’s primary tools in ensuring that development projects for social and economic amelioration are pursued and accelerated.
She said the Philippines continues to pursue its comprehensive tax reform program (CTRP) that is designed to make its tax system simpler, fairer, and more efficient.
The CTRP provides significant tax relief to individuals, micro, small and medium, enterprises (MSMEs), and corporations; broadens the tax base; promotes financial inclusion; and increases excise taxes on the consumption of “sin” or harmful products, Undersecretary Tionko said.
Undersecretary Tionko said that efforts need to be doubled to rebuild economies and “safeguard a future of prosperity that is sustainable and inclusive.”
“The pandemic highlighted the importance of international cooperation in ensuring that we leave no one behind. The Philippines is grateful for the technical and financial assistance from our development partners in providing budgetary support and vaccine mobilization for our COVID-19 response,” Undersecretary Tionko said.
“We strongly support the call for the international community to continue providing assistance, especially to low-income and middle-income countries and developing countries, in the areas of improved vaccine access, liquidity to contain financial stability risks, and a green, resilient and inclusive development in line with the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and global climate goals,” she added.
DOF Assistant Secretary Neil Adrian Cabiles amplified Undersecretary Tionko’s statements in other forums hosted by the UN-ECOSOC under the Financing for Development umbrella.
At the forum on Sustainable and Just Transition, Assistant Secretary Cabiles encouraged developed countries to lead in climate adaptation and mitigation, knowledge and technology transfer, technical assistance, and other means to set ambitious targets and boost efforts in achieving the common goal of saving the planet from the destructive effects of climate change.
“As a shared responsibility, we call on countries, multilateral development banks and bilateral partners, and all stakeholders, to forge strong alliances and partnerships to innovate ways to reduce carbon emissions and integrate sustainable practices in all forms,” he added.
He reiterated this call in another UN-ECOSOC Financing for Development Forum on Expanding Concessional Finance, and cited the need for continuing “the strong partnerships and mechanisms developed during the pandemic, where partners can extend grants and concessional financing to support climate-resilient projects and investments that conform to sustainable principles.”’
Assistant Secretary Cabiles also highlighted the need for developing countries to continue finding “creative and innovative measures to ensure fiscal sustainability.”
For the Philippines, he said the government will continue to pursue tax reform and improvements in tax administration; boost the domestic capital markets; and sustain infrastructure development with emphasis on incorporating green and sustainable designs to revitalize the economy, broaden financial inclusion and ensure long-term growth.
“Lastly, we will strengthen fiscal risk mitigation mechanisms to continue protecting economic and development gains,” Assistant Secretary Cabiles said.
“With the continued support of our developing partners and the international community as a whole, the Philippines will continue to ensure judicious financial management and sound fiscal policies that will provide an enabling environment for the attainment of an inclusive and sustainable recovery despite the difficulties we face from black swan events,” he added.