Developing new city centers across the country to expand development in the regions and spread economic activities outside the densely populated Metro Manila will help sustain the remarkable economic growth of the Philippines in the coming years, Senator Sonny Angara said.

“As the National Capital Region (NCR) becomes increasingly saturated, it is necessary that we look to cities in other regions that have the potential to be engines of economic growth in the long-term,” said the seasoned legislator.

“We need to build new hubs for economic development and lessen the overall dependence of the national economy on Metro Manila which, for many decades, has become one of the country’s biggest growth drivers, making it a highly desirable location for dwellers, workers and migrants,” the veteran lawmaker added.

“We need to build new hubs for economic development.”

The senator made the statement after the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) recently reported that although the NCR still contributed the largest to the nation’s economy, its economic growth lost pace in 2018.

The latest PSA data showed that the NCR had the largest share of gross domestic product (GDP) at 36 percent, but its growth slowed to 4.8 percent from 6.2 percent in 2017.

In creating new city centers, Angara said government must put in place the vital infrastructure that would translate to more opportunities outside the capital region.

Government, Angara said, needs to expand or build new seaports, airports, bridges, roads and other critical infrastructure to attract foreign and domestic investment into new regional growth hubs.

“Developing new city centers means creating jobs, income and wealth for local residents and spur economic growth,” he pointed out.

Earlier, Angara said government should look for ways to attract investments that will create higher-paying jobs to encourage Filipinos to stay and work in the country.

He said it may consider launching a new “Made-in-the-Philippines” campaign, which would make use of the country’s unique competitive advantage in the services sector.

“Consider launching a new ‘Made-in-the-Philippines’ campaign.”

“The Philippines is a services economy and a lead exporter of services, and we can use this as a starting point for a new Made-in-the-Philippines campaign,” Angara said.

“The campaign does not have to be a particular good. It can be a service that we perform, but we have to figure out what the core competencies are and try to leverage on that,” he added.

The country’s economy grew by 6.1 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2018, driven by the services sector which posted the highest share in the GDP of 56.2 percent, followed by industry (34.8 percent), and agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing (8.9 percent).

Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, said government should also take the lead in beefing up investments in the manufacturing sector given its enormous potential to create jobs.

He cited the case of Freeport Area of Bataan, formerly Bataan Export Processing Zone, which created more than 20,000 jobs in about five years.

Angara also cited the manufacturing sector’s huge potential to create jobs for an estimated 2.29 million unemployed Filipinos.


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