Washington, D.C. --- Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, alongside senior officials of key government agencies, represented the Philippine government in a series of roundtable discussions and consultations for the 2018 World Bank Group-International Monetary Fund (WBG-IMF) Spring Meetings.
As head of delegation of the Philippine government, Secretary Diokno attended four key events in the first day of the annual spring gathering held in Washington, D.C., in the United States.
In a morning discussion with representatives of the US Export-Import Bank (US EXIM), strengthening ties and exploring new avenues of cooperation between the US government and the Philippine government were emphasized, particularly through the Build Build Build Program of the Duterte Administration.
Infrastructure projects in the power, energy, telecommunications, and transport sectors were discussed in an effort to solicit more participation on the part of the United States. The US Export-Import Bank was represented by Mr. Jesse Law, Senior Vice-President and Chief-of-Staff to the Chairman, and Mr. Troy Fuhriman, Senior Vice-President and General Counsel of US EXIM.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno also outlined the budgetary priorities of the Duterte Administration, specifically the thrust for public infrastructure and human capital development, before the SAIS-Asia Foundation and the US-Philippines Society.
Professor William Wise of SAIS-Asia, in the introduction of the Budget Secretary, summarized the importance of the meeting with a quote from Joe Biden. “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value,” quoted Professor Wise.
In terms of reforms, the meeting with SAIS-Asia and the US-Philippines Society also stressed the need to pass the Budget Reform Bill, reduce underspending, and efficiently roll-out the numerous infrastructure projects of the Philippine government.
In the afternoon, DBM Secretary Diokno briefed the US Chamber of Commerce on the latest developments in the Philippine economy. The Budget Chief emphasized the strong macroeconomic fundamentals of the Philippine economy as well as the ambitious reform agenda of the government, including tax reform, infrastructure development, and the ease of doing business.
“The Philippines is forecasted by multilateral organizations to grow the fastest among the ASEAN-5 countries in the next three years,” said Secretary Diokno. “With all these factors in mind, we are confident that the Philippine economy will grow by 7% to 8% in the medium-term,” he added.
To cap off the first day of meetings, Secretary Diokno also attended the 10th Annual G-24/AFI Policymakers’ Roundtable on Financial Inclusion. The roundtable discussion revolved around the role of regulators in an age of digital transformation.
“The Philippine government will ensure a calibrated approach where the magnitude of risk is proportional to the regulations imposed to innovators,” saidthe DBM Secretary. “Such an approach will promote a level playing field and provide ample headroom for growth in emerging digital industries,” he added.
“Thelessons from this roundtable discussion and the breakthroughs we gathered from our meetings with the Alibaba group in China will only better equip us with the tools to promote financial inclusion in the Philippines,” Secretary Diokno concluded.