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NEDA chief: PBBM admin's newly signed deals with China to back PH dev’t plan

MANILA -- The signing of the 14 bilateral agreements with China will bring huge benefits for the Philippine economy in the long term as those agreements could back the Marcos administration’s Philippine Development Plan (PDP), according to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

The agreements signed during President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s state visit to China, on January 3-5, covered agriculture, energy, infrastructure development, people-to-people exchanges, tourism and many others.

Balisacan, who also heads the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said in an interview Thursday that the strategic areas identified in the newly completed PDP for the medium term are very much the same areas covered by those different agreements.

“So it’s very promising again to say that PDP will be in a way supported by trust like this and we need to move fast again. As I said, move fast, seize the opportunities, get our houses into order. We have so many things to fix,” Balisacan said.

“But of course, it’s chicken and egg. Those things that need fixing will require a lot of investment, energy and infrastructure. But we also need investments that create jobs, manufacturing, tourism, agribusiness, logistics. These are what the Chinese are bringing to the table,” the NEDA chief pointed out.

Those agreements, Balisacan said, will not just have an impact in the short-term like inflation, but more importantly, the impact will be felt in the medium- to long-term when investments create more jobs, make Philippine companies or industries more competitive, and fuel much improved ways of doing services.

“So the productive capacity of the economy will improve, will be enhanced, and hence the productivity of labor will increase and that’s what will, in the end, support continuing rises in wages, and those increases in income and wages are the ones that deliver improvements in the welfare of our people,” the socioeconomic planning chief said.

Balisacan also welcomed the very strong interest of the Chinese business community in putting their money in the Philippines, following the President’s roundtable meeting with Chinese chief executive officers (CEOs) from multiple industries.

While voicing optimism about the opportunities that they could bring to the country, Balisacan said the Philippines must move fast in seizing those opportunities in order not to lose out in the competition.

“And I think we have to move fast to seize those opportunities. As you know, because [if] you don’t seize them, when they arise, and then you may lose them just like what happened when we missed the Koreans, when they were looking for home bases for their manufacturing plants,” Balisacan said. (PND)

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Kate Shiene Austria

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Information Officer III under the Creative and Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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