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Philippines

 
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Philippines

Development Planning

The responsibility for economic planning was vested in the National Economic and Development Authority. Created in January 1973, the authority assumed the mandate both for macroeconomic planning that had been undertaken by its predecessor organization, the National Economic Council, and project planning and implementation, previously undertaken by the Presidential Economic Staff. National Economic and Development Authority plans calling for the expansion of employment, maximization of growth, attainment of fiscal responsibility and monetary stability, provision of social services, and equitable distribution of income were produced by the Marcos administration for 1974-77, 1978-82, and 1983-88, and by the Aquino administration for 1987-92. Growth was encouraged largely through the provision of infrastructure and incentives for investment by private capital. Equity, a derivative goal, was to be achieved as the result of a dynamic economic expansion within an appropriate policy environment that emphasized labor-intensive production.

The National Economic and Development Authority Medium-Term Development Plan, 1987-92 reflected Aquino's campaign themes: elimination of structures of privilege and monopolization of the economy; decentralization of power and decision making; and reduction of unemployment and mass poverty, particularly in rural areas. The private sector was described as both the "initiator" and "prime mover" of the country's development; hence, the government was "to encourage and support private initiative," and state participation in the economy was to be minimized and decentralized. Goals included alleviation of poverty, generation of more productive employment, promotion of equity and social justice, and attainment of sustainable economic growth. Goals were to be achieved through agrarian reforms; strengthening the collective bargaining process; undertaking rural, labor-intensive infrastructure projects; providing social services; and expanding education and skill training. Nevertheless, as with previous plans, the goals and objectives were to be realized, trickle-down fashion, as the consequence of achieving a sustainable economic growth, albeit a growth more focused on the agricultural sector.

The plan also involved implementing more appropriate, market-oriented fiscal and monetary polices, achieving a more liberal trade policy based on comparative advantage, and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the civil service, as well as better enforcement of government laws and regulations. Proper management of the country's external debt to allow an acceptable rate of growth and the establishment of a "pragmatic," development-oriented foreign policy were extremely important.

Economic performance fell far short of plan targets. For example, the real GNP growth rate from 1987 to 1990 averaged 25 percent less than the targeted rate, the growth rate of real exports was one-third less, and the growth rate of real imports was well over double. The targets, however, did provide a basis for discussion of consistency of official statements and whether the plan growth rates were compatible with the maintenance of external debt-repayment obligations. The plan also set priorities. Both Aquino's campaign pronouncements and the policies embodied in the planning document emphasized policies that would favorably affect the poor and the rural sector. But, because of dissension within the cabinet, conflicts with Congress, and presidential indecisiveness, policies such as land and tax reform either were not implemented or were implemented in an impaired fashion. In addition, the Philippines curtailed resources available for development projects and the provision of government services in order to maintain good relations with international creditors.

The Philippine government has undertaken to provide incentives to firms, both domestic and foreign, to invest in priority areas of the economy since the early 1950s. In 1967 an Investment Incentives Act, administered by a Board of Investments (BOI), was passed to encourage and direct investment more systematically. Three years later, an Export Incentives Act was passed, furthering the effort to move the economy beyond importsubstitution manufacturing. The incentive structure in the late 1960s and 1970s was criticized for favoring capital-intensive investment as against investments in agriculture and export industries, as well as not being sufficiently large. Export incentives were insufficient to overcome other biases against exports embodied in the structure of tariff protection and the overvaluation of the peso.

The investment incentive system was revised in 1983, and again in 1987, with the goal of rewarding performance, particularly exporting and labor-intensive production. As a results of objections made by the United States and other industrial nations to export-subsidy provisions contained in the 1983 Investment Code, much of the specific assistance to exporters was removed in the 1987 version. The 1987 Investment Code delegates considerable discretionary power over foreign investment to the government Board of Investments when foreign participation in an enterprise exceeds 40 percent. Legislation under consideration by the Philippine Congress in early 1991 would limit this authority. Under the new proposal, foreign participation exceeding 40 percent would be allowed in any area not covered by a specified "negative list."

Data as of June 1991

Philippines - TABLE OF CONTENTS

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