Incoming head of the country’s premier socioeconomic planning body calls for the need to have behavioral change among Filipinos toward achieving the country’s economic growth. This was disclosed during a gathering of hundreds of business leaders dubbed as “Sulong Pilipinas” Business Forum, a two-day event conducted on June 20-21, 2016 in Davao City.

In his talk on “What’s Up with the Philippine Economy?”, the incoming Secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority, Dr. Ernesto M. Pernia of the UP School of Economics, emphasized that there is a need for behavioral change toward achieving poverty and inequality. He said that the country has been stuck in a “low-level equilibrium” because of Filipinos’ “very high level of tolerance” towards their leaders.

“We need behavioral change. We, Filipinos, are known to be very patient, tolerant, very high level of tolerance and, I think, this kind of patience can be vicious, meaning it can result in a vicious circle that keeps us in a low-level equilibrium,” Pernia said during the first day of the business forum last Monday (20 June 2016).

He further stressed that to be able to get out of that low-level equilibrium, we need virtuous impatience as such would also be instrumental in reducing poverty and inequality.

Dr. Pernia joined the other incoming Cabinet members of President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte during the two-day event that aims to generate suggestions from the business community regarding the incoming administration’s proposed 10-point socio-economic agenda. Thus, part of the results of the forum is the presentation of recommendations for the incoming Duterte administration on improving the country’s economy and business environment. This was conducted during the culmination of the two-day event with the presence of the incoming cabinet members and the President-elect Duterte at the SMX Lanang in Davao City on Tuesday (21 June 2016).

Among the recommendations presented by the business leaders are the possible adoption of a comprehensive tax reform package, implementation of a national ID system for improved social services, automation and streamlined process of permits and licenses at the local and national levels, improvement of Internet and telecom services, delivery of support services to farmers and fishermen, responsible mining with local value-added such as processing and limiting raw ore exports, develop regional industries and preparing the local workforce, improving transport networks across the country, review of the Conditional Cash Transfer program and, lastly, reducing bottlenecks in the implementation of Public-Private Partnership and infra projects, including giving due respect to the sanctity of contracts. (Mia Glenda G. Aracid-DRD, NEDA XI)