Accelerating the implementation of the Duterte administration’s audacious P9 trillion Build, Build Build infra program has been singled out as one of the priority projects for the Philippines road to recovery.

This was announced by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III during Monday night’s meeting of the IATF which was presided over by President Duterte.

Dominguez said President Duterte’s signature “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure modernization program is the “best driver of economic growth,” and, hence, should be restarted subject to compliance with minimum health standards, once the mobility restrictions are lifted and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak is contained.

To reinvigorate consumer spending, Dominguez said the government should promote the manufacture of products that have “strong and inelastic demand,” notably by businesses involved in food production and logistics.

There were  five “priority actions,” for the economic recovery roadmap. It includes government support for the whole value chain of food production, including the establishment of food markets for efficient distribution—similar to the fruit and vegetable markets established decades ago in Japan—where farmers can directly sell their produce to consumers.

Completing Dominguez’s five-point program is his proposal on the mass hiring of contact tracers to boost the government’s efforts to stop the local transmission of COVID-19, while providing jobs; and the urgent passage of the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act (CITIRA), which should now include “flexible tax and non-tax incentives” so that the government can better target specific investors that it wants to invest in the economy.

“We have to stimulate demand, and that’s with ‘Build, Build, Build’ and push[ing] food production,” Dominguez said. Dominguez pointed out that the infrastructure program “remains to be the best driver of economic growth because it has the best multiplier effects in terms of employment and shared prosperity.”

“The Duterte administration’s economic team and our legislators are finalizing an economic recovery program that will help us combat the pandemic and provide industries, especially micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the assistance they need to get back on their feet and our fellow Filipinos back to work,” Dominguez said during the meeting. #coronavirusimpact #COVID19PH