Caraga stakeholders join virtual Pre-SONA Forum on Economic and Development Clusters

BUTUAN CITY, Apr. 27 (PIA) -- Various stakeholders in Caraga region had joined in the pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) Forum of the Economic Development and Infrastructure Clusters hosted by the Department of Finance (DoF) via an online platform with cabinet secretaries from the different government agencies concerned as the resource speakers who presented the updates and developments since they assumed the post in 2016.

Secretary Carlos Dominguez of the Department of Finance (DoF) bared that the Duterte administration cleaned up the domestic cigarette business.

“It caught a domestic manufacturer for tax evasion in 2017, resulting in the largest tax settlement in Philippine history amounting to P30-billion. After shutting down the cigarette company, collection on cigarette excise taxes increased by an average of P2.5-billion per month,” cited Dominguez.

He added that under President Duterte's watch, the infrastructure spending dramatically rose to an average of five percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), more than double the investments of the past four administrations. "The Duterte administration also aggressively pushed for the full digitalization of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs," he said.

The official further elaborated that despite of the global health crisis, the administration moved quickly to protect the lives of Filipinos. "The game-changing reforms we had institutionalized over the last five years cemented our overall microeconomic stability and allowed us to respond decisively to this health crisis," he said.

“As of December 31, 2020, the Duterte administration allocated some P2.76-trillion (USD 55.69 Billion) or 15.4 percent of GDP in the fulfillment of the Four-Pillar Socioeconomic Strategy Against COVID-19, namely: Pillar 1 – Emergency support for vulnerable groups; Pillar 2 – Marshalling resources to fight COVID-19; Pillar 3 – Monetary actions to keep the economy afloat; and Pillar 4 – An economic recovery program to create jobs and sustain growth,” Dominguez disclosed.

On food security, Secretary William Dar of the Department of Agriculture (DA) underscored that second to public health concerns, the food security of the people during this pandemic has been a paramount goal of the government. “COVID-19 has magnified the weaknesses of the agricultural sector and compelled us to confront the challenges in the sector. The food security imperative revolves around increasing our farm productivity to guarantee adequate food supply. However, the availability of food at affordable prices to our consumers, particularly the poor, completes the equation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Caraga region, emphasized that the Duterte administration acknowledges the important role that the general public and different citizen groups play in policy-making.
“Sulong Pilipinas is one of the initiatives of the government to increase stakeholders’ participation and provides a venue to discuss issues and concerns that are important to the people. The needs, interests, and views of the people are foremost consideration in every policy decision of the President and the Cabinet,” bared Nograles.

During the whole day session, Acting Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) shared the updates on the Zero-to-Ten Point Socioeconomic Agenda and Priorities for 2021-2022; Governor Benjamin Diokno of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas discussed the Monetary, External, and Financial Sector Development; Secretary Wendel Avisado of the Department of Budget and Management on the Fiscal Performance, Strategy, Reforms and Outlook; Secretary Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways on the updates of the Build, Build, Build Infrastructure Program; Secretary Vivencio Dizon on updates of the New Clark City; Secretary Arthur Tagude of the Department of Transportation on updates of the Transportation sector; Secretary Gregorio Honasan of the Department of Information and Communications Technology on the development in Information and Communications Technology; Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on the updates of Digitalization Efforts; and Secretary Carlito Galvez, chief implementer of the Philippines’ Declared National Policy Against COVID-19. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

Source: Philippines Information Agency (

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