After President Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address (SONA), it’s good to look back at what his administration has done in the past years. Despite the pandemic, there have been undeniable improvements in the lives of Filipinos. In our opinion, it has really been a #BetterPhilippines, thanks to President Duterte.
WATCH: A #BetterPhilippines Thanks to President Duterte
Let’s take a look at some of the undeniable achievements of the Duterte Administration:
Huge Change Has Come
Coming into 2020, the Philippine economy was actually pretty strong. We had the best performing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in over two decades. In fact, in only 3 years, our economy grew at an average rate of 6.6% – making it one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia. We were in a great position to weather the storm of COVID-19.
A lot of changes have come, as the administration continued their pro-market macroeconomic policies and emphasized the need for bold, yet progressive tax reforms. These are all connected to the other achievements of the Duterte Administration. This includes improvements in the ease of doing business and the Build, Build, Build Infrastructure Program.
In addition to this, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao was finally established during the time of President Duterte. This is a huge leap in the peace process in Mindanao. If anything, this is the Duterte administration showing its commitment to keep Filipinos safe.
All these improvements serve as a whole-of-nation approach. Never limited to just an improved Philippine economy, but a truly #BetterPhilippines. All of these huge changes have been made possible during the time of President Duterte.
As mentioned above, one of the major achievements of the Duterte Administration are the progressive tax reforms. In particular, the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law has proven to be effective. It helped curb the bad habits of Filipinos, as well as generate massive revenue for the government.
Let’s not forget that revenues from the TRAIN Law directly contribute to the Universal Health Care Program – another landmark achievement of the Duterte admin.
Within 3 years of its implementation, TRAIN raised ₱305 billion in incremental revenues. Since 2016, the government continues to collect an average of ₱200 billion annually in excise taxes from cigarettes and alcoholic products alone. It is interesting to note that this is triple the average annual collection of the past administration.
It doesn’t stop with the TRAIN Law. Another piece of this #BetterPhilippines was the landmark Rice Tarrification Law, which was a much needed overhaul for our agriculture industry. It has reduced the cost of rice by ₱8 per kilo for Filipino consumers.
It was such a huge success that the Bureau of Customs has collected a total of ₱31.9 billion which was used to modernize the local agricultural sector. In the 1st quarter of 2021 alone, we’ve collected ₱4.29 billion. This is a huge help for our farmers.
Improvement in services contributing to a better economy
Aside from all these improvements, countering corruption was another goal for the Duterte Administration. One of the projects related to this was the full digitization of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. In addition, there were also huge changes in the Bureau of Customs, improving tax collection, preventing corruption, and ultimately increased government revenue.
Likewise, instilling fiscal discipline among government-owned or controlled corporations doubled the average annual tax collection of the last administration.
Because of this, the country’s GDP rose to 16.1% in 2019, while achieving a historic-low debt to GDP ration of 39.6%. All this extra revenue meant more funding for projects such as the Build, Build, Build program.
Perhaps as a related result to this, the poverty rate shrunk to 16.7% in 2018. In fact, in four years, the unemployment rate dropped to a 4.5% low in 2019, and lifted 6 million Filipinos out of poverty.
President Duterte also assisted banks through the FIST act which allows them to offload their bad loans so they can continue lending funds to more productive sectors of the economy. This is proof that the administration acknowledges the importance of inclusive growth.
At the end of the day, the Duterte Administration has taken concrete and effective steps towards actually making a difference. Hopefully the next administration acknowledges these accomplishments and build upon it.
We’re on our way towards a truly #BetterPhilippines, and it’s exciting to see what’s in store for us next!