Speaker Martin G. Romualdez on Tuesday afternoon called for closer economic ties with the United States to capitalize on the Philippines’ record-breaking economic growth in 2022 amid a gloomy global outlook.
Romualdez aired the call when he spoke before a luncheon caucus of the US-Philippines Society – whose membership includes top US business leaders and former government officials held at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati.
“I am hoping today’s dialogue will help us identify more areas of cooperation to assist us in this mission. I am confident that the long and extensive relationship between the United States and the Philippines will continue to bring economic gains that are beneficial for peoples of both countries,” Romualdez said.
“The US and the Philippines have a long history of collaboration and cooperation when it comes to global issues. From trade and investment to security and defense, our countries have shown that much can be achieved if we continue working together,” he added.
Prior to his call for increased economic ties with the US, Romualdez gave a short overview of the Legislative Agenda of the Philippines’ 19th Congress, and how President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s “Agenda for Prosperity” is responsible for the country’s record-high Gross Domestic Product growth of 7.6%, the fastest recorded since 1976.
“Our President, Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., has an Agenda for Prosperity. This agenda has as its core mission the country’s economic transformation towards inclusivity and sustainability. We in Congress join the President in this mission,” Romualdez said.
He added that the House of Representatives has adopted the Marcos administration’s Medium-Term Fiscal Framework and 8-Point Socio-Economic Agenda, which comprise the roadmap for the Agenda for Prosperity.
“We have committed to prioritizing legislative measures that support the MTFF and the 8-Point Socioeconomic Agenda because we in Congress join in the mission to steer the economy back to its high-growth path in the near term and sustain inclusive and resilient growth through to 2028,” the lawmaker from Leyte said. “For the first time, the country has a clear 6-year agenda with clearly defined goals.”
This unity of purpose in government, Romualdez said, is responsible for the “sound economic plan” that came with the Agenda for Prosperity.
“It is with this solid economic plan that the Philippines is not only surviving but thriving in spite of the external or global economic challenges. Globally, the economic outlook is gloomy, following the
COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, stubbornly high inflation, and an abrupt slowdown in global growth from 6 percent in 2021 to 3.2 percent in 2022,” he said.
“Yet against all odds, it was announced only last week that the Philippine GDP posted a growth of 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022, resulting in a 7.6 percent full-year growth in 2022. This is the fastest growth recorded since 1976, and above the government’s target of 6.5 to 7.5%,” he added.
Romualdez continued that these encouraging figures strengthen the resolve of the House of Representatives “to remain fully committed to supporting the Agenda for Prosperity with the necessary legislative measures.”
“We are now deliberating on current bills— and will propose more measures— aimed at opening the Philippine markets for foreign direct investments. The approval in the House of Representatives of the Maharlika Investment Fund bill is just the beginning,” he said.
Romualdez told the US-Philippines Society that the two countries should further strengthen ties and commitment to working together as “friends and allies.”
“Our bilateral relations are an important part of our diplomatic efforts. We have been able to make progress in areas such as climate change, economic development, and counterterrorism. This is the result of the strong bonds of friendship between our two countries,” he said.
“The US-Philippine relationship is also one of mutual respect and understanding. As friends and allies, we strive to be partners in promoting peace and stability in the region. We value the trust and confidence that come with our relationship as neighbors and partners,” he added.
“Let us continue to build on our bilateral relations and ensure that they remain strong and fruitful for the benefit of both of our countries.”