Statement of Undersecretary Manuel L. Quezon III
On the week of February 1-5, 2016
[Released on February 6, 2016]
This past week marked the anniversaries of important events and institutions.
On Tuesday, President Aquino attended the DSWD’s 65th anniversary celebration. In his speech, the President praised the department’s transformation under Daang Matuwid—from an agency unprepared for disaster to one that prepositions relief goods even before a typhoon’s arrival. In terms of long-term development, the DSWD has also improved significantly. The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is a prime example of this. From P10 billion in 2010, its budget has gone up to P62.7 billion this year, toward a target of 4.6 million household-beneficiaries—a far cry from the 787,000 enrolled in 2010. This expansion continues to bear fruit: an initial study has found that already 7.7 million Filipinos have been able to rise out of poverty through Pantawid Pamilya.
February 3, Wednesday, marked the 71st anniversary of the Battle of Manila. Waged during the Second World War, the battle was a month-long military campaign to liberate Manila. Last year, the PCDSPO prepared a special page on gov.ph to commemorate the battle’s 70th anniversary. We again invite the public to explore this page and learn about the key events and groups that played a role in the Battle of Manila.
Also this week, the Manila Bulletin celebrated its 116th anniversary, with President Aquino among the honored guests. The President also received a courtesy call from the Papal Legate and Pontifical Delegation to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC). In his endorsed message to the IEC, the President spoke about our responsibility to alleviate suffering. Under the Aquino administration, the government continues to embody this principle through the 4Ps project, among others.
In the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom—released just this week—the Philippines ranks as the 76th freest economy in the world, up from 70th place last year. According to the report, our country’s score improved to 63.1 as a result of sound financial management and an enhanced entrepreneurial environment. This is the highest score we have ever received since the index was founded in 1995.
Yesterday, the PSA announced that the headline inflation rate decelerated to 1.3% last month, from 1.5% in December. This is slower than the 2.4% recorded in January 2015. Inflation decelerated for both food and non-food items, as a result of stabilizing prices for oil and agricultural products. According to the PSA, this suggests that inflation is likely to continue along a smooth and relatively slow-changing path.
This bodes well for the rest of the year. As we celebrate the coming Chinese New Year, let us reflect on our country’s progress in recent years and strive to make decisions that will positively affect the future of the Philippines.