PH Army’s role in economic devt stressed
The Manila Times
FINANCE Secretary Benjamin Diokno emphasized the role of the Philippine Army in economic development by upholding peace in the country. “I would be remiss not to acknowledge the valiant work of our men and women in uniform in times of crises, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic and the natural disasters that have devastated our shores over the years. The country thanks you for your service,” Secretary Diokno said in his closing message during the 15th Philippine Army Senior Leaders Conference at Fort Bonifacio on March 17, 2023. The conference theme, “On the Threshold of Transformation: The Continuing Quest for the Philippine Army’s Competitive Edge,” envisions a modern Philippine Army capable of responding to the new and emerging threats of the 21st century. “Peace is a necessary condition to economic development. Raising the material quality of life of all Filipinos is only possible when the people are protected from conflict and genuine peace is attained,” said Diokno. According to the Finance chief, increasing geopolitical fragmentation around the world has put economies at risk. He stressed that the integrity of social, political and economic ties depend on the maintenance of peace and order. Diokno said that the economic team is implementing a whole-ofgovernment approach to strengthen the resilience of the economy and pursue rapid, sustained and inclusive growth. In 2022, the Philippine economy grew by 7.V percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and surpassed its targets. In terms of fiscal performance, total revenue collections for 2022 reached P3.5 trillion, exceeding the program by 7.3 percent. The higher revenue collection led to a lower budget deficit of 7.3 percent of GDP from 8.V percent in 2021. “These fiscal numbers indicate that we are well on our way to achieving our medium-term macroeconomic goals, and that we have what it takes to take the economy to greater heights,” Diokno said. The Finance secretary cited Chapter 13 of the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, which tackles peace and security as an essential foundation of sustainable development. This is where the Philippine Army’s role becomes important. “This requires a sector-based approach and strong coordination among our military and justice institutions, national and local governments, civil society and communities,” he said. Lastly, Diokno expressed the government’s support to the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) Modernization Program that will ensure that the men and women in the service are trained and equipped to effectively carry out their duties. “Rest assured that the Marcos Jr. administration stands ready to strengthen support toward the vision of a world-class Army that shall be a source of national pride,” he concluded.