Balisacan calls for economic model based on sustainable consumption

THE consumption-driven Philippine economy must be revamped to make it more sustainable, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said at a forum in support of the 2023-2028 Philippine Development Plan (PDP).

“To achieve transformation, we must introduce systematic changes to our consumption and production patterns, as well as manage our natural capital resources, if we are to sustain a well-functioning and resilient economy,” Mr. Balisacan said on Monday.

“Given today’s technological advances, sustained levels of high growth need not be at the expense of the environment. We must promote consumption and production patterns that maximize current and future welfare, allowing us to balance the pressing needs of today with the optimal preservation of our natural resources for future generations,” he added.

The forum’s particular focus was the PDP’s Chapter 15: Accelerate Climate Action and Strengthen Disaster Resilience.

According to Mr. Balisacan, the main courses of action are outlined in the Philippine Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production (PAP4SCP) and the operationalization of the roadmap to implement a system for valuing natural resources known as Natural Capital Accounting (NCA).

“The NCA Roadmap provides strategic guidance for the full institutionalization and integration of NCA in the government’s planning, policymaking, investment programming activities, as well as comprehensive accounting of the country’s wealth,” Mr. Balisacan said.

“To make sure we are fully aware of the environmental impact of our economic activities, we must measure and properly account for the use of our natural resources,” he added.

According to NEDA, the government hopes via the PAP4SCP to influence consumer and producer behavior and practices to reduce waste and environmental degradation.

“The PAP4SCP and the NCA Roadmap are integral in translating the PDP goal and strategies into implementable actions to realize our country’s Ambisyon Natin 2040,” Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon said.

“However, we must keep in mind that the government cannot do this alone. Our concerted effort is key to accelerating the country’s shift toward a more sustainable and climate-smart economy,” she added.

Mr. Balisacan also cited the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council Executive Committee which endorsed the inclusion of the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System as priority legislation for the 19th Congress.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the conference, Mr. Balisacan said he deems 10 more bills on the list of priority legislative measures as crucial.

“We’ll get all the bills passed, especially those that are critical in the success of our PDP and the eight-point agenda of our President,” Mr. Balisacan said.

In January, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. signed Executive Order No. 14, which directs government agencies to adopt and implement the PDP.

Agencies should align their budgets and programs with strategies identified in the PDP, as well as identify priority programs and projects under the Public Investment Program 2023-2028.

Under the PDP, the government hopes to achieve 6-7% gross domestic product growth this year, and 6.5-8% between 2024 and 2028. The plan also aims to lower the unemployment rate to 4-5% by 2028.

The economy expanded by 7.6% in 2022, the fastest growth rate posted since 1976. — Keisha B. Ta-asan