Marcos says Philippines still on track to reach upper middle-income status

UNITED NATIONS — The Philippines can reach its goal of becoming an upper middle-income country by next year and “moderately prosperous” by 2040, but it needs the help of other nations to make such ambitions possible, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said Wednesday.

In an address delivered before the 77th United Nations General Assembly, Marcos said Filipinos have achieved “significant strides” on their path to sustainable development in the past three decades. But an enabling environment is needed to allow them to meet their economic targets, he added.

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic and the global economic upheavals, we remain on track to reach upper middle-income status by next year.  With steady investment in food (security), public health, education, and other social services, we expect to become a moderately prosperous country by 2040.  I am confident that we will achieve this vision,” Marcos said.

“Yet no nation stands alone.  The achievement of our national ambition requires a global environment  that creates conditions that allow all nations, including ours, to thrive in peace.  We need the United Nations to continue to work.  And we, the Philippines, are determined to be part of that solution,” he added.

Upper middle-income economies are those with a gross national income (GNI) of $4,096 to $12,695, based on the definition set by the World Bank. The GNI refers to  the total value of goods and services produced within a country and its income received from other countries.

The Philippines, which recorded a $3,640 GNI per capita last year, is under the lower middle income category.

“We have always been an optimistic and courageous nation.  Despite the enormity of these challenges,   we believe that solutions are within our collective grasp,” Marcos said.

The President encouraged UN member states to use public and private resources to encourage the expansion of trade, investment, and technology transfers and to accelerate development. He said knowledge and intellectual gains must flow freely to allow those lagging behind to catch up.  

“As we awaken from the economic stupor caused  by the pandemic, we must reinvigorate the world economy,” the President said.

“Sustainable development will be hampered, to the detriment of all, if existing structures in the global economy remain unreformed,” he added.

Marcos said the global development agenda must take into account the interest of all developing nations, including middle-income countries where the majority of the world’s poor live.

According to him, sustainability means equipping people with the tools they need to meet the challenges of the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is characterized by increasing interconnectivity.

“Investments in education are key, and my administration is prepared to make such investments,” the Philippine leader said.

“There is perhaps no greater renewable resource than the creativity and innovation of our young. We understand the value of harnessing our people’s talents by creating a robust and creative economy. We will continue to work with partners in promoting this at the international level,” he added.

The Marcos Jr. administration expects the economy to grow by 6.5 to 7.5 percent this year and by 6.5 to 8.0 percent from 2023 to 2028.