DOF chief aims to improve Filipino lives through prudent fiscal management

Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said he has been resolute in his vision of improving the lives of Filipinos through prudent fiscal management, ensuring that the economy grows sustainably and inclusively.

In an exclusive interview with People Asia Magazine, the Finance Secretary shared his aspiration of seeing the Philippines firmly established alongside other economic powerhouses in the Asia Pacific region, further noting that achieving good growth numbers should ultimately serve the Filipino people.

“It boils down to making these numbers work for the Filipino people in terms of reduced poverty, more and better jobs, higher levels of education and a healthier people, among other important development outcomes,” he said.

In an effort to restore and improve the Philippine economy from its pre-pandemic state, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s finance chief led the economic team in crafting the country’s first-ever Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF) to achieve macro-fiscal stability without sacrificing economic growth.

Referred to as the PBBM administration’s North Star, the MTFF serves as a fiscal consolidation plan that will guide the government in bringing down the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio from 60.9 percent in 2022 and to less than 60 percent by 2025, cutting the deficit-to-GDP ratio to 3.0 percent by 2028, and maintaining infrastructure spending at 5 to 6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) annually.

Since the beginning of the Marcos Jr. administration, Secretary Diokno has delivered various reforms tagged as urgent by the President. These include enhancements to the public-private partnership (PPP) policy framework and the establishment of the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF)––the country’s first sovereign investment fund and vehicle for economic growth.

“I’m proud of the ordinary, everyday work we do at the Department of Finance—crafting tax, fiscal and economic reforms; engaging with legislators and decision-makers to arrive at the best possible solutions to the country’s most pressing problems; and promoting the Philippines to the world as one of the best places to do business,” he said.

The Finance Chief has led international and local Philippine Economic Briefings in an effort to showcase the Philippines’ strong macroeconomic fundamentals, ideal investment climate, and priority areas.

Apart from these, he has represented the Philippines in countless investor roadshows, roundtable discussions, bilateral and multilateral meetings, as well as international events.

“We have all the elements in place to rise among our high-flying peers. As long as we stay united, and our political leaders and policy makers remain focused on what ultimately matters — a better life for all Filipinos––then this dream will be achievable,” he said.

Secretary Diokno is a seasoned economist and public servant, with a proven track record spanning four administrations. Before being appointed as the finance chief, he served as Undersecretary and Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) where he gained global recognition for his decisive leadership in deploying pandemic response measures that would pave the way for recovery.