Nationalist People’s Coalition Congressman Win Gatchalian moved for greater government investment in job-generating agriculture and industry sector, describing as “exclusive” the country’s growth that heavily depends on the contribution of the service sector.
Gatchalian made the call as the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 5.8 percent last year, driven by the services sector.
“Our country’s growth is mostly contingent on the growth of the services sector, which reflects the exclusivity of such growth. Value-generating and job-creating growth devolves from the strength of the agricultural and industrial sectors,” said Gatchalian, a senior vice chair of the House committee on Metro Manila development and majority member of the trade and industry committee.
Services contributed 47.5 percent of the country’s income at constant 2000 prices, while the industry sector and agriculture lagged at 27.9 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.
In 2013 and 2014, services also made up a huge chunk of the country’s income at 46.8 percent and 46.9 percent.
Agriculture’s contribution fell to 7.9 percent in 2015 from 8.6 percent and 8.3 percent in the two previous years. Meanwhile, the industry sector’s share barely moved from 27.2 percent and 27.7 percent.
“That agriculture’s share is declining while the industry’s is constant only show that the government has been neglecting these industries which could have helped a lot of Filipinos escape poverty and improve their social mobility. Remember, most of our indigent countrymen depend on agriculture for a living,” said Gatchalian.
Three out of poor Filipinos live in rural areas and are mainly dependent on agriculture, the World Bank said in a report last year.
According to former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cielito Habito, while there were 758,000 new jobs in the industry and services sectors, agriculture suffered a net loss of 575,000 jobs.
The average number of employed persons in agriculture declined to 11.29 million (preliminary) last year from 11.8 million in 2014 and 11.84 million in 2013, according to PSA.
Gatchalian, who is running for senator under the NPC, has devised a detailed legislative portfolio to boost agricultural productivity throughout the Philippines.
Should he win in the Senate, the NPC congressman intends to craft legislation that would channel substantial investments into projects that would enhance productivity and improve disaster resilience.
In addition, Gatchalian intends to increase government support for the formation and development of agricultural cooperatives as these will help our farmers tap into economies of scale, access formal credit markets, and increase their resilience to economic and climatic shocks.
Also included in his legislative agenda are measures strengthening the productive capacity of small and medium scale enterprises and promoting microfinance to benefit micro-scale and small-scale entrepreneurs. (Monica Cantilero)