DEPARTMENT of Finance (DOF) Secretary Benjamin Diokno said on Monday, January 16, 2023, that the country’s economy is seen to grow by around 6.5 percent within the year, the highest growth projection in the Asia Pacific region.

In a speech during a luncheon hosted for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Philippine chief executive officers (CEOs) in Davos, Switzerland, Diokno expressed optimism that gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2022 will surpass the government’s growth target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent.

He said among the factors that can alleviate buffers against external headwinds, all indicating a resilient economy, were the bustling manufacturing sector, record-low unemployment, and stable and resilient banking system in the Philippines.

The upward growth trend will be further sustained by the opening of the economic sectors to foreign equity, improving the ease of doing business and allowing for modern transformative industries to take root and expand, the finance chief said.

Diokno said the Marcos government has created a more competitive and enabling environment through public-private partnership (PPP) to further expand the Build, Better, More infrastructure agenda of the administration that can further boost investments on top of the government’s goal to spend at least five to six percent of GDP on infrastructure.

He said all these form the backbone for the rapid and sustained growth for the Philippines.

But because of the current challenges, Diokno said the Philippines is taking the first steps toward launching the Maharlika Investment Fund, the country’s first ever sovereign wealth fund that will support the goals set by the administration in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028.

“The fund, which will be established in keeping with the highest standards of accountability and sound fiscal management, aims to diversify the country’s financial portfolio,” said Diokno.

“May the next few days bring forth more intensive collaboration and cooperation towards genuine economic transformation,” he added.

Marcos is attending the World Economic Forum in Switzerland where he is expected to gain more investments for the Philippines.

Among the Philippine business tycoons joining him were Sabin Aboitiz (Aboitiz), Kevin Andrew Tan (Alliance Global), Jaime Zobel de Ayala (Ayala Group), Lance Gokongwei (JG Summit Holdings), Ramon Ang (San Miguel Corp.), Teresita Sy-Coson (SM Investments), and Enrique Razon (International Container Terminal). (SunStar Philippines)