STRONG ECONOMY. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. speaks to overseas Filipinos in Melbourne on Monday (March 4, 2024) during a meeting with the Filipino community. Marcos told Filipinos in Australia to connect with their home country by visiting the Philippines and to see the developments under the Bagong Pilipinas campaign. (PCO photo)

MANILA – Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles recognized how strong the Philippine economy has remained under President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s administration despite global crises facing world economies.

As he introduced Marcos as a keynote speaker at the Lowy Institute in Melbourne, Marles, who is the concurrent Defense Minister, lauded the President for being “proactive” in addressing the Philippine economy post-pandemic, particularly in reducing inflation under his watch.

“Emerging from the pandemic, a key focus for President Marcos has been his economy, and they are very proactive on that. As we began this year, inflation was reducing, and in terms of economic growth, there was no stronger economy than the Philippines in Southeast Asia,” Marles said.

Last January, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that inflation for December 2023 further slowed down to 3.9 percent from 4.1 percent in November 2023, bringing the full-year average inflation rate to 6.0 percent.

Following this report, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said “the country’s inflation rate settled to its lowest level in 2023 last December.”

Marles also recognized President Marcos’ initiative to lead the Department of Agriculture (DA) as part of his political mission for the country to achieve self-sufficiency.

“Unusually, but very significantly, he swore himself in as the first Agriculture Secretary of his own presidential administration,” Marles said.

“Agriculture has been central to President Marcos’ political mission, going back to his days as the Governor of Ilocos Norte in the 90s, when he was able to see that province become self-sufficient in rice production,” he added.

Australian Ministers of Parliament also hailed Marcos for the Philippines’ performance among Southeast Asian economies, with Dickson, Queensland MP Peter Dutton lauding the President for correctly observing that “economic security is national security.”

In his speech at the Lowy Institute, Marcos said the Philippines and Australia “must also build economic resilience against future uncertainties.”

“We need to ensure that our economies remain powerful tools that positively shape the lives of our peoples and ensure the sustainability of the planet,” Marcos said.

“We expect Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040 that will build on the new ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership,” he added. (PCO PR)