Economist proposes PH economic stimulus plan

AN investment banker-economist on Monday expressed optimism that President Rodrigo Duterte and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano would immediately act on measures aimed at helping the country recover from economic recession.

Aldo “Boy Blue” Filomeno also submitted an economic stimulus proposal to the Office of the Special Assistant to the President, Presidential Management Staff, Office of the Presidential Spokesperson.

Filomeno had a 26-year distinguished experience in government and private universal banks, handling multibillion-peso massive agricultural projects, financed by the Asian Development Bank and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

He said one of the badly hit by COVID-19 is the food sector, including hotels, fast food chain, restaurants, cafeteria, kiosks, which had an income amounting to more than P500 billion, as of 2019.

Filomeno explained the country is a sleeping giant that should be timely awakened, to fully resuscitate the economy. “In times of pandemic, we should rise as one people, unprecedented in history and address the P2.1 trillion food and agriculture needs of 110 million people.”

“I strongly believe the bold and dynamic leadership of President Duterte and Speaker Cayetano, has the capability and heart, just like British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who guided his people from brink of defeat during World War II, to lead to victory and annihilate Germany,” Filomeno said.

The country should strategically position its more aggressive agriculture sector, anchored in fast growing bamboo, which helps addresses La Nina and El Nino. “I am optimistic this formula, which is successfully pushed by Europe, China, India, Cambodia and Vietnam, will propel us to become a P47-trillion powerhouse per year,” he said.

India has the largest bamboo forest at 15.7 million hectares, China, 6 million; Indonesia 2 million; Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 1.6 million; Vietnam, 1.5 million; Philippines, a measly 10,000 hectares only. In 2019 alone, China had earned P47 trillion in bamboo socio-economic tourism.

“To give us inspiration,” Filomeno elucidated, “the biggest bamboo project is the Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas International Airport, likewise, Europe’s second largest with a total area of 1.2 million sq. m.”

An environment advocate, Filomeno, had brilliantly attended significant international studies in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) financing and agricultural value chain in 2012 and 2013, joined by Asia Pacific delegates from the Philippines, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Oman, among others.

An architect of the government’s P11 billion bamboo financing program, he expressed optimism, it will turn the country’s hope into glittering diamonds, covered by bamboo forest. “It is fast growing, reaching a height of 42-meter, equivalent to a nine-storey building, can be harvested between 3 and 5 years; and, can survive until 100 years.”

He said his proposed economic stimulus will have equal distribution of wealth, increase the yearly average gross income of every family in 2020 to P520,000; and, rise to P1.6 million in 2023.This is unprecedented from a lowly 2018 gross income, P313,000,000; net income, P75,000.

In order to immediately solve the problems of critical hunger and unemployment, he suggested the following, as a P20 trillion, inter-barangay bayanihan spirit livelihood program:

1. Use the P190 billion fund for special amelioration program (SAP) and 4Ps, as investment of sustainable livelihood, with bamboo as major centerpiece. The OFWs and Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa Program shall be given priority. This will urgently solve the country’s unemployment rate of 17.7 percent in April 2020, involving 7.3 million unemployed Filipinos;

2. Immediate harvest of the existing 10,000 hectares bamboo plantation, with 38 million culms, scattered around the countryside. It will be processed into an engineered world-class, earthquake-flood proof, bamboo schools and solve the lack of 20 million houses. This innovation will solve the nagging problems of informal settlers; and, ineffective, dismal performance of the P500 billion budget of DepEd every year. This will generate an income of an estimated P12 trillion for 2020-2025;

3. Plant four billion bamboo seedlings in the ten million hectares denuded forest, expressways, uncultivated urban centers. This will give another huge income of P200 billion for seedling nurseries stakeholders;

4. Establishment of affordable bamboo biomass-feed renewable energy power plants, patterned after the successful Indonesia experience, which provided electricity to 100 million citizens. This a P500 billion business per annum, will treat the citizens, both as electric producer and consumer;

5. Establishment of various bamboo water concessionaires, owned by the people, using fresh and clean overflowing springs, a P200 billion industry. This will solve the critical water shortage for residential, commercial, industrial and agriculture needs;

6. With much improved environment situation, is lucrative for organic crops, vegetables, fruits, livestock, dairy, fish. This will generate an income of P2.1-trillion per year.

7. The country has spent P3-trillion in the face of calamities, pollution, and health care. This will become a thing of the past and will become big savings.

According to the International Bamboo and Rattan Association, a bamboo per hectare plantation, can produce roots and rhizome system covering 100-kilometer; retains 30,000 liter of water. Therefore, it is an antidote to floods, typhoons, drought, earthquake, landslide, soil erosion; absorbs 400 tons of carbon per annum; restore degraded lands, clean rivers, lakes, streams.

Filomeno, is likewise, the chief architect of the initial P11 billion bamboo financing program of the government, and their family owns a small tree farm in Libona, Bukidnon.