Growing the Philippine Blue Economy: Policy Challenges and Opportunities

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The “blue economy” is a version of the “green economy” made relevant to our seas and oceans. It is a model of economic development that focuses on the sustainable management and use of natural and other resources in the maritime sector. Given the Philippines’ archipelagic nature and distinct resources and comparative advantages in this sector, this paper examines the challenges and opportunities towards growing the Philippines’ blue economy. It argues for the development of an integrated development plan, as well as the institution to catalyze and carry it out, for the entire blue economy. These should recognize and adequately manage rising risks (e.g. geo-political risks in the West Philippine Sea and risks due to climate change) and utilize opportunities to leverage the marine economy for rapid and inclusive growth (e.g. tourism sector development, sustainable fisheries management and manufacturing and rehabilitation of ships and naval assets). Ultimately, such a strategy could not only help promote inclusive development, it could also help strengthen the country’s national security.