ECONOMIC and political experts gave their recommendations on what President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. should prioritize in his first 100 days during a forum held by the Integrated Development Studies Institute (IDSI) on Tuesday.
The major challenge for the future administration, OCTA Research President Ranjit Rye emphasized, is economic recovery.
“So, it’s economic recovery. It’s not Build, Build, Build. It’s that how are we going to restart the economy? So, a plan has to be put in place,” he explained. “A plan that has equity as far as you know, sharing the burden of generating revenues.”
Rye, who is also a University of the Philippines Political Science professor, expressed optimism that the incoming administration will continue many of the measures established by the current administration. These include a more defined set of poor-targeted programs such as social safety nets.
Given the next administration’s enormous political capital, as well as the Marcos brand, and the weight of that brand, he said the key focus for its first 100 days should be on the people and not just the economy.
“His first 100 days has to focus on redistributing support and aid to the people who are all suffering at the moment and continue to suffer because of the pandemic. The expansion of other social development programs is important. So that’s what I expect in the first 100 days,” Rye highlighted.
IDSI Director George Siy, for his part, believes that now that the incoming administration has succeeded in conveying a possible management team that people trust, the next step is to acquire trust in the foundations of business.
“In terms of how they deal for contracts and investments and to attract these because these are needed to increase our employment and opportunities,” he said.
Siy went on to say that the ties it will create, particularly with the United States and China, are crucial since any form of geopolitical instability would make it nearly hard for new foreign investors to consider investing in the Philippines.
From a business standpoint, he added that inflation control is also critical because of its widespread impact on people’s everyday lives.
“The policies, the first implementation of policies should show a balance between helping the people and still incentivizing investments. It is very important in building to the future if the people see the policies are very future oriented,” Siy remarked
He said, for example, the country should be transitioning to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven, on the other hand, said the country’s gross domestic product growth has been better than average since last year.
“So, now the key is how do you maintain this growth in the future in the next five to 10 years?” he asked.
For starters, he said that stronger Covid-19 vaccination offers a barrier of protection, preventing the country from reverting to a condition comparable to January 2022, when cases spiked owing to the more contagious Omicron variant.
Maintaining a very low level of infection and transmission, Joven noted, is critical for the economy to avoid a start-stop cycle.
“We want to move forward regardless of what the situation is. And we can only do this by virtue of a very broad vaccination program, which we’ve done,” he said.