Grace’s economy

March 18, 2016 at 11:35

Grace’s economy

FINEX Folio by J. Albert Gamboa | Posted on March 17, 2016 08:21:00 PM

This, before the Supreme Court decision allowing Ms. Poe’s candidacy came out. According to the maiden survey of SWS and Bilang Pilipino, the data-driven elections project of TV5, at least 66% of Filipino voters agree with the March 8 high court ruling that she is qualified to run for president.

Last Wednesday, Ms. Poe unveiled her economic agenda before the Makati Business Club and the Management Association of the Philippines at their joint meeting in Dusit Hotel, Makati City. She culled this out from the 20-point platform of governance announced during her declaration of candidacy last September. Highlights of her inclusive growth thrust are as follows:

• selling to the world rather than just the domestic market, emulating the growth strategies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and China as well as the success of the local business process outsourcing and shipbuilding industries;

• joining multilateral economic blocs and signing bilateral trade agreement with other countries;

• supportive role for government that helps facilitate business rather than hinder or throw obstacles in its path;

• empowering people to demand results from their public officials and hold them accountable, thus strengthening government institutions;

• ensuring that the rule of law exists and rules will not change midstream or with each passing administration, thereby building investor confidence;

• reforming the tax system by letting economic planners determine the tax rates required to be competitive against other investment decisions, instead of authorities from the Bureau of Internal Revenue setting the rates based on what they think is needed to meet their collection targets;

• raising the national budget for infrastructure by 2% or equivalent to P250 billion per year to turn the Philippines into a world-class investment destination and tourist haven;

• appointing Cabinet officials who possess creativity, resourcefulness, and people skills to get things done, with the authority to override local governments when public interest is concerned to expedite project execution;

• conducting annual reviews on performance of point-persons for infrastructure and firing those who do not meet targets, regardless of their being friends, classmates, political allies or even running mates; and

• focusing on health and education to promote inclusiveness, laying the ground work for quality universal healthcare and free education up to the tertiary level for poor but deserving citizens.

For the first time, Ms. Poe named some of her economic advisers: Silicon Valley “technopreneur” Dado Banatao; former Finance secretaries Ramon Del Rosario and Bobby de Ocampo; former Economic Planning Secretary Ciel Habito; former Finance Undersecretary Romy Bernardo; former Defense undersecretary Popoy Del Rosario; and National Scientist Dr. Raul Fabella of the UP School of Economics.

Regarding her inexperience, this is what she had to say, and I quote in toto: “Critics have said that I lack the experience of my opponents. I do not deny this, and in some ways, I am even proud of it.

“True, I have not had the chance to serve in the Cabinet under three presidents, nor have I nor my immediate family members had the opportunity to run a mayor’s office for several decades, but perhaps that is why people still continue to trust me even with all the cases that have been filed against me, which is now finally resolved. Being an outsider in government or in politics, after all, brings with it considerable advantages.

“For starters, one does not carry much baggage; no preconceptions, no assumptions that one has to work within the system however broken; no party mates to reward, subordinates to protect, or pet projects to tiptoe around.

“Indeed, as a virtual outsider, I can feign ignorance and bypass the traditional rituals and practices that bind the old-timers. I can appoint the best people from outside the usual circles, consult the best minds from here and abroad, and propose fresh solutions to old problems without worrying whose toes will be stepped on. I believe that what I do lack in experience I can more than make up for by way of genuine desire to serve the country, an openness to non-traditional points of view, and the passion of a person who has consistently believed in doing what is right.”

Ms. Poe has gone through the proverbial eye of a needle — actually three needles: the Senate Electoral Tribunal, the Commission on Elections, and the Supreme Court. Is she destined to become our next President?


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