With the Philippine economy growing by 8.2% and 7.4% respectively in the first two quarters of 2022, the country seems to be riding some momentum going into the new administration. Despite the challenges and difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic, multiple sectors are poised to continue surging due to the foundation laid by six years under Rodrigo Duterte.
Will Ferdinand Marcos Jr. usher in a new golden age for the country? Let’s discuss four (4) good things the PBBM administration should continue from its predecessor. Let’s begin!
1. Infrastructure: Build, Build, More
Having been dubbed as the “Golden Age of Infrastructure,” Duterte’s BBB Program is the toughest of acts to follow. But with many projects still left unfinished, its completion now rests in the hand of Marcos Junior.
The MRT-3 Rehabilitation Project, which cost P21.966 billion, the New Clark City Phase 1 project, which cost P18 billion, and the Clark International Airport Expansion project, which cost P14.972 billion, are some big ticket projects that come to mind.
During his first SONA, President “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said that he will pursue and expand Duterte’s BBB program.
“The backbone of an economy is its infrastructure. The infrastructure program of the Duterte administration must not only continue but, wherever possible, be expanded,” he said. “We shall confidently build on this firm foundation established by my predecessor. As it is in building an edifice. We must keep the momentum. And aspire to build better more.”
Marcos knows that the key to sustained economic growth lies in continuing and reaping the rewards of the BBB Program. The blueprint for a national infrastructure development framework has been laid. With many Filipinos remaining unemployed, the jobs component of BBB must also continue, as the program created nearly 7 million jobs during Duterte’s time. PBBM has a good thing going here. He should recognize it.
2. Environment: Cleaning up our act
Another thing that made the Duterte administration really successful was it’s strong political will on environmental issues and concerns. Remember when President Duterte ordered the rehabilitation of Boracay? How about the cleanup of Manila Bay? These were just some of the moves by the Duterte administration that made people really happy.
Now, the new administration should also pick up on these programs and replicate them. There are many tourist havens and bodies of water throughout the country that need the palace’s attention. Cleaning up isn’t just a boon on the tourism industry. It’s also good for people’s physical and mental health, and an investment in the natural treasure of future generations. To put it simply, it’s the right thing to do for any administration, and PBBM shouldn’t neglect this.
3. Labor and Employment: Generating Jobs, Improving Wages
Picking up from above’s “nearly 7 million jobs” figure generated by “Build, Build, Build” means finding what other projects can lead to similar results that offer multiple benefits. Help the most sectors, while helping the most people.
Agriculture is a no-brainer, which is why the new president has taken it as a personal task to lead the department. There’s tourism roaring back, which is something the new tourism secretary is on top of.
But apart from the aforementioned need to keep the foot on the infrastructure pedal, this new administration must be creative, resourceful, and thrifty in its endeavors. Millions of Filipinos are still out of the job or are poorly matched with their current employment. PBBM, his cabinet, and the private sector must breathe new life into multiple industries to help sustain our economic growth. Everyone must work hand-in-hand.
PBBM’s agenda to give micro, small, and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) priority is welcome. While tax breaks seem to be in the rearview, this government should still try to increase wages in sectors they have control over. The working class must be motivated to do well as prices of basic goods continue to rise. Without a citizenry motivated to earn and work, and spend and build, we may lose our grip on our economic upswing.
4. Post-Pandemic Diplomacy: Deeper ties with other nations
Another thing that made the PRRD administration popular was its independent foreign policy of being “friend to all, enemy to none.”. This must continue by all means under PBBM.
The good news is, the new administration will be adopting this same independent foreign policy. The president has already mentioned he plans to strengthen connections between the Philippines and China, the United States, and other countries.
“I look forward to deepening our already-vibrant relationships with each country and further exploring areas of mutual interest and benefit to our peoples,” he said.
This is crucial, as the post-pandemic world economy continues to be unpredictable. Over the course of history, when these world-changing events happen, it has always been important to work well with neighbors, and Indonesia has been our long-time friend.