Home » Customs & Trade » Incoming PH government offers 8-point economic agenda

ID-100284906The incoming administration of presumptive Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte last week unveiled an eight-point economic agenda, which includes continuing the outgoing government’s macroeconomic policies.

In a media briefing, Carlos Dominguez, a member of the Duterte administration transition team, said details of the policies will be ironed out in the coming days.

First on the Duterte administration’s economic agenda is the continuation of the Aquino administration’s macroeconomic policies. This includes reforms in tax revenue collection efforts complemented by reforms within the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Second on the agenda is accelerating infrastructure spending by, among others, addressing major bottlenecks in the public-private partnership program, and maintaining infrastructure spending at 5% of the country’s gross domestic product.

Third is ensuring the Philippines remains attractive to foreign investors by addressing restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution, and enhancing competitiveness of the economy.

Fourth is to pursue a genuine agricultural development strategy by providing support services to small farmers to increase their productivity, improve their market access, and develop the agricultural value chain by forging partnership with agribusiness firms.

Addressing bottlenecks in land administration and management system is fifth on the agenda.

Sixth is to strengthen the basic education system, and provide scholarships for tertiary education relevant to private employers’ needs.

Improving the tax system by indexing tax collection to inflation rate is seventh, and expanding and improving implementation of the conditional cash transfer program to help the marginalized sector of society is eighth.

The members of the Duterte transition committee are Maribojoc Mayor Leoncio Evasco for social development concerns, executive assistant Christopher Go for peace and security, Dominguez for economic development, lawyer Salvador Medialdea for the judiciary, Loreto Ata for government-owned and controlled corporations and Peter Laviña for infrastructure development.

The Duterte Cabinet may be patterned after that of Canadian Prime Minister John Trudeau’s, according to Duterte spokesperson Laviña, whose members represent almost all sectors. It could also include new and old faces as well as military personnel.

Laviña said the presumptive president wants a Cabinet with young people, a gender-sensitive lineup, and representatives from ethnic and social groups. He added that overseas Filipino workers are also being eyed to join the new Cabinet.

Outgoing Senator Pia Cayetano has already joined the transition team to ensure a “gender-balanced” government.

Laviña said the transition team is now considering names to fill the Cabinet but will not divulge them until they are approved by Duterte.

Duterte earlier revealed he is looking at appointing Dominguez to head the finance or transportation department. Dominguez, a former Cabinet official during the time of former presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos, was Duterte’s finance chief for the presidential election.

Jesus Dureza, press secretary during Ramos’ time and a high school classmate of Duterte, will likely be the presidential peace adviser.

Former Clark Development Corporation president Arthur Tugade is reportedly being considered for the position of trade and industry secretary, while outgoing Albay governor Joey Salceda was promised by Duterte during the campaigns to be appointed head of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). Salceda is now Albay’s representative for the second district.

The new Cabinet may also include Evasco, Duterte’s campaign manager, while former trade secretary and businessman Tomas Alcantara’s name has also been mentioned.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte’s running mate, is being eyed for the post of foreign affairs secretary, although he still has one year to go in the Senate.

The position of budget and management secretary may go to Isidro Ungab, representative of Davao City’s third district and chairman of the Lower House Committee on Appropriations.

Former presidential aspirant Gilberto Teodoro’s name is also being floated as among those to be recommended to Duterte’s Cabinet, as is the name of retired chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr.

Meanwhile, President Benigno Aquino III has signed on May 12 Administrative Order 49 creating the Presidential Transition Committee (PTC) to “ensure the continuity and maintain the efficiency of government services.”

The PTC is chaired by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. Its members are NEDA Director-General Dr Emmanuel Esguerra; Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad; Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima; Foreign Affairs Secretary Jose Rene Almendras; Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson; and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.

The committee met for the first time last Friday, with Coloma saying they are eyeing to submit and consolidate the transition reports of all departments, agencies and bureaus under the executive branch by end of May.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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