Manila Standard : Biz community lauds BBM picks to steer economy

By Manila Standard

Incoming President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. has received praises from the business community for appointing his economic managers who have no political colors and who are considered as the “A-team” in the sector.

Marcos recently announced the nomination of Arsenio Balisacan as National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), while outgoing Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno was nominated as Finance Secretary.

Diokno will be replaced by Felipe Medalla as BSP Governor, while Alfredo Pascual has also accepted his nomination as Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) secretary.

“Very reassuring, most of them have been in the public service before. Ok naman ang mga track record nila and they have done well,” said George Barcelon, president of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in a television interview.

The Philippine Exporters Confederation also praised the appointment of BBM’s economic team, which it said was not a political accommodation and is confident will serve the public truthfully.

“We are very happy with the choices. Our initial fear was that they would be political appointees. I know of no one pursuing a position among them, they were invited to a talk, and some of them were requested to serve,” according to Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation.

For its part, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) is confident small businesses will be protected under the leadership of Pascual, the incoming Trade secretary.

“(Pascual) knows what he’s going to do, of course with the DTI a lot of uplifting in the SMEs, I think the Filipinos are one of the best business people, you give them a space, automatic may sari-sari store, automatic they would know how to sell,” Donald Lim, president of MAP, noted.

“So, imagine that if we give them that platform to really become businesspeople, to really become entrepreneurs, we would really have a very strong economy,” he added.

Political economist Calixto Chikiamco branded the economic team of Marcos Jr. as the “A-Team” in the business community because of its vast experience in the government service.

“All of them have academic credentials and they all have the experience. Medalla, Diokno, and Balisacan all have Ph.D.’s in economics and were former professors in the UP School of Economics,” said Chikiamco in the same interview.

“Pascual also used to be a consultant with ADB (Asian Development Bank) and former President of UP (University of the Philippines. They’re all tried and tested, so the business sector is quite confident in the competence of this new economic team,” he added.

Balisacan, who served under Presidents Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Benigno Simeon Aquino III, believed that apart from being an expert in the business industry among his qualifications is that he has no political leaning.

“I think the incoming president knows very well that I don’t have politics in my blood, and I just do my work. So, it should not really matter who I work with,” Balisacan said in another interview.