The Manila Times : Inclusive growth 'possible under Marcos'

By Catherine Valente | The Manila Times

PRESIDENTIAL Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Maria "Joey" Concepcion 3rd on Friday said the overwhelming mandate given to President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. during Monday's elections presents a greater chance for inclusive growth for the Philippines.

Concepcion made the statement after the partial and unofficial election results showed that Marcos had over 31 million votes.

"The record 31 million votes, malaking bagay 'yan (that matters a lot). We have not seen that in an extremely long time," Concepcion, the Go Negosyo founder, said during a press briefing.

"It was definitely a clean and honest election. Walang gulo (There's no violence), and the results matched the various surveys," he said.

Concepcion also acknowledged that the votes Marcos received came from the underprivileged.

"From my point of view, the underprivileged have been heard. Ang daming bumoto (Many people voted); maybe because they see na malaki ang pag-asa under him (they see hope under him)," he said.

Concepcion said he had advised the incoming president to give his full support to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to make economic growth more inclusive.

"Most businesses here are MSMEs — 99.5 percent — and they provide more than half of the jobs in this country," he said.

Concepcion said that helping small enterprises will be necessary considering the challenges that face the new administration, including a record P12.68-trillion debt and a debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio that now stands at 63.5 percent, nearing the highest level since 2005.

A looming stagflation brought about by rising commodity prices due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis can also dampen growth, he said.

Concepcion also said the incoming administration must assure foreign investors of a competent and transparent government.

"Kung makita na ang gobyerno ay maganda, mahusay at transparent, mas maraming papasok na foreign investors (If they see that the government is good, efficient and transparent, more foreign investors will come in)," he said.

Concepcion noted that President Rodrigo Duterte's economic team had laid the groundwork for relaxing entry requirements for foreign investors.

He said the incoming administration must take care not to lose the momentum that has been built up in the country's fight against Covid-19.

"We cannot afford to have heightened alert levels," Concepcion said. "We already saw how our GDP grew by 8.3 percent this first quarter when we opened the economy."

Concepcion emphasized, however, that the country must now come together after a particularly divisive election.

"Greater prosperity can happen if we are all working together," he said. "Hopefully, we will have less friction between the opposition and the administration and more working toward a common goal."

Concepcion also expressed confidence that Marcos will continue Duterte's programs, particularly massive infrastructure building, saying "that would be a big help to the agriculture sector."

He said both local and international investors are waiting for Marcos to name his cabinet so they could have an idea of what can be expected from his administration.