By Louella Desiderio | The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines — Business groups yesterday cheered the announcement of the new administration’s economic team who will work to push for the country’s recovery and sustainable economic growth.
Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion also welcomed the appointment of Management Association of the Philippines president Alfredo “Fred” Pascual as incoming Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president George Barcelon said the country’s largest business organization welcomes the appointment by president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno as secretary of the Department of Finance (DOF), BSP Monetary Board member Felipe Medalla as central bank chief, Philippine Competition Commission chairperson Arsenio Balisacan as National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) head and Pascual as DTI secretary.
Barcelon said these economic leaders would be playing a critical role in the next several years as the government faces fiscal woes brought by the pandemic and other economic issues.
“They are all seasoned and competent economic leaders. We believe they would do good in managing our fiscal affairs. As you know, we are faced with critical issues such as the huge debt deficit, and the need for post-pandemic reforms and programs to sustain recovery, among others,” he said.
The Makati Business Club (MBC) also lauded the economic appointments.
“The appointment of these experienced, well-known leaders should boost the confidence of local and foreign businesses, from MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) to big players, that the new administration will promote liberalizing but inclusive policies that will accelerate job creation, competition and economic recovery,” MBC executive director Coco Alcuaz said.
He said Diokno as the first economic czar to have headed the two other big economic agencies, BSP and the Department of Budget and Management, would bring rare insight on how the government and private sector work together to promote jobs and growth.
MBC also welcomed the appointments of Manuel Bonoan, Bienvenido Laguesma and Susan “Toots” Ople as secretaries of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the new Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), respectively.
“We look forward to succeeding appointments in the economic team,” the MBC said.
American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) executive director Ebb Hinchliffe said in an email that the group welcomed Marcos’ selection of respected, well-known and experienced individuals to head the BSP, DOF, DOLE, DMW, DPWH, DTI and NEDA.
“AmCham has worked with these leaders in their current and previous positions and looks forward to doing so with the new president’s economic team through our joint efforts to support economic recovery, increased investment, economic growth, and job creation to benefit Filipinos in our mutual pursuit of stronger bilateral trade and investment relations,” the group said.
European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Lars Wittig said the appointment of experienced leaders to head the NEDA, DOF, BSP, and DTI would build on the previous achievements of the past administrations.
“We look forward to working with the incoming economic team to further improve the business environment, the global competitiveness of the Philippines as well as increase trade and investments which are expected to generate more jobs and spur economic growth,” he said.
Concepcion said in a statement yesterday, Marcos made an excellent choice in naming Pascual as DTI chief given the latter’s past work and passion to help MSMEs.
“With Fred as secretary, there will be continuity in programs and policies that help and support MSMEs in the country especially now that we are on our way towards economic recovery,” he said.
He said Pascual has been a regular mentor and resource speaker at Go Negosyo programs for MSMEs.
In addition, he said Pascual played an important role in the strengthened public and private sector partnership in pandemic response and backed Go Negosyo’s proposals for increased mobility for the vaccinated and the reopening of the economy when the country saw a slowdown in COVID-19 cases.
“Pascual is assured of full support from Go Negosyo, especially his plans and programs for MSMEs,” Concepcion said.
Go Negosyo is one of DTI’s partners in pushing for MSME growth.
Concepcion is currently the co-chair of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development Council under DTI, and also the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Business Advisory Council focused on helping MSMEs scale up.