Three years ago, elite members of the Management of the Philippines were less than impressed by presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign speech which they said lacked substance or was thin on his economic plans.
Three years later, Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez has come back to tell MAP members in their faces about the economic gains made by Duterte and that the majority of Filipinos have overwhelmingly voted for him to essentially do what he has been doing in the last three years.
“President Rodrigo Duterte enjoys broad and profound support from our people. That strong support was most recently expressed in the just concluded midterm elections,” said Dominguez during a MAP event at Shangri-la The Fort in Bonifacio Global City.
“The landslide vote our people delivered in favor of the candidates endorsed by the President translates into approval for the program of reforms the President has launched at the start. Our people desire the continuation of the pragmatic programs this administration has started, driven by the incomparable political will the President has displayed in these last three years,” he added.
Duterte’s candidates won 9 of the 12 seats up for grabs with the remaining three going to independent candidates. This was a big blow to opposition candidates favored by MAP such as former Senator Mar Roxas and Bam Aquino whose Otso Diretso slate rode on an anti-Duterte tone during the campaign.
Dominguez said that not only the people have spoken in favor of Duterte, but international rating agencies tracked by MAP members have likewise given their thumbs up to the President’s economic performance with a higher investment grade of “BBB+” from Standard & Poor’s and the “BBB” rating affirmed by Fitch.
Dominguez called these “strong votes of confidence in the Duterte administration’s reform agenda such as:
1) Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) which raised 108 percent of its targeted revenue collections in the first year.
2) Rice Tariffication Law which should boost supply and lower inflation
3) Consolidation of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao that should pave the way for peace and development in the region
4) National ID system which will make government services more accessible and more efficient
5) Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Law which will create a unified business application form to make it easier to put up or renew business licenses
6) Universal Health Care (UHC) program which seek to get stable funding from more punitive tobacco taxes
Dominguez said: “I seek your help as professional managers to help explain the importance of fiscal discipline and market reforms to our people. Our economic success must not be derailed by populist demagoguery that sometimes erupts in politics.”