President Duterte may be an unorthodox leader and have some failings in the delivery of all his campaign promises but on balance his government, in the view of business, delivered very notable achievements that succeeding governments must continue to foster and build on.
This was stressed by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) as the country’s largest business organization assessed the President’s final state of the nation address Monday.
The voice of business especially for the micro small and medium enterprises recognizes Duterte’s achievements even as the country went into a steep decline due to the unprecedented economic damage from COVID 19.
“In the 5 years of his administration, the President may have overly focused on the drug war and corruption, the economic cluster in partnership with the business sector sustained the country’s economic growth, which continued to be above 6% pre-pandemic,” said PCCI Acting President Edgardo G. Lacson in the statement.
The PCCI cited several game-changing measures certified as priority enacted in the 18th Congress such as: the tax reform measures that include TRAIN, CREATE, increasing the excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol products and the Tax Amnesty Act, the Ease of Doing Business Act, the Universal health Care Act, the Alternative Learning Systems Act, the Innovation Act – which were instrumental in mitigating, in large measure, the devastating impact of the Covid 19 pandemic to life and livelihood.
“The tax reform measures have maintained the country’s investment grade credit rating despite the economic standstill due to covid 19,” said Lacson.
In addition, PCCI the government’s determination to implement massive infrastructure projects in the country.
PCCI noted the budget and spending of the Build Build Build (BBB)program against GDP, which is the highest compared to all previous administrations. The BBB covered infrastructure projects such as improvements on transport connectivity, seaport and airport developments, and many others generated millions of direct and indirect jobs in the construction industry.
“The President gave assurance to continue without let up all projects in the BBB program in the remaining 11 months of his presidency. Succeeding administrations after Pres Duterte will have to continue this program to sustain the forward and upward economic trajectory,” noted PCCI, whick represents as the voice of business especially for the MSMEs,
The last SONA also promised to improve the shortcomings in government’s support for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Lacson said PCCI will continue to partner with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to strengthen their programs for this sector, especially those in manufacturing, to help create more permanent and decent jobs.
PCCI expects these two government agencies to roll out a more aggressive campaign to assist MSME’s business by way of more liberal and faster loan approval procedures and institutionalizing innovation as an integral part of the MSME development program.
PCCI is confident that the Duterte administration will continue its economic momentum until the end of its term, and hopefully beyond, by pressing the legislature to pass the critical pending measures such as the Public Service Act Amendment, the Magna Carta for MSMEs Amendment Act, the Open Access Data Transmission Act and the Microfinancing for Microenterprises Act.
As the country moves closer to the next presidential election, PCC noted, “Throughout history, all governments have imperfect leaders but each incoming president is a building block that contributes to a country’s progress.”