Economic reforms and voter education

Published January 11, 2022, 6:24 AM

by J. Albert Gamboa

Last October, the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) and the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII) launched a series of forums with the theme of “Economic Reforms in the New Frontier.”

This is in line with the voter education programs of both FINEX and FFCCCII together with the following participating organizations from the business community: Investment House Association of the Philippines, Judicial Reform Initiative, Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Shareholders’ Association of the Philippines, and Philippine Women’s Economic Network.

The main objective of this forum series is to get to know the economic platforms of the major presidential and vice presidential candidates in the 2022 elections. Understandably, the business sector is concerned about the direction that the Philippine economy will take once any of these candidates would win a plurality of the votes cast on May 9.
“Meet the Presidentiables” had its premiere episode on Oct. 30, with Senator Ping Lacson as the featured candidate. Manila Times Chairman and CEO Dante Ang II hosted the show, with Atty. Mike Toledo as the moderator of the one-on-one Q&A portion.

A slightly different format was used in the first episode of “Meet the Vice Presidentiables” on Nov. 6 since there were two guests, namely: Congressman Lito Atienza and Dr. Walden Bello. At that time, Philippine Star columnist Wilson Lee Flores and BizNews Asia publisher Tony Lopez served as host and moderator, respectively.

Vice President Leni Robredo has confirmed her guesting for the second episode of “Meet the Presidentiables” this coming Friday, Jan. 14 at 1:00-2:30 p.m. The show will be live streamed on the social media platforms of Cignal TV as well as simulcast on TV5’s OnePH free channel, Cignal’s One News, and Radyo5 FM station.

It is not the first time that the country’s premier finance association is organizing an event involving presidential and vice presidential candidates. In October 2003, FINEX hosted a leadership forum titled “In Search of a Servant Leader.”

Four candidates showed up at the Rizal Ballroom of the now defunct Makati Shangri-La Hotel: Bayani Fernando, Loren Legarda, Ramon Magsaysay Jr., and Raul Roco. But eventually, only Roco and Legarda pushed through with their presidential and vice presidential candidacies in the 2004 elections.

We have less than four months to go before the upcoming national and local elections. In fact, the official election period has already started this week, with the Comelec imposing checkpoints and the Philippine National Police enforcing a nationwide gun ban from Jan. 9 to June 8.

According to the latest SWS survey, 93% of Filipinos have expressed optimism for 2022 despite the onslaught of super-typhoon Odette and the raging pandemic. Hopefully there will be peaceful and honest elections, too, since the Philippines desperately needs a servant leader to chart our nation’s future in the next six years.

J. Albert Gamboa is a Life Member of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX). He is the Chairman of the FINEX Media Affairs Committee and the Editor-in-Chief of FINEX Digest. The opinion expressed herein does not necessarily reflect the views of these institutions and the Manila Bulletin.