'We’re going to be okay’; Angara upbeat on PH’s future, post elections

Published May 22, 2022, 10:57 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara on Sunday said he is optimistic that the Philippines would be able to sustain its path towards economic recovery and even emerge stronger in the coming years with the people’s support.

Sen. Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, during the bicameral conference committee meeting on the proposed P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022. (O/S Angara)

“The Philippines is going to be okay and there’s a chance that we might even be better,” Angara said in a statement.

While there remains serious challenges ahead for the incoming Marcos administration, Angara said the key to success is to build on the gains already made by its predecessors and to come up with strong policies that would move the country forward.

“The good news is that our economic policies don’t really change. In the past three administrations, difficult fiscal reforms were introduced in order to strengthen the economy and improve the lives of our people,” Angara said in his speech before the Harvard OPM Club of the Philippines.

“Those fiscal reforms set the basis for the investments that the government had to make over the last two decades; investments in education, investments in health, investments in infrastructure. I have seen how things have improved,” Angara further said.

The senator said there is a window of potential for the country that must be tapped with some urgency because the population will start to age within the next two decades.

Accordingly, he said investments in education and health is now even more crucial in order to help in the development of the people, coupled with the commitment to address the brain drain that continues to hound the country.

Angara noted how the current Duterte administration was able to pass the Universal Tertiary Education Act or Republic Act No. 10931 or the law guaranteeing free education to students enrolled in the state universities and colleges (SUCs) even though it would cost a lot for the government because it was an investment that had to be made.

Tough decisions, while highly unpopular, had to be made and the results can be seen clearly in the way the economy has continued to grow over the past three administrations, he noted.

“During the time of PGMA (then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo), we had four to five percent GDP (gross domestic product) growth, then it was six to seven percent during the time of PNoy (President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III) that was sustained over six years. Then you have President Duterte almost hitting eight percent, pre-pandemic,” Angara observed.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty, there’s a lot of gloom and doom. There are definitely clouds on the horizon, but if we have a skillful pilot who can steer us on course, we’ll be good,” the lawmaker reiterated.