MANILA, Philippines – Presidential candidate Grace Poe went to Makati on Wednesday, March 16, to talk about her economic vision and strategies for inclusive growth.
Before hundreds of businessmen, Poe promised an administration that will balance “galing” (competence) with “puso” (heart). She said she sees a Philippines that will be at par with its neighboring countries in the coming years.
Jee Geronimo reports. – Rappler.com
Presidential candidate Grace Poe heads to Makati, one of the country’s business districts, to talk about her economic vision for the Philippines.
The first presidential bet to speak before the two groups of businessmen, Poe assures them she is doing her homework to learn the ropes of the country’s economy.
GRACE POE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is clear to me that we cannot win the war against poverty without enlarging the economic pie, so enlarge it we will, hopefully at an even faster pace than we experience today.
She turns to the success stories of countries like Singapore and Taiwan, where the strategy is to sell to the world and not just to the domestic market.
She also favors joining free trade blocs and signing bilateral free trade agreements, practices of some of the Philippines' more progressive ASEAN neighbors.
Poe also pushes for a government that will make doing business in the country easier.
GRACE POE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is clear to me that attracting the business that will create jobs for our people begins with converting the mindset of our public officials. Congress, the bureaucracy, and the courts – they should all be made to read from the same page.
She vows to push for higher infrastructure budget to make the country a world-class investment destination and tourist haven.
But to get there, she says accountability from her own people will be crucial.
GRACE POE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In my administration, it will be very straightforward. Those who do not meet their targets will be asked to stand down, whether they be friends, classmates, political allies, or even running mates.
Her goal is for the country to be at par with its neighbors with an 8 to 10% growth in the next 25 years.
Makati Business Club chair Ramon del Rosario calls the candidate's goals ambitious.
RAMON DEL ROSARIO, MAKATI BUSINESS CLUB CHAIRMAN: On the whole I think she delivered a business-friendly program of government which I think was very-well received by those who listened here, so I think on the whole she hit the right notes. Infrastructure as a priority is a very popular thing with this group and trying to increase spending in infrastructure up to 7% of GDP is a bold move and even aspiring for higher growth rates so that we reach developed nation status over a shorter period. Ambitious goals, but not unattainable if we get our act together.
Poe herself admits her targets are sky-high. But, for her, Filipinos should be aiming higher to see an economic growth that is truly inclusive.
Jee Geronimo, Rappler, Makati.