By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter
BUSINESS GROUPS and foreign chambers would like to see the incoming Marcos administration prioritize reforms to attract more foreign investments, assist pandemic-hit small businesses and create much-needed jobs.
Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. had a commanding lead in the presidential race with more than 30 million votes, based on the latest unofficial tally by the Commission on Elections. (Related story)
“We urge the incoming government leaders to build on the momentum and successes of the previous administrations. We look forward to further improvements in economic openness to increase trade, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows and job creation,” Lars Wittig, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) president, said in a Viber message.
Mr. Wittig said he would like to see the new president focus on sustainability-related reforms, investments in education and nutrition, and institutional reforms on good governance and transparency.
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) President George T. Barcelon said in a Viber message that the incoming administration should provide more assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that were badly affected by the pandemic. MSMEs comprise 99% of business establishments and 63% of the workforce in the Philippines.
“(The next administration should) give attention to MSMEs with financial assistance and lighten their compliance requirements. Many (had) closed down and jobs lost. Hopefully they can be revived,” he said.
Mr. Barcelon said the Duterte administration has given a “sound take-off point” for the Marcos administration with the passage of key economic legislation and “intact macroeconomic fundamentals.”
However, Mr. Barcelon noted Mr. Marcos will face several challenges due to the prolonged pandemic and ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, such as high debt and accelerating inflation.
In a separate television interview on Tuesday, British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) Executive Director Chris Nelson said that the incoming Marcos administration should focus on further improving ease of doing business to attract more investments.
Mr. Nelson said British investors are looking for continuity in terms of policy direction for the next administration.
“There’s a lot still that can be done. There is the ease of doing business. That can still be further streamlined. When we talk about infrastructure spending, what we are looking here for is investment, particularly in the digital sector and also continuing the investment in education and expand the talent bases in the Philippines,” Mr. Nelson said.
The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) said it hopes to work closely with the government to ensure the economy’s recovery, maintain high GDP growth, continue infrastructure projects, and create more jobs.
“(This is) best achieved by continuing the governance and policies of the current and previous administrations,” the JFC said in a statement that was approved by the ECCP, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Australian-New Zealand Commerce of the Philippines, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, and Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters, Inc.
Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr., Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECoP) president, said in a mobile phone interview that the Marcos administration should continue the infrastructure push started by outgoing President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
“The Marcos administration should continue the projects under the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program. I hope that the next government can come up with a good economic team,” Mr. Ortiz-Luis said. “The next administration can also look at a policy for our SMEs. They should pass the Magna Carta for SMEs.”
Meanwhile, Alliance of Call Center Workers Co-Convenor Emman D. David said that the next administration should prioritize legislation measures to allow Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA)-registered companies to implement work-from-home arrangements without losing tax incentives.
“(They should) pass a Magna Carta of business process outsourcing (BPO) workers that guarantees the labor rights of employees in the BPO industry,” he added.