PCCI drafts roadmap for next President
Philippine Daily Inquirer
By: Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
April 26, 2016
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) will propose to the next President an aggressive economic and governance reform roadmap summed up by the acronym “GIANT STEPS” in a bid to sustain the country’s economic momentum and create more jobs.
“All the presidentiables have the interest of the country at heart. On how they will do it, we will try to influence the roadmap, hopefully with whoever will be the next President,” PCCI president George Barcelon told the Inquirer.
On May 9, the Philippines will elect a successor to President Aquino, under whose term the government attained an investment grade rating and achieved a higher economic trend growth exceeding 6 percent.
The end-goal of “GIANT STEPS,” Barcelona said, would be to boost job creation, noting that in 2015, 6,092 new workers were deployed overseas a day, rising from a little more than 5,000 in 2013 and 2014 and from over 4,000 in 2010 to 2012.
The proposed framework, he said, would sum up what the country needed to provide more jobs to Filipinos.
G is about “good governance.” “It’s really to reduce bureaucracy, provide consistent laws and tweak taxation to be more competitive with Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) neighbors,” Barcelon said. Part of this will be to boost foreign investments as well as to provide business incentive packages through the Board of Investments to put the country at par with what neighboring countries like Thailand and Vietnam were offering.
I is about infrastructure, which the country needs to cope with the requirements of a growing economy. “That covers a lot of areas like airports, roads, ports, telecommunications and irrigation,” the PCCI chief said.
A is about boosting agriculture, the sector that employs about a third of the population.
N refers to a “new era” of manufacturing, as PCCI envisions a country that will be able to build more factories and attract more foreign direct investments. The country has not been able to grow the industrial sector—the key to the employment of semi-skilled workers—as fast as neighboring countries. But Barcelon said there was an opportunity to attract new manufacturers using new technology that is more conscious of initiatives to mitigate climate change.
T is for tourism—a way of unlocking potential from the country’s great outdoor, including its pristine beaches. Tourism is also one sector that has a big multiplier effect on the economy.
“STEPS” refers to science, technology, education, people and skills.
A more detailed roadmap will be presented to whoever is elected President next month. To date, the front-runner in the surveys is Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, followed by Sen. Grace Poe.
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