Business & Economy

Marcos will seek to liberalize Philippine economy, attract foreign capital

Manila, Jul 25 (EFE).- New Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., said Monday he would liberalize the economy by relying on the private sector and foreign investment, strengthen infrastructure and attack the food crisis risk facing the country due to global inflation.

In his first speech on the state of the nation delivered in the House of Representatives, Marcos outlined the main lines of his economic plan at a delicate moment for the national economy due to rampant inflation (6.1 percent in June.) The country is particularly vulnerable due to its low agricultural productivity and excessive dependence on food imports.

“Our country has to become a destination for investment, capitalizing on economic liberalization” and opening up to “foreign investment,” Marcos said in a speech full of macroeconomic data in which he highlighted the opportunities foreign capital can find in the technology and infrastructure sector.

Criticized for his lack of clarity in economic and strategic matters, Marcos, known as “Bongbong,” stressed the importance of collaboration with the private sector to maximize legislative changes in favor of foreign investment in a country particularly closed until now to foreign capital.

He advocated continuing with the infrastructure program launched by his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte. Marcos underlined the importance of public-private partnerships, and promised to increase tax revenues to reduce public debt, which went from 40 percent in 2019 to 63.9 percent in 2022 due to the crisis derived from the pandemic.

Another of the highlights of his speech was the priority given to agricultural production, translated into the donation of unused land to retired public officials from the army and the police, as well as to engineers and agriculture experts to improve productivity in the field and rice production, the country’s main food supply.

These measures would be accompanied by the forgiveness of some debts for farmers.

On the other hand, Marcos Jr. said he recognized the low level of education in the country and promised to work to “take advantage of the innate talent” of Filipinos and their “English proficiency,” the country’s official language, to increase the quality of education.

The son of dictator Ferdinand Marcos – who began an ambitious infrastructure program during the 1960s and 1970s – promised to boost the tourism sector with the construction of highways and international airports that facilitate the transport of travelers and tourists.

For this, Marcos will have a large parliamentary majority in the legislature inaugurated Monday, with his cousin Ferdinand Martin Romualdez as the highest authority in the lower house.

Hours before the speech, some 3,000 people – according to authorities – demonstrated about 800 meters from the House of Representatives to demand Marcos Jr.’s resignation for tax crimes committed by his family. The Philippine justice system demands more than 3.7 billion dollars in unpaid taxes, and the crimes committed during his father’s dictatorship.

“Marcos should resign, a president cannot pretend to govern a country with a past full of crimes and blood,” Migs Odesa, a 21-year-old student at the University of the Philippines, told EFE. EFE


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