Presidential bets look at agri, businesses to boost economic recovery
MANILA, Philippines — Agriculture and businesses — these are among the sectors that presidential candidates would prioritize in expediting the country’s economic recovery.
During the PiliPinas Debates 2022: The Turning Point on Saturday, organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), presidential candidates were asked about the first sector they intend to put focus on in the wake of the economic slowdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Former presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, labor leader Leody de Guzman, and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said they will concentrate on agriculture.
“Ang una po talaga nating plano bigyan tugon ay ang agrikultura. Ang agricultural sector at ang plano po talaga natin diyan ay gawin natin siyang isang agricultural powerhouse na kung saan po nakadikit ang mga ilang mga industriya,” Abella answered.
(Our first plan is to address agriculture. The agricultural sector and our plan there is to make it an agricultural powerhouse wherein industries are attached.)
“Ang pokus ng unang mga taon pagsisimula ng pagbuhay doon sa ating agriculture para lumikha ng maraming pagkain, sapat na pagkain para sa hapag kainan ng ating mga mamamayan dahil sa maraming mga kabataan tayo ngayon ang malnourished, maraming nagugutom,” de Guzman responded.
(The focus of our first few years is to restore the agriculture to create food, sufficient food to the table because many of our youth are malnourished, many are hungry.)
“Agrikultura. Dapat po mamuhunan tayo na payabungin ang katayuan ng ating mga magsasaka,” Moreno said, noting that farmers were neglected.
(Agriculture. We have to invest to flourish the status of our farmers.)
Former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, and Vice President Leni Robredo meanwhile said they intend to enhance employment and businesses first.
“Palagay ko ang kauna-unahang iniisip ng lahat ng ating mga kababayan ay kung papaano muling magkakaroon ng hanapbuhay para kumain ang pamilya at para maging normal ang takbo ng mga pamilya,” Gonzales said.
(I think the first that comes to the minds of our fellow Filipinos is how to have a job to eat and for their families to have a normal lives.)
“Ang sektor na uunahin ko po ay ang MSMEs (micro, small, medium enterprises). Bakit? Sapagkat 99.5 percent ng ating mga enterprises ay nagmumula sa MSMEs, at ang nawalan ng trabaho mga 400,000. Mula sa 5.7 million, naging 5.3 million na lamang,” Lacson replied, raising the need for a targeted and comprehensive fiscal stimulus.
(The sector that I will prioritize is MSMEs. Why? Because 99.5 percent of our enterprises come from MSMEs, and those who lost jobs are around 400,000. From 5.7 million, it’s just 5.3 million.)
“Ayon po sa datos, ang pinakatinamaan ng pandemic, MSMEs. Meron po tayong 99.5 percent of all businesses considered na MSMEs. Nagge-generate po ito ng 5.7 million employees,” said Robredo who proposed a P100 billion stimulus fund for MSMEs.
(Based on data, MSMEs are the ones harshly hit. We have 99.5 percent of all businesses considered as MSMEs. It generates 5.7 million employees.)
For lawyer and doctor Jose Montemayor Jr., monetary and fiscal policies should be given priority.
“When you want to revive the economy, you have to employ two factors: the monetary policy and also the fiscal policy,” he said.
If elected, Senator Manny Pacquiao’s government will focus on enhancing the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“Ang popokusan po natin is ‘yung GDP natin. Lagi po ‘yung binabasehan ng ating ekonomiya,” the senator noted.
(We will focus on GDP. That is the basis of our economy.)
Businessman Faisal Mangondato, meanwhile, has not given a specific sector but emphasized the need to strengthen the economy.
“‘Yung ekonomiya ang nasasandalan ng lahat ng ating mga kababayan dahil kapag malaki ang ating ekonomiya, malakas ang ekonomiya ng ating bansa, lahat ng programa ng ating pamahalaan ay mapupursige o kaya ay magagawa ng ating gobyerno,” he said.
(Filipinos depend on the economy because if the economy is strong, all government programs will push through.)
Of all the presidential candidates, only former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. declined to attend the Comelec debate.
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