July 13, 2022

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Top business leaders to give Marcos advice on economic priorities

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. tapped Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. (AEV) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sabin M. Aboitiz to lead a group of business executives and experts that would give advice on key economic issues.

“The newly established council pledges to help the government deliver on its commitment to transform the Philippine economy by implementing a robust infrastructure program, creating more jobs, digitizing processes, improving agricultural productivity through the recalibration of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and ensuring an equitable, sustainable, and inclusive business landscape for Filipinos,” the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) said in a statement.

Members of the PSAC, led by Mr. Aboitiz, met with Mr. Marcos in Malacañang last week.

The PSAC designated top business executives as sectoral leads who will give regular reports to Mr. Marcos in order “to provide feedback on what is happening on the ground and will make recommendations on modern policy development.”

Mr. Aboitiz was named as the sectoral lead for the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program and tourism. The Aboitiz group’s businesses include power (Aboitiz Power Corp.), infrastructure (Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc.), banking (UnionBank of the Philippines), food (Pilmico Foods Corp. and Gold Coin Management Holdings), and real estate (AboitizLand, Inc.).

Aileen Uygongco-Ongkauko, a director of La Filipina Uy Gongco Group of Companies, was designated as the lead for agriculture. La Filipina is a diversified agribusiness, livestock and food company, whose products include fertilizers, commercial feeds, flour, and sugar.

Jose Ma. “Joey” Concepcion III, who was former President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s adviser for entrepreneurship, was named as the sectoral lead for “Jabs to Jobs.” He is also the president of RFM Corp. and founder of Go Negosyo, an advocacy group for small businesses.

Henry Rhoel R. Aguda, chief operating officer of Aboitiz-led UnionBank, has been tapped as sectoral lead for digital infrastructure, while Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc. President and CEO Paolo Maximo F. Borromeo was named lead for healthcare. 

“The close partnership between the public and private sectors will continue to deepen with the establishment of PSAC under President Marcos. We are optimistic that by working hand in hand with the government to develop the five priority areas, we will see a revitalized economy that all Filipinos will benefit from,” Mr. Aboitiz said.

Experts earlier said public-private partnerships (PPP) would likely play a major role in the Marcos administration, as it promises new programs and major projects that would require huge amounts of funds. 

Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said earlier the new administration would pursue PPP projects, especially in infrastructure. The government is committed to spending 5-6% of the country’s growth output annually from 2023 to 2028.

Aside from infrastructure development, Mr. Marcos has also promised cheaper food and more jobs. — KATA