July 21, 2022

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Lawmakers watching Marcos economic game plan

By Alyssa Nicole O. Tan, Reporter

LAWMAKERS are watching how President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. plans to steer a virus-stricken economy amid prices that are spiraling out of control.

Mr. Marcos, who won the May 9 election by a landslide, will deliver his first address to Congress on July 25.

“How to improve government services when it comes to health and education, how to create jobs — those are what our countrymen want to hear in President Bongbong Marcos’ upcoming state of the nation address,” Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara said in a statement on Thursday.

Industries that have been hit hard by a coronavirus pandemic in the past two years would need all the help that they could get from the government, he added.

Senator Mary Grace S. Poe-Llamanzares said she expects “concrete, comprehensive and impactful solutions” from the president.

“Providing economic opportunities should be at the core of our comprehensive infrastructure plan, marked by crucial, high-impact projects that are thoroughly planned and carried out without delays and wastage,” she said in a separate statement.

“Efficient implementation of projects will propel economic activities and allow our people to thrive in these hard times,” she added.

Ms. Poe said she is looking forward to improved digital connectivity and e-governance, better crop output and for major transportation projects to be completed.

Senator Loren B. Legarda said she wanted to hear Mr. Marcos speak about his priority programs and economic and fiscal reforms as he plans to deal with rising joblessness, food security, health and education.

“The state of the nation address has always been the preamble of every new administration,” she said in a statement. “I am looking forward to hearing President Marcos’ specific plans on the country’s pandemic recovery and transition to a better normal. I hope that it is ​​one that is aligned and attuned to the climate path.”

Ms. Legarda also said she wanted to hear him speak about how the government will tame inflation amid rising global fuel prices, and how he will handle the country’s sea dispute with China.

She likewise expects the president to talk about how to deal with the country’s record debt and how he plans to solve the learning crisis after schools were shut by lockdowns in the past two years.

Senator Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva said he wants to hear about the president’s plans for the country’s workers and foreign policy

“Our relations with other countries are important, especially in terms of international trade and security,” he said in mixed English and Filipino. “It is also important for our overseas Filipino workers to hear about this, especially at the beginning of the operation of the Department of Migrant Workers.”

Senator Ana Theresia “Risa” N. Hontiveros-Baraquel said Mr. Marcos should say how he plans to solve the food crisis, rising oil prices, climate change and energy resources.

She is also waiting for the details of his economic transformation agenda, the safe return to schools and infrastructure development.

Albay Rep. Jose Maria Clemente S. Salceda expects the president to prioritize agricultural revolution, citing a goal to boost the export value of high-value agricultural products to $20 billion by the end of his term, achieving global competitiveness in corn and fulfilling his campaign promise of bringing down the price of rice to P20 a kilo.

He said Mr. Marcos would probably have a decisive response on inflation during his address. “We need a broad range of presidential powers to act in the areas where we have some control,” Mr. Salceda said, citing price gouging, logistics and middleman costs, second-round impacts and the effects of rising prices on the poor.

The congressman also expects to hear more about jobs, support to small businesses, commitment to technological resiliency, sustainability, the recovery of the education sector and fiscal prudence.

Party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, wanted to hear the president speak about rebuilding the economy, addressing inflation and improving internet connectivity.

“We expect the president to unveil a roadmap to help the country recover from the impacts of COVID-19 for the next six years or so,” she said in a statement.

Ms. Dy said the government should continue to help households and businesses, particularly micro, small and medium enterprises, until the coronavirus is contained.

“Although the economy has recovered somewhat in the first quarter of this year, millions of Filipinos who lost their jobs remain unemployed, the economy is operating far below its capacity and the recovery appears to be stalling,” she said.

House of Representatives Secretary-General Mark Llandro Mendoza on Wednesday said as much as 80% of 1,360 invitees have confirmed their attendance to Mr. Marcos’ first address.

Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former President Joseph E. Estrada and Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio will attend the event at the House, while ex-President Rodrigo R. Duterte and former Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo have yet to send their response.