Last Thursday, May 12, president-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s economic program was announced in Dav ao City by his transition team led by Carlos Dominguez.
Columnist and sociologist Randy S. David surmised that the announcement was done “as a way of reassuring investors and calming the stock markets.” The business community is usually given a glimpse of the incoming president’s policies and priorities before his inauguration, he added.
Mr.Dominguez, a former Secretary of Agriculture during President Cory Aquino’s administration, summarized Duterte’s 8-point economic agenda in a televised briefing from Davao City as follows:
• Continue and maintain current economic policy, complemented by reforms in the bureaucracy of tax collection agencies;
• Accelerate infrastructure spending to account for 5% of gross domestic product, with public-private partnership projects playing a key role;
• Raise competitiveness by relaxing the economic provisions of the Constitution to attract foreign direct investments and following the model used to boost business in Davao City;
• Pursue agricultural productivity as part of rural development;
• Ensure security of land tenure to encourage investments and make projects more bankable by addressing bottlenecks among four land-titling agencies;
• Strengthen the education system by matching what is taught with what is required by businesses with focus on skills in communication, mathematics and logical thinking;
• Improve the country’s tax system to make it progressive by indexing tax to the inflation rate; and
• Expand and improve the implementation of the conditional cash transfer program, which sends children to school and gives mothers healthcare.
Mr. Duterte has yet to fully reveal the composition of his cabinet.
According to Mr. Dominguez, names of candidates are at present being studied and vetted.