Philippines needs new policies to fix old problems

·2 min read
The first Cabinet meeting under the administration of Ferdinand
The first Cabinet meeting under the administration of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. on July 5, 2022 in Malacañang Palace, Philippines. (Source: Screenshot from RTVMalacañang/Youtube)

If the recently inaugurated administration led by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wants to fix the Philippines’ old problems, they should implement new policies, according to an independent think tank group.

The newly seated government executives should introduce new plans and strategies to fix “old” economic problems that worsened during the Duterte administration, according to IBON Foundation.

“Instead of following the obsolete 'free market' globalization footsteps of the outgoing government, this next administration should adopt economic development policies of effective state intervention and protection to really help the economy and Filipino people recover and flourish,” IBON said.

The think tank warned that unreformed policies will lead the country to a continued trend of economic decline, adding that the last administration’s policies have left the Philippine economy “in shambles.”

IBON argued that despite its presentation of achievements in their exit reports, the Duterte administration fell short of providing substantial social services amid the pandemic due to its adherence to “narrow-minded big business-friendly policies,” leaving the population and the newly installed administration with “loads of socioeconomic issues.”

In their report last June, IBON detailed how the Philippines fared in its economic performance during the pandemic in contrast to its neighboring countries. In their report, the Philippines ranked 8th out of 11 in economic recovery based on gross domestic product (GDP) after the outset of the pandemic. Additional figures from IBON showed the declining share of the agriculture sector in the economy and the struggling composition of the country’s workforce.

IBON expects the Marcos administration to follow most of Duterte’s policies and programs, claiming that Marcos has no original ideas in solving the country’s issues and has rejected suggestions and proposals of several government officials that may benefit Filipinos.

Other organizations have also urged the Marcos administration to implement policies that push for broad socioeconomic inclusion and economic recovery. Last June 29, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) submitted recommendations to the Marcos administration, highlighting policies targeting issues in health, nutrition, education, and agriculture, among others.

The Marcos administration has started its term amid record high inflation rates and waves of price hikes in commodities. “The Marcos government’s real priorities will be seen by how it handles urgent issues plaguing the country – a slowing economy, worsening joblessness, informality and poverty, and low wages and incomes amid soaring prices for oil and basic goods and services, among others,” IBON concluded.

Basti Evangelista is a news and opinion writer who focuses on Philippine national politics and sectoral issues. His personal advocacy includes press freedom and social justice.

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