Top economists in Philippines back Robredo for president

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NAGA, LUZON, PHILIPPINES - FEBRUARY 08: Philippines vice president Leni Robredo speaks to her supporters as she kicks off her campaign for presidential candidacy, on February 8, 2022 in Naga, Luzon, Philippines. Thousands of Filipinos from Bicol, Leni Robredo's home province, showed support as she promises good governance and a government free from corruption. Robredo is running against the son and namesake of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos that was accused and charged of amassing billions of dollars of ill-gotten wealth as he assumed the country's top post under martial rule. Robredo's candidacy was endorsed by more than 160 of the country's top economists.   (Photo by Jes Aznar/Getty Images)
Philippines vice president Leni Robredo speaks to her supporters as she kicks off her campaign for presidential candidacy, on February 8, 2022 in Naga, Luzon, Philippines. Thousands of Filipinos from Bicol, Leni Robredo's home province, showed support as she promises good governance and a government free from corruption. Robredo's candidacy was endorsed by more than 160 of the country's top economists. (Photo: Jes Aznar/Getty Images)

By Cecilia Yap

At least 160 economists, including former chiefs of the government’s economic planning agency and an ex-central banker, endorsed the candidacy of Vice President Leni Robredo.

“At this time when our country is struggling to recover from its deepest economic crisis since the 1980s, we believe that government’s role has never been more indispensable,” the group called the Economists for Leni said in a statement. Economic recovery merits priority in the agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte’s successor, it said.

Five former chiefs of the National Economic Development Authority who served under five presidents, including Ernesto Pernia who was part of Duterte’s cabinet, signed the endorsement. Ex-central bank deputy governor Diwa Guinigundo was also a signatory.

Robredo, a lawyer and an economist before becoming a legislator in 2013, has the “solid” background necessary for crafting policies to accelerate economic recovery and “has a proven track record of hands-on leadership and good governance,” the economists said, citing her pandemic programs and recovery plan.

“The country urgently needs a better pandemic response, one that is sound, prompt, informed by science, and evidence-based,” the group said. “Bad governance is a poison that kills both lives and livelihoods. The pandemic made that clear. Robredo’s brand of good governance is the antidote this country needs in order to build back better.”

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the son of the late dictator, has a huge lead in the presidential race three months before the May 9 elections, with Robredo a distant second, according to surveys.

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