Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

News

Hurdles ahead as Marcos begins six-year presidency

BONGBONG MARCOS FB PAGE

Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., starts his six-year term as Philippines president on Thursday facing a host of challenges, from rising inflation and pandemic recovery to balancing relations between competing superpowers the United States and China. 

The 64-year-old, who is allowed only one term in the top job, has yet to fill all cabinet posts, but he has so far nominated experienced technocrats to handle the economy, helping to ease some market fears about his presidency and policy inexperience. 

WHAT ARE THE IMMEDIATE PRIORITIES? 

Mr. Marcos is inheriting an economy that is on a solid footing after bouncing back from the worst of the pandemic, but he will be under pressure to sustain that recovery while battling soaring inflation. Taming it will be his top priority. 

Having promised during the campaign to halve the cost of rice, the national staple, Mr. Marcos has appointed himself agriculture minister, citing the urgent need to boost farm production to strengthen food security and also keep food prices under control. 

Rising inflation driven by higher food and fuel costs, has prompted the Philippines to join global peers in starting to dial back policy stimulus. The new central bank governor Felipe M. Medalla has signaled the prospect of a series of gradual interest rate hikes to combat runaway inflation. 

WHAT ABOUT LONGER-TERM PROJECTS? 

Weak infrastructure has long been an impediment to attracting foreign investment in the Philippines and upgrades to ports, roads, rail, air terminals, power transmission and utilities are long overdue. 

The Marcos team has said it was open to tapping private funds for the infrastructure and would continue his predecessor’s pandemic-delayed “build, build, build” program. Advancing this would help Mr. Marcos show tangible results, while creating jobs and foreign investor interest. 

However, to avoid constraints on funding, Mr. Marcos and his economic team will also need to control government debt that had ballooned to 60.5% of gross domestic product at the end of 2021, the highest ratio in 16 years, from 39.6% before the pandemic.

His finance minister, Benjamin E. Diokno, said he prefers to focus on improving tax administration and collection, including reducing corruption, than raising taxes, to boost revenues. 

WHAT APPROACH WILL MARCOS TAKE ON MINING? 

Mr. Marcos faces a difficult task of balancing the economic benefits of exploiting the Philippines’ vast untapped mineral resources with protection of its stunning but fragile natural environment. 

Mining accounts for just 1% of the economic output of the Philippines and only an estimated 5% of its minerals have been extracted so far. A third of its land mass is deemed by experts to have high mineral potential. 

Mr. Marcos has said he would push for “clean mining” and wants to see some value added to mineral exports by selling processed materials instead of just ores. The Philippines is China’s biggest supplier of mostly low-grade nickel ore. 

WHICH DIRECTION WILL HIS FOREIGN POLICY GO? 

While Mr. Marcos is widely perceived to be friendly to China, political observers believe his approach will differ from that of predecessor Rodrigo Duterte, who enthusiastically courted Beijing — with little in return — while threatening to downgrade ties with former colonial ruler, the United States. 

Mr. Marcos said during the campaign he would have to “walk a very, very fine line” between Beijing and defense treaty ally Washington. While he has expressed intent to elevate ties with China, he has also vowed to stand firm against any threat it poses to Philippine sovereign interests. 

“Marcos realized there’s a lot of public skepticism after years of Duterte’s fruitless flirtations with China,” said Richard Heydarian, an author and academic who specializes in politics and foreign relations. 

Maintaining the country’s alliance with the United States, Mr. Heydarian said, will be essential in keeping the military and the public onside in a country with historically strong links to the United States. — Karen Lema and Enrico Dela Cruz/Reuters

Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

Latest

News

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS WASHINGTON D.C. — The United States is seeking to form a coalition of countries to drive negotiations on a global...

News

Buildings are seen along EDSA in Quezon City. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MIGUEL DE GUZMAN By Diego Gabriel C. Robles  THE WORLD BANK (WB) upgraded...

News

Heavy traffic is seen on the southbound lane of EDSA in Cubao, Quezon City. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MIGUEL DE GUZMAN THE PHILIPPINE auto industry’s...

News

REUTERS THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) may deliver a second off-cycle rate hike in early November when the US Federal Reserve is expected...

News

Vendors arrange their goods at a public market in Manila. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ RUSSEL A. PALMA THE ASIAN Development Bank (ADB) is planning to...

Editor’s Pick

With the reversal of the 1.25% rise in National Insurance Contributions happening on the 6th of November, employers across the nation have an opportunity...

You May Also Like

News

BW FILE PHOTO GROSS BORROWINGS by the National Government reached P2.6 trillion as of end-September as it continued to raise funds to respond to...

News

KARASOLAR.COM TENA, Ecuador — Ecuador’s rainforest Achuar people say their ancestors long dreamed of a “fire canoe” or “electric fish” that would let them...

News

REUTERS By Luz Wendy T. Noble, Reporter The country’s foreign exchange buffers slightly increased as of end-October as the value of the central bank’s...

News

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the mental health of Filipinos across different groups all over the archipelago. From frontline workers, parents balancing...

Disclaimer: Respect Investment.com, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2022 Respect Investment. All Rights Reserved.