MANILA, Philippines - Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima is drumming up support for the Aquino administration’s so-called Aquinomics, saying that this would significantly improve economic growth.
“In the simplest form, it’s about generating growth through good governance,” Purisima told The STAR.
Purisima said that while some sectors have been criticizing the government for not having projects that would spur economic growth, the Aquino administration has set the environment that has put the Philippines back on the radar screen of investors.
“Aquinomics is about confidence,” he said.
He said that the administration has laid the groundwork so that confidence would improve and investments would come in.
Purisima said that unlike in previous administrations, the Aquino administration can boast of “honest, transparent and accountable leadership.”
Furthermore, he said that the government would continue to improve the business climate, level the playing field, put in place predictable rules and implement a strong anti-corruption drive.
The government, Purisima said, has been doing this. “We are now starting to ignite private sector interest,” he said.
He also said that there is now more fiscal space because of the administration’s anti-corruption drive.
Every week, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) alternates in filing before the Department of Justice (DOJ) cases against smugglers and tax evaders.
He also asked the public to be more patient with the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) for infrastructure, saying that there will be some delays. “We are studying this very carefully. We don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past,” Purisima said.
On the list of PPP projects are the contracts for the operation and maintenance contract for Metro Rail Transit 3 and Light Rail Transit 1.
According to the Department of Transportation and Communications, the O&M runs for four years and will cover the 37.16-kilometer long rail mass transit system, which runs from Monument in Caloocan to Taft Avenue in Pasay.
The PPP, considered as the Aquino administration’s centerpiece economic program, aims to tap private sector participation in 80 large-scale infrastructure projects worth P740 billion that will be undertaken from 2011 and beyond.
Under the PPP scheme, the government would be tapping the help of the private sector to fund the different projects.
Aside from the O&M contract of the MRT-3 and LRT-1, the five initial projects under the PPP program are the P1.6-billion Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Link Road Project; the P10.59-billion Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Expressway Phase II Project; and the ambitious P21-billion North Luzon Expressway-SLEX Connector Project.
However, Purisima said that because of time constraints and administrative problems, there may be changes in the composition of the 10 projects.
Former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, for his part, has said that the Aquino administration has been too busy running after the wrongdoings of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration and that there has been no significant project implemented yet.