Business groups on Rody’s first 50 days: So far, so good
(The Philippine Star) - August 22, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The country is now more than halfway through the Duterte administration’s first 100 days and the business community so far likes what it is seeing.

Business groups polled by The STAR have given the President and his team a passing grade for their initial 50 days in office, except for some concerns raised regarding their observance of due process.

“So far so good for the Duterte administration. I will give a grade of eight with 10 as the highest,” Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) president Perry Pe said.

“We like what we see. Hopefully he will stay the course,” Employers Confederation of the Philippines president Donald Dee said.

For Pe, among the things his group liked the most are the focus on infrastructure spending, bold moves toward foreign direct investment and ease of doing business, move to get federalism and tax reform going, as well as peace initiatives with militant groups, and campaign against criminality.

“However, we want a little more ASEAN initiative (and also) more government compassion with regard to the name and shame campaign, and more recognition of at least the procedural due process aspect,” Pe said.

As one of the largest and most influential business groups in the country, the MAP earlier submitted its wish list for the Duterte administration in its first 100 days in office.

The wish list included short-term, medium-term, and long-term solutions to Metro Manila’s traffic and transportation problems; simplification of the tax system; and speeding up of infrastructure development.

The Makati Business Club, meanwhile, declined to give its assessment of the current administration’s first 50-day performance yet, saying the period is still too short.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), for its part, lauded the Duterte administration for its efforts during its first 50 days in fulfilling its promise to eradicate the drug trade throughout the country.

In a statement over the weekend, PCCI president George Barcelon said the peace and order situation as perceived by the citizenry added optimism and confidence for the business community to expand their operations.

Barcelon cited the on-time submission of the first Duterte budget to Congress and the issuance of an executive order on Freedom of Information as early indications of the new administration’s commitment to stability and predictability of business policies.

“The government budget signaled what the business community could expect as opportunities given the government’s advocacies for tax reform and for construction of more quality infrastructures,” Barcelon said.

“These indicators would guide businessmen in making decisions for trade and investments projects that create more jobs, raise incomes and spread the benefits of economic growth to as many Filipinos as possible,” he added.

The foreign business community shared the same positive sentiments as their local counterparts.

European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) president Guenter Taus said his group is pleased to see that the President’s economic team acted way ahead of the inauguration of Duterte with a 10-point economic agenda agreed upon in Davao.

“Reflecting back upon the first 50 days of the new government, we can see that the administration is willing and working with the various chambers, and hard in creating change,” Taus said.

“We are happy with the way the budget is being prepared with appropriations in those sectors that will drive investments and employment, infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and tourism,” ECCP senior advocacy adviser Henry Schumacher added.

Compared to the previous administration, Schumacher said ECCP is convinced that public-private partnership projects will be implemented without delay under the current government leaders.

“However, still much to be done, such as in traffic and public transportation. But we have to be fair and simply give government more time in order to fulfill their many difficult tasks. The ECCP is in close touch with the administration in supporting them wherever and whenever they need business to come and work hand in hand with government to expedite change,” Taus said.

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