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100 days into his term, Marcos shares his key achievements as president

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
100 days into his term, Marcos shares his key achievements as president
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. accommodates the Philippine press during his last day of working visit in New York.
Facebook / Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles

MANILA, Philippines — Assembling the "best and the brightest" to serve in his administration and putting up a "functional" government are what President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. considers as his key achievements in his first 100 days in office, which also saw him grapple with challenges like rising oil prices and the lingering effects of the pandemic.

Speaking before officers and members of the Manila Overseas Press Club, Marcos said his administration still enjoys the "unifying force" that was felt during this year's elections, where he won by landslide with 31 million votes.

Marcos, the first majority president since 1986, added that while elections are polarizing, "a very strong majority made itself felt" and that served as a "foundation" of his government.

"I think what we have managed to do in the first 100 days is put together government which is functional and which has a very, very good idea of what we are targeting in terms of strict economic targets, for example, in terms of the numbers of growth, the numbers of the different measures, the different metrics that we are using for the economy," the president said.  

"The promises that were made during the campaign, for example, that we bring the best and brightest and we do not look at color in terms of - political color, I think we have done that. And more importantly, we have galvanized government once again into governing," he added.

Marcos thanked the experts who are now part of his economic team, saying their decision to join the government is a "sacrifice" for them because they are very successful.

"It is really all about service on their part. And so we are always very grateful for their talent. We are grateful for their industry and to have them in place already I think gives us a very distinct advantage as we try to transform our economy for the next few years," he said.

"It is that unity that we bring people together...for a reason and the reason is not ourselves, it’s not our families, but it’s our community, it’s our country, it’s our people. That I think we have returned into government. I think that’s the most important thing."

While Marcos' choice of cabinet members have drawn praises from various sectors, his administration also saw the resignation of three key appointees namely former executive secretary and his former campaign spokesman Victor Rodriguez, former press secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles and former Commission on Audit chairman Jose Calida. Rodriguez has been replaced by former chief justice Lucas Bersamin while the next press secretary and COA chief have yet to be announced.

Impetus

Admitting that he is worried about complacency in the government, Marcos said he is working to unite people in the public service to achieve the goals of his administration.

"The one thing I worry about very, very much is coasting. It goes like this, “This is okay. This will do. You don’t really need to attend to this anymore. It’s going to be alright. You can all go and have a holiday.' That’s what I worry about the most," Marcos said in Filipino.

"I try very hard to put an impetus into government. “Come on , let’s go. We need to do these things. We haven’t very much time...We have very many difficulties. We cannot count on other countries to help us in ways that they used to be able to help us so it is up to us," he added.

Marcos said such an attitude has been adopted in the higher positions in government and is slowly filtering down to the rank and file personnel, whom he claimed are beginning to feel that "there is a point to government."

"That kind of message I think has filtered down to not only the elected officials, not only the high officials in government, but to slowly make the bureaucracy understand, make all our officials understand that... as a government we are here to govern," Marcos said.  

"We have been put here to try our best to pull us out of this terrible crisis that we have just been suffering for the last two years. And I think we have achieved that," he added, referring to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coming out party

Marcos also touted the gains of his first foreign trips , saying it allowed the Philippines to renew its friendship with its allies. The president embarked on state visits in Indonesia and Singapore and on a working visit in the US last month.

"But I think since this is the coming-out party for the world, it’s not just the Philippines that’s coming out of the pandemic. This is the coming-out party for the Philippines and we are able to explain, this is what the Philippines is now. This is what the Philippines looks like after two and a half years of crisis," the Marcos said.  

"This is what the Philippines is doing and this is how we can help each other because not any one country is going to manage this transformation by themselves and we will need each other’s help," he added.

Marcos cited the conflict in Ukraine, which he said has also affected the Philippines.  

"Even in the UN (United Nations), I would talk to the other leaders and I say, 'Who would have thought that the war in Eastern Europe would affect the Philippines halfway around the world in the gut - in the food supply, fertilizer prices, seedling prices, fuel?' All of these things. You never imagine that such a thing would happen but here it is and here we are," Marcos said.

"And so it was very, very important for us to find our place now in the world and to define that place and to explain that to the rest of the world, especially our friends but also those who have not been considered as particularly close partners or allies," he added.

The president reiterated the importance of establishing partnerships with other countries, saying they are necessary in facing uncertainties like food supply issues.

"We have been able to show that the Philippines is standing on its feet. The Philippines...continues to have its aspirations and its dreams and we are willing to do our part in making those dreams come true. And partnerships once again are going to be important and we invite you to join us. So that is one thing we have staked our place in the community of nations. I think that has been very, very important," he said.

Marcos said his administration also spent the first 50 to 60 days "putting out fires," citing its efforts to address sugar supply woes and rising fertilizer prices by looking for non-traditional sources of commodities. He confirmed that the Philippines is considering acquiring fuel and fertilizer from Russia and feed wheat from Ukraine, countries that are now embroiled in an armed conflict.

"All of these things have now become part of the mix that has made really --- has made the world situation more volatile and more complex than it was before," he said.

"We have already made it clear where the Philippines stands in all of this. And it is something that I made clear again to the other leaders and I said that... essentially we are driven by our desire for peace. And all the economic development that we plan and all that we hope to do will come to naught unless there is peace."

Over the weekend, Marcos traveled to Singapore for the second time to watch the Formula 1 Grand Prix, a trip that he claimed was productive since he met new business friends who are ready to invest in the Philippines. The trip did not sit well with critics who claimed that it was unnecessary and insensitive to the plight of Filipinos who are still reeling from the effects of super typhoon "Karding." 

BONGBONG MARCOS

MARCOS 100

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