Poe eyes more free trade pacts


SENATOR Grace Poe will push for the signing of free trade agreements with other countries if she becomes President.

Poe, who is running as an independent candidate, on Wednesday said her strategy will be “to sell to the world” instead of focusing on the domestic market.

Noting that the country cannot win the war against poverty without enlarging the economic pie, the Philippines, according to the senator, should follow the lead of its progressive neighbors in Asia and sign more bilateral free trade agreements with other countries.

In her speech delivered before the Makati Business Club, Poe cited the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector and the shipbuilding industry that continue to flourish because these were not bound by ownership restrictions, benefited from low taxes and were not harassed by the government.

The sector and the industry, she said, were also allowed to freely import equipment and employ foreign staff who could help in their operations.

“I say, why not replicate this template across a broader range of industries, perhaps starting with those that are labor intensive or needing in expertise that we do not have?” Poe pointed out.

To enlarge the economic pie, the senator said firms should be allowed to build scale, improve efficiency and collectively employ millions of unskilled surplus labor from the agricultural sector.

She noted the need to improve the confidence of foreign investors in dealing with the Philippine government by showing that the rule of law exists, and that the rules will not be
changed midstream or with each passing administration.

“They [investors]should have confidence that the contracts into which they enter will be respected by the courts and that disputes will be settled speedily and solely in accordance with the law, not on the basis of who has access to Malacañang,” Poe said.

Tax rates, she added, should not be determined by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in its drive to meet collection targets, but by economic planners based on what is needed by the country to be more competitive.

The senator also noted that the corporate income tax rate in Indonesia is 25 percent; 22 percent in Vietnam; and 20 percent in Thailand.

In the Philippines, it is 30 percent, she said.

“In a globalized world where capital seeks the most favorable terms, we must accept that we are a price taker. As such, government has got no choice but to set tax rates in line with our peers, collect properly and do what it has to do to attract the new taxpayers that we need for us to pay for our growing bills,” Poe explained.

She vowed that her administration will be “very straightforward” and those who do not meet their targets will be asked to stand down, whether they be friends, classmates, political allies or even running mates.

When asked if she is open to constitutional change, Poe said she believes that the Constitution “is a living and breathing document” but changes should be done at the beginning of the term of a President.

“I am for certain amendments in our economic provisions. But I think that we should also safeguard certain things in our Constitution, like our Bill of Rights, as well as term limits,” she replied.

If she wins, Poe said, she will appoint her running mate, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, to the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

The businessmen found Poe’s business programs impressive, saying they could fuel growth if correctly implemented.

MBC Chairman Ramon Del Rosario said Poe’s policies were “sound and well thought out.”

“I think she outlined a very business-friendly program of government, in fact many of the themes she brought out are themes that are very popular with the business community,” Del Rosario added.

“If she can really get these ideas implemented, then of course that is the real measure of success and that what will make people really happy,” he said.


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  1. How much Grace Poe knows about investments? I don’t think she knows that much on this particular subject. What about inviting investors to invest confidentially in the country? She doesn’t have clues or doesn’t know the processes from the beginning.
    I would like to turn the table around and ask Grace Poe, if she’s an investor, what are her requirements to confidentially invest in the Philippines?

    If I invest in a certain country, I would be looking for government stability because that is one of many ways to see that my investment is protected. Secondly, I would be looking on government guidelines and regulations that pertains to my business. An example mentioned above was manufacturing. I would be looking for government regulations, like the processes of disposing manufacturing waste, by not hurting the environment as prescribed by the government.

    This is not the first time Grace Poe promised something to the voters, a promised that cannot be achieved politically. Heck, she promised to a certain town in Ilocos Sur to build them an International Airport so they can improve their tourism business. She thinks she is more impressive by talking investors and businesses, but her political platforms are lacking substances and do not make senses.

  2. Its very interesting to hear this promises if not broken. To concentrate in domestic crisis mostly unskillful and poverty the majority of making a trouble. Hopefully on the future life will change.

  3. Amnata Pundit on

    Kung magsalita itong babaeng ito akala mo nai-intindihan niya ang lahat ng implications ng mga policies na tinutulak niya. Tutang-tuta ng Kano talaga itong Cory the 2nd na ito. Sigurado ako ang nagsusulat ng mga speesches niya na ganito taga U.S. embassy.

  4. He, he. Free Trade, my foot. Does Grace P. Llamanzares know what she is talking about? Just what will the other countries trade from the Philippines when this country is now a consumer country, not a manufacturing and producing one? She should take a look at what is happening to our exports which continue to drop every year for being neglected. For sure, Grace have advisers who are feeding her with scenarios for her to talk about so she will not sound like a she does not sound like PNoy but she should also think a little bit before she opens her mouth and sound like a fool. He, he. Grace sounds so funny talking about a subject she really is not well versed to talk about.

  5. Vicente Carino on

    Ownership on domestic corporations and landed properties i believe can go beyond 50% but there must still be a limitation and those will be determined by the bicameral Congress and must be ratified by the Filipinos as early as possible upon GRACE assumptiont to the Presidency.

  6. Tama ang plano na ito ni Grace Poe, sa ngayon na hirap ang ating bansa kung lilimitahan natin ang ating produkto sa ating bansa lamang ay hindi natin ito ikauunlad dahil kulang ang mamimili sa dami ng ating mga supply kaya kailangan natin ang tulong ng mga ibang bansa para kunin o tanggapin ang ating mga produkto. dapat ay iaalok natin ang taing bansa sa mga produkto at serbisyo na kaya nating maibigay sa kanila, at kung masimulan at magtuloy tuloy ito, magiging maganda ang epekto sa bansa dahil mas magkakaroon tayo ng mas maraming pera na papasok sa bansa na makaktulong sa pagsasaayos at pagpapalago ng bansa.

  7. Mas okay ang plano ni Sen Grace Poe kung mas madami magiinvest saten lalo na kung mga malalaking negosyante mas malaki ang tendency na marami magkakaroon ng trabaho saten at isa pa marami papasok na pera sa ating bansa. Kaya agree ako sa kanya.

  8. Natalia Salvacion on

    Tama ang ipinunto dito ni Senator POE

    “I say, why not replicate this template across a broader range of industries, perhaps starting with those that are labor intensive or needing in expertise that we do not have?” – Poe

    HIndi naman masama kung iyan ang magiging paraan para mas gumanda ang ekonomiya ng bansa. mas magandang ekonomiya, mas maraming pilipino ang mabibigyan ng magandang kinabukasan.