Private sector representatives on Wednesday presented five recommendations deemed ripe for quick action by the Duterte administration.
Delegates to the “Sulong Pilipinas 2017” workshop trimmed a list of suggestions that included strategies for procurement, a national ID system, tax reform, and social programs, choosing instead to focus on the following:
• identifying competitive advantages versus other Southeast Asian countries and rallying both the government and private sector to drive growth and competitiveness;
• improving the ease of doing business through the convergence of different agencies and also local governments;
• completing the C-6 from Skyway-FTI in Taguig City to the Batasan Complex in Quezon City to ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila;
• allowing new players in the telecommunications industry; and
• improving agricultural support infrastructure and services such as farm to market roads, cold storage and irrigation to facilitate the distribution of agricultural goods and increase farmer incomes.
“This is how public-private partnership really works. The government side delivers the medium, and the private sector the content. It is a productive symbiosis,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said in a press conference.
Highlighting the recommendation to improve telecommunications services, Dominguez said Congress would need to get involved.
“Primary, I believe to improve services and to lower the cost and I think [Information and Communications Technology] Secretary [Rodolfo] Salalima is looking at various ways of achieving those goals and one of them certainly is to bring in other service providers in the telecoms industry. Whether or not the legislation will pass, is really up to the both houses of legislature,” he said.
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President George Barcelon said issues such as right of way and geography should be considered.
“Here, the companies … have to invest [in]transmitter station[s]all over. It’s quite expensive if you consider the right of way. And I would like to think that is really something we should look into especially since we are archipelagic we’re spread all over,” he said.
Dominguez, meanwhile, recalled that 10 actionable issues were raised last year and claimed that the Duterte administration had substantially with most.
He said significant progress was made on the socioeconomic reform agenda crafted during the first workshop, held before the Duterte administration took office, particularly in growing a robust middle class, putting more money in the pockets of wage earners and making the Philippines more attractive to investors.
Dominguez noted that proposed reforms had resulted in the comprehensive tax reforms being considered by Congress, which he said are “direly” needed to support the government’s infrastructure ambitions and make the economy globally competitive.
“The reform package seeks to bring down corporate and personal tax rates closer to the regional average. This will help us build a strong middle class, encourage investments into our economy and put more disposable income in the pockets of wage earners,” he said.