2023 June 29
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. will mark his first year in office on June 30, 2023, filled with notable achievements in the areas of helping ordinary Filipinos, sustaining economic growth and promoting the country as an investment destination.
“The President did well on Year 1. Keep up the good work, Mr. President,” House Speaker Martin Romualdez said in a statement on Thursday.
Romualdez said Marcos did his best in trying to solve Filipinos’ major concerns such as high commodity prices and lack of housing.
“Shortly after assuming office, he was confronted with spikes in the price of certain commodities like onions, which were selling for as much as PHP800 a kilo, and the basic staple rice,” he said.
He noted that the Marcos administration, through a combination of measures and the help of Congress, was able to reduce and stabilize the price of onions and rice.
Romualdez particularly cited the President’s move to revive his father’s grassroots Kadiwa stores to buy farmers’ produce and sell agricultural products at low prices.
“He has a genuine concern, compassion and empathy for the poor,” Romualdez said.
In the area of housing, Romualdez said Marcos also had to draw from the experience of the administration of his father, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr., by resuscitating housing programs like Bagong Lipunan Improvement of Sites and Services (BLISS).
BLISS was a project of President Marcos’ mother, former minister of human settlements and former first lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos.
The President also launched Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino and ordered the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development to construct medium-rise and high-rise condominiums for the poor and government personnel, including soldiers and policemen.
In the economic aspect, Romualdez said the “impressive growth” during the President’s first six months in office was the result of his decision to reopen the economy despite the lingering threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The economy grew by 7.6 percent and 7.2 percent in the third and fourth quarters of 2022, and 6.4 percent in the first quarter of this year. Those growth periods were the first nine months of the Marcos administration. I sincerely hope we could sustain it,” he said.
He added that multilateral financial institutions took note of the country’s economic expansion, which prompted the World Bank to upgrade its 2023 forecast from 5.4-5.6 percent to 6 percent.
He also highlighted that Marcos actively promoted the country as an investment destination in his several trips abroad, while forging closer diplomatic, economic and cultural relations with the countries he visited, including the United States.
“He has cultivated our ties with our old, reliable ally and partner, the US, and renewed bilateral discussions with China to uphold our interests in the West Philippine Sea and our exclusive economic zone,” he said.
Romualdez said Marcos remains “immensely popular” because of his remarkable accomplishments and his genuine concern for the poor and national interest.
He was referring to the March survey of Pulse Asia showing that 78 percent of respondents approved of the President’s performance, with 80 percent saying they trusted the Chief Executive.
Publicus Asia’s second-quarter survey showed the President’s approval rating rose to 62 percent from 60 percent in the first quarter. Some 68 percent of respondents in the same survey said the country was on the right track.
In another poll taken by OCTA Research Group in the first quarter, 54 percent said they expected their quality of life to improve, up from 51 percent from the previous survey; while 50 percent, from 46 percent earlier, stated that the economy would get better.
“Above par” rating in first year as President
Camarines Sur Representative Luis Raymund Villafuerte, meanwhile, cited Marcos for his “above-par” performance in his first year in office, having made “notable breakthroughs” in his uppermost goal to deliver jobs and better lives to Filipinos.
Villafuerte also lauded the President for attracting more investments and putting the economy back on its “pre-pandemic path of high and inclusive growth.”
“President Marcos has performed above par as Chief Executive, with his first year in office distinguished by notable breakthroughs in his overriding promise of more jobs and better lives for our people via an economy that is not only strong and resilient but also inclusive and sustainable,” he said.
“It has been a short learning curve for Mr. Marcos, as his Administration has managed to accomplish better-than-expected initial results in the President’s 2022 “Bangon Bayan Muli” campaign pledge to uplift the lives of all Filipinos,” he added.
Villafuerte said the “rosy indicators this early” on the watch of the Marcos administration underscores that the government is “on track” toward achieving the President’s vision for a “prosperous, inclusive and resilient Philippines” although a lot more should be done over the next five years to fully realize its social and economic transformation agenda.
With 12 months in, he said the current administration has “reported a higher employment rate; generated local and foreign direct investments (FDIs) and pushed business-friendlier reforms that create even more jobs and restored the economy to its pre-pandemic high-and-inclusive-growth trajectory.”
The government also accelerated programs to attack poverty and provide economic relief to disadvantaged sectors such as the jobless, low-income families, farmers and the homeless; and shepherded Filipinos to the digital world and the post-pandemic ‘new normal, he noted.
“Mr. Marcos’ pro-poor and pro-growth initiatives have won broad and deep support from our people and the business community,” he said, referring to the latest opinion polls pointing to the President’s high approval ratings along with public optimism that the country and the economy will be better in the year ahead.
Filane Mikee Cervantes (PNA)