A pre-Sona high for the President

Hailed and appreciated before his State of the Nation Address (Sona), President Duterte’s superior showing in recent surveys conducted by both Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations signifies that his administration has touched a lot of Filipino lives in those aspects that mean to them. He earned a net satisfaction score of +66 higher that his score of +63 in March 2017. An impressive 78 percent of about 1,200 respondents throughout the nation are satisfied with his performance, with just 12 percent dissatisfied and 10 percent uncertain. His overwhelming support came from Classes D and E with +66 and +67, respectively. Interestingly, the President garnered an increase of 3-percentage points from Class ABC. On the other hand, Pulse Asia results demonstrated an approval rating of 82 percent for him, and most of the adulation came from the National Capital Region. Overall, a sensational trust rating for the administration, which included Senate President Aquilino L. Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez, with 62 percent and 43 percent, respectively.

What captures the interest of political observers, both here and abroad, is the fact that Duterte had to grapple with very challenging and difficult issues before these survey results were released. The ongoing rebellion in Marawi City, a controversial declaration of martial law and lingering questions about his health have hugged national headlines. Crime and violence didn’t spare Metro Manila, when an assault by a lone gunman on Resorts World Manila resulted in the death of 38 individuals. Meanwhile, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters staged an attack on a military outpost in North Cotabato just on June 22. These events notwithstanding, we have a President truly appreciated and loved by the ordinary Filipino.

This massive support for our Chief-Executive and the political capital that comes with it should be utilized to hasten and fast track the nation’s economic development, despite very worrisome events taking place in the world. Only with a solid economic base can we be sufficiently shielded from the vicissitudes of international politics.

With our stable growth rate at 6.4 percent, there are exciting prospects for investors once government spending for infrastructure and other segments are increased for the remaining months of this year. Already, we see our economic managers extremely focused on rolling out several projects. First, the implementation of the tax-reform law is now being rigorously worked out. The Board of Investments, for its part, expects registered investments worth P290 billion before the end of July, as against its target of P500 billion for the full year. More job generation will result from investment projects that are technology driven, due to the extension of incentives for the importation of capital equipment and spare parts. The National Economic and Development Authority, in coordination with the Department of Finance, is updating the regular foreign investment negative list by allowing 70-percent foreign equity in telecommunications and public utilities. It also plans to lift ownership limitations on education, financial, banking and mass media to attract more players to invest in the country. Furthermore, the Department of Energy is about to launch a new contracting round for petroleum, gas and coal contracts in December 2017. It also seeks to lay the groundwork for the Philippines to be a hub for liquefied natural gas because of our archipelagic advantage. Gladly, we are now hearing the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council  endorsing 13 urgent bills to be passed by Congress, ranging from a proposed increase in the tariff for rice imports to replace the quota system, the security of tenure bill, coconut-levy fund utilization, national transport , budget reform, land use, Anti-Cybercrime Act and Public Service Act, among others.

The bustling, noisy and feverish activities in the government agencies that take care of our economy are very good signs. Leveraging on a strong presidency and an administration that works on a full cooperation mode may just be the answer to addressing the lingering ills of our nation. Definitely, a big surge in confidence levels before the Sona next week. So stay tuned.


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