Binay: We need 'Daang Mabilis,' not 'Daang Matuwid'
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay said what the Philippines needs is "Daang Mabilis" (Fast Path), not "Daang Matuwid" (Straight Path) of the Aquino administration.
Speaking before the country's business community at the launch of Go Negosyo's Presidentiables Series Thursday evening, October 8, Binay said that the straight and narrow, but slow road to growth is not enough.
"We need 'daang mabilis (fast path),'" he said.
The opposition standard-bearer has been critical of the administration's platform, citing its lack of inclusiveness in its "inclusive growth" strategy. (READ: VP Binay: Where is inclusive growth?)
Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are key to this, he said, as he outlined how he plans to boost them by increasing the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s (TESDA) budget and putting emphasis on creating a nationwide system of skills training closely aligned with business needs.
To facilitate ease of business, he said he would prioritize streamlining the process of business registration, cutting it to 6 steps and 14 days. This “would improve on" what is the present 16 steps and 34 days.
Earlier this year, the Aquino administration announced its own initiative aimed at trimming the registration length to 6 steps and 8 days.
Binay again also stressed that he would pursue tax reform, specifically lowering corporate income tax from 30% to 25%. (READ: PH tax system turns off foreign investors – Binay)
He added that the working class is over-burdened, emphasizing that the projected P30 billion ($651.8 million) loss in government that lowered income tax would bring is a little less than 1% of the government’s budget for 2016, and lower than the estimated total of the governments’ underspending.
The Vice President also refuted claims that this would lead to lower credit ratings echoing business groups' belief that giving citizens more income would result in more government revenue through increased consumption.
He also promised to create an Information Technology department to ensure high-speed Internet access across the country. (READ: New Internet speed minimum throwback to '90s?)
Continuing certain reforms
The Vice President was not totally critical of the Aquino administration and mentioned that he would continue some its policies.
Chief among these is its anti-corruption campaign, which, he said, “was fairly successful although we'll add some improvements to it.”
Another area he found was the administration's target of spending at least 5% of the gross domestic product (GDP) on infrastructure spending. Binay said that his administration “would make sure to reach that number.”
Finally, he said that he would also keep the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program.
Attracting more foreign investment has been a major feature of his platform so far and Binay again reiterated the need to abolish the “60-40” law limiting foreign ownership.
“It’s a shame that resolution of both houses 1 (RBH 1), which looked to ease the economic restrictions written into the Constitution has not passed. We need more foreign investment and this law is a hindrance to it. We need to be more liberal,” he said in Filipino.
Binay was non-committal when pressed on whether he thought this liberalization should extend to allowing foreign ownership of land, saying only that “the real issue with limited foreign investment is the 60-40 law.
On corruption allegations
The Vice President also faced questions regarding corruption allegations, saying that there was no evidence against him and that it is a matter of perception brought about by politics.
“The Senate is not a court,” he said, although he conceded that perceptions of him may hinder foreign investment should he assume the presidency.
To tackle this, he emphasized that he plans to erase this by creating programs to showcase how good the legal system is and that it is a system that honors contracts above all.
“Through good governance, I will reverse the allegations,” he said.
The Go Negosyo Meet the Presidentiables series is a 3-part initiative designed to get to know each of the 3 current presidential frontrunner’s platforms and future plans for the country.
Binay was the first to be featured in the series which will go on to feature Senator Grace Poe and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas at later dates. – Rappler.com
$1 = P 46.02