Businessmen’s SONA ‘wishes’


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As President Aquino delivers his 5th SONA on July 28, businessmen say their top 3 wishes are improved competitiveness, increased foreign direct investments, and more jobs

MANILA, Philippines – Business groups have a “wish list” for the 5th State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Aquino III on Monday, July 28.

They want the President to discuss how he plans to improve competitiveness, increase foreign direct investment, and generate more jobs in the last years of his term.

Sergio Ortiz-Luis, president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, urged Aquino to focus on those issues and use the remaining two years to fast-track reforms, particularly in infrastructure.

Edgardo Lacson, president of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, said they want stable power supply at competitive cost; accelerated infrastructure; food security; peaceful resolution of the territorial dispute with China; unifying statement that will restore the respect to the 3 co-equal branches of government; sustainable inclusive growth via job creation to address poverty problem; sustained gross domestic product (GDP) growth up to 2016; increased FDI inflows through enlightened and stable policies and; total and lasting peace in Mindanao and a final solution to the insurgency problem caused by the New People’s Army.

Peter Perfecto, executive director of the Makati Business Club (MBC), said the group hopes Aquino would keep his promise of good governance and integrity; focus on inclusive growth, infrastructure development, energy security and foreign investments; and curb smuggling.

He said the MBC believes that it would be best for the President to declare the Freedom of Information bill as an urgent measure. He added Aquino should issue an executive order in support of the Integrity Initiative, an undertaking of MBC and other business groups promoting good corporate governance and business transparency.

Greg Navarro, president of the Management Association of the Philippines, said Aquino should prioritize liberalization of foreign investments; acceleration of infrastructure projects, new energy plants, and investments in agriculture where majority earn their livelihood; customs modernization; fiscal incentives rationalization; and crafting of manufacturing and other industry roadmaps.

Jesus Arranza, chair of the Federation of Philippine Industries, said that the President should concentrate on manufacturing and encourage consumption of locally made goods rather than imported ones.

Jose “Joey” Concepcion III, Go Negosyo founder and CEO and president of RFM Corporation, hopes that the President would address problems in “hard” infrastructure, including public-private partnership projects. He said port congestion should also be dealt with immediately because if not, the next 6 months would be difficult for exporting and importing businesses.

Jaime Alip, founder and managing director of the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Mutually Reinforcing Institution, said the President should promote the agricultural secto, small and medium enterprises, and microfinance for poverty alleviation.

Tennyson Chen, founder and president and chairman of Bounty Agro Ventures, said the President should provide measures to protect agriculture by 2015 in light of the Association of Southeast Asian integration. – with reports from Mick Basa/Rappler.com





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Businessman image from ShutterStock

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