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MANILA, Philippines – Calling the push by some groups for President Benigno Aquino III’s resignation divisive and disruptive, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) said the Chief Executive should be allowed to finish his term.
The business group said Aquino should use the remaining period of his term to deliver on his economic promises, such as higher foreign direct investments (FDIs) and more infrastructure under the public-private partnership (PPP) program.
“MAP is for peace and unity. Any call for the President to resign is judgmental, not unifying, and disruptive. We should let the President finish his term [for continuity],” MAP president Francisco Del Rosario Jr. said on Tuesday, February 24.
MAP is instead hoping for a peaceful transition into the next administration in 2016, pushing an action plan for Aquino’s successor.
The action plan, which the group aims to draft by end-2015 after a series of consultations with other business groups, would address 5 critical issues: FDIs, justice system, infrastructure/traffic, Mindanao peace and development, and inclusive growth and job creation.
FDIs must be increased, Del Rosario said, as a lot of investments coming in are portfolio investments. To achieve this, the government should consider lifting the limits set by the Constitution on foreign ownership of businesses.
The courts should also be consistent in cases involving economic or business matters.
Del Rosario also noted the need to make the Philippines competitive in terms of its investment incentives as well as in power and labor costs.
MAP is also optimistic the Aquino administration would be able to roll out and bid more PPP projects before mid-2016.
“We need more infrastructure because this is important. The Philippines is spending only 2.2% of gross national product (GNP) on infrastructure when other countries are spending 5% of GNP,” Del Rosario pointed out.
On Tuesday, MAP also launched the Educated Marginalized Entrepreneurs Resource Generation or EMERGE program. It seeks to tap both active and retired leaders of Philippine business, civil society, academe, and government who are willing to provide free expert assistance in business management.
EMERGE will assist the entrepreneurial poor, specifically high school graduates with technical or vocational training or exposure; retired government employees; families of uniformed services; and returning overseas Filipino workers who would like to go into projects or businesses which have big potential for growth and job generation.
The proposed projects or businesses should be in sectors that have high potential for job generation, such as agribusiness, tourism, infrastructure, business process outsourcing, and food and beverage. The program targets 100 participants or 10 projects a year.
MAP has set up an EMERGE Fund from donations, collecting an initial amount of P30 million ($680,565.27). – Rappler.com
US$1 = P44.08