MANILA, Philippines – The year 2016 is crucial for the country’s development, thus choosing the right leaders are a must to sustain the current economic gains.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad made the statement at the EJAP-ING forum, “The Philippines’ Transformation Story: Sustaining the Gains,” held Wednesday, June 3.
Abad said that the private sector is engine that drives economic growth, but the role of government in providing leadership to facilitate that remains critical.
Abad, who served as campaign manager of the ruling Liberal Party in the 2010 presidential elections, said that the LP is pushing for Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II.
“Right now, as many are aware, LP is pushing the candidacy of Secretary Mar Roxas. We believe that he has the integrity, experience, and competence to lead this country,” he said.
Pressed if Roxas will in fact be the administration standard bearer, Abad said, “Certainly Mar Roxas has those qualities [of a presidential candidate], the basic question being asked of him is, ‘Can he win?’ That’s always been the question.”
Abad, who served as LP president for 6 years, reiterated that the “character” of the next administration will play a key role in continuing the development trajectory that the Philippines is currently heading to.
“The state can be disruptive in both positive and negative ways, and force us to backslide from all these reforms,” he explained.
Abad explained that among international benchmarks where the Philippines has fared well, the area of public institutions in the World Economic Forum survey is the most significant to him.
“If there’s one indication there of how the country is improving, it’s in the area of public institutions, we jumped about 58 places, and that’s why the character will be so important,” Abad said.
Institutions are the hardest to reform, as it takes time to cultivate public trust and you cannot simply build them like you would infrastructure, he added.
“The problem about the political institutions in this country is that we’ve not been able to make our political exercises predictable,” Abad said.
He explained this by comparing the Philippine and US political systems. In the United States, where there are only two parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, “you can more or less predict what policies will come out.” – Rappler.com