MANILA, Philippines – Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. shrugged off polls and observations from the economic sector that investors were more confident in the Philippines if Vice President Leni Robredo wins the presidency.
In a latest Bloomberg poll, Robredo rated the highest at 106 among Philippine investors and analysts while Marcos placed fourth at 46, and Senator Manny Pacquiao placed fifth at 44. Economists were asked who they think was best to lead an economic rebound for the Philippines amid the impacts of the pandemic.
“Well, we’ll just have to prove them wrong if we get the opportunity and we will,” said Marcos in an interview with One PH aired Monday, March 21.
Albay Second District Representative Joey Salceda, an Arroyo-allied economist, endorsed Robredo as his choice of president even though former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is backing Marcos. Salceda said his pick for vice president was Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, Marcos’ running mate.
In an earlier statement, Salceda said it was because Robredo and Duterte “both inspire investors confidence,” citing feedback from bankers and foreign investors he had interacted with.
Marcos asked: what’s the wariness with my name?
Marcos’ father, the late deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos, plunged the country to debt during his 20-year rule. From 1977 to 1982, the country’s total external debt under the dictator Marcos grew from $8.2 billion in 1977 to $24.4 billion, according to data from the World Bank. In 1985, before Marcos was ousted, two in every five Filipinos were poor, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
“Kahit na sinong pangulo na uupo, will have to earn that tiwala, [we] will have to earn that trust so any new administration will have to earn that trust. It doesn’t matter who is sitting kailangan papakita nila na kaya sila pagtiwalaan and that trade is trade,” said Marcos.
(Whoever becomes president will have to earn that trust, so any new administration will have to earn that trust. It doesn’t matter who is sitting, they need to show they deserve the trust and that trade is trade.)
Robredo was earlier endorsed by 160 Filipino economists, including former chiefs of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) who served in the previous and current administrations.
Use tax to subsidize oil?
As oil prices skyrocket, Marcos changed his stance, from favoring the suspension of excise tax on oil, to agreeing with the Duterte administration that doing so would cost the government more than P100 billion in profits per year.
Marcos suggested to just use the taxes to subsidize oil for Filipinos.
“Bakit ’di natin gawin ang ginagawa ng ibang bansa na imbes na tigilan ang pagkolekta ng buwis, gamitin natin yung buwis para magbigay ng subsidy,” Marcos said.
(Why don’t we do what other countries are doing that instead of stop collecting taxes, use those taxes instead to give subsidy.)
Presidential candidates have called out Marcos to pay his family’s estate tax debt, worth P23 billion in 1997 when the Supreme Court ordered it, and which might have already reached P203 billion now if you account surcharge, interest and penalty.
Marcos’ opponents said the billions he would pay would ease the burden on Filipinos complaining of rising prices of fuel. The son of the dictator has dodged the issue, refusing interviews about it.
Marcos’ tax cases, including a criminal conviction from 1997 for failure to file his own tax return, prompted Bloomberg analyst Alex Holmes, Asia economist at Capital Economics Ltd., to say: “If [Marcos] is elected, it would only reinforce our view that the economy will continue to underperform over the coming years.”
“Even sa geopolitics, kung talagang ’di kayo magkasundo, eh kahit naman sinong pangalan, kahit kakampi mo mahal mo eh hindi kayo nagkasundo, eh hindi pa rin kayo magkakasundo…they will depend upon your performance,” said Marcos.
(Even in geopolitics, if you don’t get along, no matter what your name is, even if you are allies, if you did not agree, then you did not agree. They will depend upon your performance.)