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MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., in his own words, managed to “put together a government which is functional” and that focused on the economy in his first 100 days.
Marcos, the country’s first majority-elected president in the post-People Power Revolution era, made the statement Wednesday, October 5, during a quick Q&A on the sidelines of a gathering of the Manila Overseas Press Association.
The President, son and namesake of the dictator who was ousted in the 1986 revolution, was asked to assess his first 100 days in office.
Putting the Philippine economy back on track after years of COVID-19 lockdowns has been the Marcos administration’s key talk points. The proposed 2023 budget, according to his economic managers, is geared towards post-lockdown recovery.
The First 100 Days are typically seen as an assessment point for new administrations. Unlike his immediate predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, Marcos has not been one to make bombastic statements with unrealistic deadlines.
Still assessing his own first 100 days in office, Marcos said his administration had been able to “galvanize government once again into governing.”
“So it is that sense of urgency…. Again, it is that unity that we bring people together and we are bringing it, [bringing] people together for a reason and the reason is not ourselves, it’s not our families, but it’s our community, it’s our country, it’s our people. That, I think, we have returned into government. I think that’s the most important thing,” he said.
The President also said that in his first 100 days in office, he had been able to “put out fires,” citing long-running issues, particularly in agriculture. He is concurrently the secretary of the Department of Agriculture.
Marcos flexed his economic team to exemplify how he was able to “find the best and brightest to help and to serve in government.” The current administration’s economic team is headed by Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, former Central Bank governor and one-time budget chief of Duterte. Marcos’ Cabinet is a mix of technocrats and political allies, although his economic team, in particular, has been praised even by some skeptics.
The second Marcos president ran in 2022 as the de facto administration and continuity candidate, even if he never got the explicit endorsement of then-president Rodrigo Duterte. Still, his running-mate in 2022 was now-Vice President Sara Duterte, the eldest daughter of the former president.
In the 2022 campaign, both Marcos and Sara Duterte made promises to continue the gains of the Duterte administration, without necessarily making concrete commitments that a Marcos administration would be a mere continuation of a Duterte administration.
For instance, Marcos made explicit the promise to continue Duterte’s flagship “Build, Build, Build” program. It’s since been renamed to “Build, Better, More” – a not-so-subtle nod to Marcos’ nickname, “BBM.”
But he’s different in major policies – the country’s attitude towards the United States and the “drug war,” among others.
Marcos, unlike Duterte, has embraced the US as a crucial partner, even remarking in a recent US visit that he could not imagine a future of the Philippines without the US. He has also promised a shift in the campaign against illegal drugs, with emphasis on preventing addiction and helping “heal” those who already have drug dependence issues. – Rappler.com