D-DAY!

Photo by Aaron Favila/Associated Press

ALL BETS are on the table!

All roads lead to polling centers today as people from all walks of life troop to Comelec designated areas all over the country to cast their vote that will determine the leaders especially the next president who will take over the reins of this long- suffering nation for the next six years.


GREATER CHASM BETWEEN THE RICH AND POOR

Ever since the birth of our young democracy a little less than a century ago, several presidential elections have already been held with each exercise offering a fresh ray of hope for the people.

Unfortunately, those past elections that also featured at least two people power uprisings read: coup d’etat did not help much to bring real changes for our country especially to the common people.

Instead, the rich keeps getting richer while the poor remais poor as each election continue to create greater chasm between the haves and the haves not.


ECONOMIC PLATFORMS

In as much this paper will come out on elections day and the winners are yet to be named and declared, the editorial board has decided to examine each candidate’s economic platforms and what they intend to do in the event that he or she is elected president of the country.

The candidates and their platforms:


DAVAO CITY MAYOR RODRIGO DUTERTE
THE SURVEY FRONTRUNNER

Nobody sends more jitters to the business community than the victory of survey frontrunner Duterte in today’s elections.

Those jitters are not unfounded since Duterte who rose to the survey ladders because of his unconventional and antiestablishment style of campaigning does not hide the fact that he sympathizes with the leftist New People’s Army and the secessionist rebels in Mindanao.

Businessmen are especially wary of the fact that in several of his speeches Duterte was overheard as saying “Mabuhay ang NPA!”, even as he also entertains the thought of sharing power with Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison.

Moreover, Duterte is not shy in declaring that he would sever economic and political ties with the US and Australia if necessary in the event that he wins the presidency.

Severing ties with the US and Australia would surely spell more economic doom for the country since they are our two main allies and historically have been our foremost benefactors.

Surely, our business leaders understand that severing our ties with the two economic powerhouses would result to more miseries for the Filipino masses.


VP JEJOMAR BINAY
SO CLOSE YET SO FAR

Up until one year and a half ago, Vice President Binay was almost a shoo-in to win the presidency until his march to the palace came to a screeching halt after Sen. Antonio Trillanes and company started the Senate Blue Ribbon committee investigation on his alleged hidden and unexplained wealth.

One allegation after another took their toll on Binay and his family that culminated with his son Jun-jun being eased out of his post as mayor of Makati City courtesy of a suspension order issued by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio- Morales.

In a recent forum, Binay delivered his planned economic policies which in essence –he would do to the entire country, the progress and services that he supposedly introduced in Makati City.

Binay would also work for inclusive growth because he is sensitive to the needs of the poor would target a yearly average of 6.5% economic growth during his term.

He will also support Fiscal Incentives Rationalization Bill, Build Operate Transfer Law Amendment, fast-track the construction of major infrastructure projects to boost tourism and address traffic congestion.

It seems he has good plans but he has to win the presidency first.


MAR ROXAS
THE ECONOMIST

Roxas is best remembered for giving up his presidential ambition six years ago to give way to then Sen. Noynoy Aquino.

His handlers then did declare that Roxas’ made the ultimate sacrifice but six years and countless Aquino blunders later, they are now unsure if it was a decision worth making.

But like a true friend that he is, Roxas opted to bank on the continuity of the Daang Matuwid slogan, instead of radical changes that people are looking for in their candidates.

In his recent economic speech before a group of foreign investors , he opted to give what he called a “broad brushstroke or a helicopter view of what we’ve seen over the last five years, and where we intend to take the country in the coming six years”.

As expected, he highlighted what he described as the greatest economic turnaround in the economic history of the country during the incumbency of President Aquino.

He then vowed to continue to work hard to maintain the country’s current investment grade status while looking for ways to improve the overall business climate.

He noted that all the good developments in the economic front did not come by surprise but were results of good and meticulous governance that he hoped he could continue.

He also vowed to invest in people which he claimed what he did when he supported the business process outsourcing industry during its infancy.

In short, Roxas has some plans cut out for him but the only problem is that he needs to speak a little bit more on a manner that even ordinary people in the streets can understand.


SENATOR GRACE POE
DARLING OF PHILIPPINE POLITICS

Just a few months before Sen. Poe decided to throw her hat in the presidential derby she was described by many as a fast rising political star because she was fresh and untainted but knowledgeable of the tasks that come with her position.

In short, she was the darling of Philippine politics. That was before she entered the presidential race.

The minute she decided to run then all sorts of allegations and disqualification cases were thrown her way thus greatly affecting her campaign and casting doubts on her sincerity to serve the people.

In her recent speech before a group of local and foreign investors Sen. Poe has spelled out before a group of local and foreign investors her economic vision and her plans to heal the ‘ailing economy’.

“I see the Philippines one day as a developed country, one of the major economies of Asia, perhaps not in six years but definitely in our lifetime” she was quoted as saying.

Poe however noted that many Filipinos remain poor and could not feel the economic rebirth especially since a fifth of the population earns under a $1.25 a day, representing the highest poverty incidence in South East Asia outside of Laos.

“My economic mission, if I’m elected, is to take us onwards to the next level of the journey, upon which we embark under the Aquino government from growth, just growth to inclusive growth” she stressed.

She hopes to do this by focusing on more infrastructures and in improving the country’s communication and mass transportation systems.

She will also push for the easing out some of restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution to lure more investments in the country.

She also vowed to check on the high corporate income tax which at 30 percent is the highest among ASEAN countries explaining that the country only made 6 billion in foreign direct investments last year vs. the 10 billion that Thailand and Malaysia attracted, and Indonesia’s 20 billion dollars during the same period.

She added that her government will continue to promote honesty in all levels of government and lead by example to vigorously prosecute corrupt officials whatever their party affiliation.


SEN.MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO
THE BRIGHTEST OF THEM ALL

Many political analysts concede that Sen. Santiago is the best prepared and most capable among all the candidates running for president in this year’s elections.

Clearly, she possesses all the self-imposed criteria that she said a candidate should have before seeking the presidency which are: academic excellence, professional achievement, and sincerity.

Even her opponents would agree that they are not her equal but the only thing that is preventing majority of our people from supporting her is that she is dealing with the big C- a stage 4 lung cancer.

Nevertheless, Santiago decided to give it a try because she said the Philippines will be a “much better country” if she will become president.


“If I become president sometime in the very near future, this country will be much better than it was before. Today, this country suffers from the malaise of plunder. Plunder is when you look at a person and the person looks at you and you feel like eating each other up” she was quoted as saying.

Among the economic reforms that she intends to introduce is the reform in the Philippine tax system which she describes as outdated having been enacted 20 years ago.

“It needs to be overhauled. But major tax reforms are best done at the start of each administration when the President has the clear mandate from the voters. I promise to reform it within six months of my administration,” Santiago said.


CONCLUSION

The phrase it's the economy, stupid" was coined by James Carville campaign strategist of former US President Bill Clinton during the 1992 presidential elections.

Clinton's campaign had capitalized on then recession in the US and used the tactic of promising a more improved economy should he be elected.

In today’s elections, it is but proper that the economic issue also takes the center stage because our country could not hope to move forward without clear cut economic programs.

In fact, democracy and all the talks about these elections are nothing if ordinary people would remain poor and under the mercy of greedy oligarchs and capitalists.

Our candidates should know that a hungry stomach knows no law which brings us back to what Cavill has preached” it’s the economy stupid”!

 

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