Former Cabinet members underscored the positive economic impact of fiscal and economic policy reforms instituted by the late President Benigno Aquino III that will continue to be effective in boosting economic recovery beyond the pandemic crisis.
In a virtual forum organized by think tank Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute (ADRi) to mark Ninoy Aquino Day, former Budget chief Butch Abad said that by vigorously putting governance reforms – transparency, accountability and anti-corruption efforts – the Aquino administration made unprecedented gains.
“I think the one critical factor was the leadership provided by a determined, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and decent president, as exemplified by President Noynoy Aquino,” he said.
“The People’s Budget, open data, Seal of Good Housekeeping, participatory audits, budget partnership agreements, and of course, bottom-up budgeting, I think, put together, continue immensely to what was achieved during those six years in terms of promoting greater transparency, accountability and reducing significantly the corruption in government,” Abad added.
Former National Economic and Development Authority Director-General Manny Esguerra said economic growth during the past administration was sustained at 6.3 percent – “the highest ever achieved across presidential terms.”
“The faster pace and higher quality of growth also created more employment opportunities as indicated by the declining unemployment and underemployment rates. Employment opportunities did not only increase, but the quality of jobs also improved as indicated by the increase in the share of wage and salary workers in total employment,” he said.
“The favorable investment climate was generally due to the reforms to increase productivity. A testament to that is the improvement in the Philippines’ global rankings in the Global Competitiveness Index, the Economic Freedom Index, Ease of Doing Business, and the Corruption Perceptions Index,” Esguerra added.
Former Energy chief Rene Almendras said the late President was focused on generating jobs to address poverty through human development.
Stratbase ADRi President Prof. Dindo Manhit for his part said: “We believe that it’s time to look back also to Daang Matuwid espoused by the Aquino administration that we believe was able to set the appropriate political, economic, and social environment for the promotion of information integrity.”
“Principled leadership, good governance, a dignified foreign policy is good economics. And under this context, I believe we should be guided as we try to look forward and build and push for true reforms and change in the Philippine political and policy environment,” Manhit said.