FINANCE Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Tuesday the outgoing Duterte administration’s economic team had started transition talks with the camp of leading presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr., poised to become the 17th President of the country.
This developed as the 64-year-old Marcos Jr. continued to widen his lead against his rivals Tuesday afternoon, garnering more than 31 million votes against Vice President Leni Robredo, who recorded more than 14.7 million, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) partial and unofficial results. Malacañang has created a body that would supervise the transition of power to the next administration, which is chaired by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
“Already started,” Dominguez told GMA News Online, when asked when the incumbent administration’s economic team began briefing the incoming administration.
The Finance chief, however, clarified that the briefing with the Marcos camp started “several weeks ago when we briefed teams of other candidates.”
Marcos Jr.’s running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, has recorded more than 31.4 million votes with 98 percent of the results accounted for, based on partial and unofficial results. There were about 3 million votes yet to be counted, the poll body said.
Robredo’s running mate, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, received over 9.2 million votes in second place.
In a press briefing, Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said that as of 2 pm (May 10) they had reached 98.21 percent of the ballots.”
“This is a breakthrough compared to other elections. The transmission of the results is really fast,” he added. Out of the 107,785 election results it is expecting, Casquejo said “103,790 already been transmitted.”
In February, Dominguez expressed willingness to sit down with all the presidential candidates to discuss how to manage the trillions of pesos in government debt the next presidency will inherit from the Duterte administration. He said the Department of Finance is preparing its fiscal consolidation proposal which will likely include tax hikes to repay the country’s increasing debt.
As of end-March 2022, the national government’s running debt balanced widened further to a new record-high of P12.68 trillion, 4.8 percent higher than the P12.09 trillion recorded as of end-February 2022, amid continued borrowing efforts to boost the state’s war chest for COVID-19 recovery measures coupled with a weaker local currency during the period.
Marcos Jr. and Duterte of the UniTeam are leading the presidential and vice-presidential race, according to partial and unofficial count of votes from nationwide election returns as shown in the Comelec Transparency Server.
Should he be proclaimed as the next president, Marcos Jr.’s administration will inherit the debt accumulated by the outgoing administration.
Meanwhile, the European Union looks forward to forging closer cooperation with the Philippines under the next administration, its delegation in Manila said.
The bloc was among the groups to send foreign observers to monitor the conduct of the Philippine national elections on May 9.
The delegation said it observed generally “peaceful, free, and fair democratic elections” based on the polling precincts its diplomats visited in different parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces. “The EU (Delegation to the Philippines) looks forward to working with the incoming administration for the next six years and fostering closer EU-Philippines relations,” it said in a statement.
The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the Philippines entered into force in 2018, creating a joint committee that allows the two partners to boost relations based on mutual interest and respect. The joint committee established three specialized subcommittees focused on Development Cooperation; on Trade, Investment and Economic Cooperation; and on Good Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights.