Next President must be Pro Economy

Few of my friends keep on kidding me that I have been quite brave in writing two of my past columns. Those columns cited how I felt about the past eight years of the Philippine economy. Normally, people do not send me feedback but these columns continue to get more positive responses.

Let me share a simple statement from Tintin Bersola-Babao, a celebrity entrepreneur. “In the end, it’s the effort placed by taking control of our destinies. I see progress in the economy, when it comes to the lives of specific persons who work hard so that others will also be employed. Businessmen save the economy, with or without PGMA.”. What Tintin says is quite true. We cannot wait for the government to do their job. Our destinies should not rely on what they do, whether it’s a good or bad government. The private sector is clearly the main driver of growth. Not to say we don’t need a government that is pro negosyo; we definitely need one, and it makes it easier for negosyantes to succeed.

Santi Araneta, Chairman of LBC Express, said that PGMA has done fairly well for the economy. He gives her an above passing rate, as “she has done more good than harm”. Wilson Lee Flores, Chairman of Anvil Business Club – an organization of Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs, also gives a rating of nine out of 10 to PGMA because of her administration’s economic management and reforms, the country’s stable economy and consistent growth.

One of the inspiring responses was an SMS from a driver. “Gd pm po nabasa ko po ang colum nyo ngaun.tama po na hindi lahat ng ginawa n PGMA ay mali.mas marami ang nagawa nyang mabuti.isa lang po akong driver.seguro kung sinisisi k c PGMA sa aking kahirapan nd ako makapagpatapos sa pagaaral ng aking mga anak.wala akong sinisisi nagsikap ako.sana ang mga katolad ko na mahirap magsikap din sila at huwag magpagamit mga bulok na mga politiko. Bert ng muntinlupa.” If he just kept on complaining and did nothing else, then he would not have been able to send his kids to school.

Johnlu Koa of French Baker has this to say: “From a purely macro and retail perspective, I give PGMA a score of eight to nine for fostering a positive business climate for growth, especially on tourism, BPO and service industries. For the rest of the year, I expect inflation rate to remain low, stable prices, free flow of credit, lower than expected unemployment figures, manageable exchange rate sustained by OFW remittances and a generally improving business confidence and outlook.”

Ram Saltidas of the Indian Chamber of Commerce shares, “I would give her a very good rating. You can say eight to nine, as after her visit to India we have a lot of Indian businessman who have come here and invested in a lot of IT-related businesses. Investors are looking at bio fuels, pharma, computer schools, aviation, agri-related, tourism, health care, and we have many Indian students taking up aviation, medical studies, aim. I salute her for the hard work.”

Josiah Go, a marketing guru, rates PGMA an eight with area of improvement. “Personal branding dictates high level of likeability and trustworthiness. In other words, it shouldn’t just be ‘do right’ but make people feel right about her leading the economy.”

From Kenneth Yang, President and CEO of McDonald’s: “I would rate like seven to eight. Economy isn’t fantastic but it’s also weathered the storm, still growing albeit at a lower pace.”

Dioceldo Sy, President of Ever Bilena says that “GMA has implemented a lot of economic policies and reform programs. Versus the Asian crisis 10 years ago, we don’t see corporate bankruptcies – a clear manifestation that GMA’s economic programs are on the right track,”

Dennis Valdez, President of PhilWeb Corp, rates her with a 7.5 on economic leadership. “There’s no denying the economy has improved for most.”

There are other entrepreneurs who are pleased with the economic growth in the past nine years but are disappointed with the level of corruption in our country and with the accusations against the first family. This is why, in 2010, we are given another chance to elect a leader. The Philippines is making progress. The objective is to sustain it and even do better. Let us just use our democracy carefully, since many Filipinos still fall under the poverty line. Many of them seek for hope and encouragement. Complaining and sowing pessimism won’t do any good.

With the sudden turn of events the other day, with Mar Roxas giving way to Noynoy Aquino, things have changed. While Mar and I may have some differences on the state of this country’s economy, I have to congratulate him for doing what is best for his party. In the end, what matters are the ideals that he stands for, together with his father and grandfather. Mar has been mentored quite well by his mother, Judy Roxas. Even if Mar may not run for the presidency, he will definitely be a great choice for vice presidency.

But, what should we look for in the next president? While experience counts a lot, we should look at the family and the children have been brought up. I would say that Luli Arroyo would be the model for children of first families. Likewise, the Aquino children would also fall under this category when Tita Cory was president. The spouse is also very important, as spouses are quite influential.

In the case of the Villars, Cynthia – the wife of Manny Villar – is a very simple and down-to-earth woman despite her wealth. She has brought up smart and responsible children. She is supportive of her husband’s initiatives, while she has her own livelihood and community development projects. She initiated the water lily-based products and the coco coir-from-coconut shell projects. She also supports great business models that address environment waste problems. Cynthia is also very sensitive to the needs of her constituents as a congresswoman. She would qualify as an ideal first lady.

While Noynoy may not have a wife at this point, his sisters will have a great influence on him. Without a doubt, they have been mentored well by their mother. So, if Noynoy does not get married and if he wins, he may be the first single male to become president, with his sisters as his first ladies. I believe that the race for the presidency will be a battle between Manny Villar and Noynoy Aquino. While we all have our personal choices, what is important for both candidates is to avoid criticizing this government. They should focus on their vision in pursuing a vibrant negosyo climate for the Philippines.

There are good things that happened in the last nine years. It is important that the new president builds on this. While corruption continues to be a problem, the bigger problem we have is poverty. We need to focus our energies in reducing poverty. The year 2010 will be an exciting year for many Filipinos. Let’s choose a leader who will be pro economy. There is no other solution to poverty but through the creation of jobs, and only a vibrant negosyo climate can create jobs.