By CNN Philippines, May 13, 2022
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 13) — The incoming administration must ensure continuity of current policies and bare details of their proposals to help quell market worries, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said on Thursday.
“The best way to address some of these concerns as investors and other analysts have mentioned is for the new administration to lay out its agenda,” said the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief when asked on concerns and uncertainties over the administration of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos – current frontrunner of the near-completed unofficial vote count.
The son and namesake of the late dictator provided little details in his campaign trail, but expressed interest in continuing President Rodrigo Duterte’s flagship infrastructure program Build, Build, Build and prioritizing help for small businesses and farmers.
Chua also underscored the need for policy continuity, which he said is the “most important.” Policies under the Duterte administration he wants to carry on include comprehensive tax reform, economic liberalization bills, and the national ID system.
The NEDA secretary also praised the Rice Tariffication Law, which he called the “best model” that addresses both farmers’ and consumers’ needs. If this is removed, some ₱18 billion in aid given to farmers to boost productivity could be lost, he said.
In sum, Chua recommended that the next administration keep macro-fiscal prudence — a policy observed in the past three administrations — as this is the “most important continuity” that should be maintained.
For his part, Marcos assured that choosing his economic managers is among his top priorities – citing their “critical” role in ushering recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
What’s next for Chua?
Asked on any offer from the next administration, Chua said he has not received any.
“I think there’s a time for everything and my time is called somewhere else,” he said, adding that he plans to study and spend more time with his family after his time in government.
Who should succeed him as NEDA secretary, then? “Anyone who is willing, able, and available,” he replied.
Under Chua and his fellow economic managers, the domestic economy expanded 5.7% in 2021 after a record 9.5% nosedive the year prior.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) recently announced gross domestic product grew 8.3% in the first quarter of 2022 – defying forecasts and settling within the government’s 7-9% target for the year.