Duterte has expressed his desire to build on the stellar accomplishments of the administration of outgoing president Benigno Aquino III, particularly the latter’s good governance initiatives and critical structural reforms that transformed the Philippines from being “the sick man of Asia” into “Asia’s rising tiger.” Of his ten-point socioeconomic agenda revealed on Monday, June 20, for example, his first point was to continue and maintain current macroeconomic policies, including fiscal, monetary and trade policies.
However, he intends to depart from Aquino’s legacy of instituting slow but steady macroeconomic reform by advancing an economic agenda which seeks to upgrade, accelerate as well as expand the government’s basic services that shall render the country’s macroeconomic environment more conducive for the flourishing of businesses, influx of investments and conduct of seamless trade within the country and the greater ASEAN region. Some megaprojects worth anticipating include: (a) three major railway systems, namely the Mindanao railway, Manila-Bicol railway, and Manila-Batangas railway; (b) Zamboanga Ecozone, Southern Mindanao Growth Corridor (General Santos growth corridor and Davao Gulf Industrial corridor); and the South Mindanao-North Sulawesi ro-ro link, among others.
Duterte intends to overcome the alleged structural dissonance between macroeconomic reform which has been the hallmark of Aquino’s “Daang Matuwid” program and concrete improvement of living conditions and standards of Juan dela Cruz. In doing so, he has talked about pursuing the following: generation of domestic jobs; increase of employment; abolition of contractualization; promotion of livelihood; agricultural modernization; and entrepreneurial, technological and industrial advancement with just taxation and equitable distribution of wealth while caring for the environment for sustainable development.