Marcos’ vague plans for the Philippine economy


Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is poised to become the next president of the Philippines after gaining an overwhelming lead in the May 9 elections. Voters who are too young remember that they were partly tempted by the 64-year-old voters. misleading presentation To revive the late father’s dictatorship into the economic era.

In fact, the brutal dictator Marcos who killed thousands of political opponents and diverted treasuries was a disaster for the Philippine economy. Before being ousted from the 1986 uprising, the dictator financed the infrastructure runaway through foreign loans. country foreign debt It increased from $599 million in 1965 to $28.3 billion in the early days of his reign. 80% When he went into exile, the country’s GDP. A large portion of the money was rebate to his entourage, which may have been stolen by Marcos Sr. 10 billion dollars of national funds. The proportion of the population below the poverty line increased from 42% before the dictatorship to 59% after the dictatorship.

young Marcos Appointment colorful project and pledge If you don’t strengthen it to continue “build build build” Former President Rodrigo Duterte’s infrastructure program ushering in the “Golden Age of Infrastructure” in the Philippines. Marcos Camp says: blueprint For the revival of the agriculture and transport sector and initiatives for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). But if Marcos Jr. becomes the winner of the June 30 presidential election and takes office, he faces undeniable economic hardship.

Read more: Why the world should care about Marcos victory

The Philippine economy grew 8.3% in the first quarter of this year, exceeding the average of 6.8% in the first quarter of 2019. Bloomberg research, give them time to step under the desk. However, growth could be hampered if rising inflation cuts consumer spending. The war in Ukraine and China’s containment of COVID-19 continue to pose a threat to global markets.

Marcos told reporters on May 11, “We are looking at this very carefully as the pandemic and economic crisis will make economic managers very important in the next few years.” Following his central campaign, he offered to work with technocrats across political channels to deliver the message of “unity.”

the market is definitely didn’t make a secret Marcos’ main rival, Leni Robredo, is an economics graduate and lawyer with experience in poverty alleviation, rural development and housing. part $9.3 billion lost The day after the vote was against her, the Philippine Stock Exchange doesn’t expect a rally until Marcos announces more detailed plans.

A child stands next to a campaign poster displayed in a slum area in Manila on May 4, 2022.

CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP via Getty Images

Marcos’ legacy

Located on the edge of the South China Sea, the Philippines has attracted both countries. United States of America And china. port and young population (almost 30% Between the ages of 10 and 24 out of 110 million people) would be desirable partners, especially if they could unlock their economic potential. Whether that will be possible under Marcos remains to be seen. In a report released before the election, investment bank JP Morgan expressed concern about Marcos’ “lack of a clear and substantive economic platform” and the government’s weak record.

Concerns have also been expressed about his proposal to revive some of his father’s economic plans, such as the oil price stabilization fund, which the state will eventually have to pay. subsidize.

“Marcos tends to bring out a lot of his father’s programs to steal people’s emotions and create a false nostalgia for his father’s legacy,” says JC Funongbayan, assistant professor of economics at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City. . A 2021 study co-authored by Punongbayan found it took 23 years for the country’s GDP per capita to recover from a recession at the end of the dictatorship.

Read more: A short history of the rise and fall of the Marcos family

There is also the fear that cronyism will return. political alliance Some of the Elder Marcos received top government posts and other perks, such as government-backed loans. After his ouster, many companies owned by such individuals were unable to repay their debts, went bankrupt, and were taken over by the state.

“If a second Marcos administration reorganizes this kind of coalition government, the Philippine economy could suffer,” said Cleve Argels, a professor of political science at Derasal University in Manila.

In the meantime, uncertainty dominates. Punongbayan says Marcos Jr. “does not adequately outline a comprehensive, well-studied plan for the economy”.

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