THE NEXT government needs to grant priority status of agriculture and education, according to the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII).

FFCCCII President Henry Lim Bon Liong said agriculture and education form the basis of the rise to power of the US and China.

“I think all candidates should prioritize (agriculture and education),” Mr. Lim Bon Liong said in a television interview on Monday.

He expressed hope for continuity with the approach taken by the Duterte administration, especially its decision to seek friendly relations with China and other neighbors.

“We support whoever will be the duly elected president. But, as far as the different candidates are concerned, the federation is looking at a candidate that will continue the legacy of President Duterte in dealing with our neighbors,” Mr. Lim Bon Liong said.

He expressed the hope that the two candidates leading the surveys, former Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo take a similar approach to China relations.  

“Both Mr. Marcos and Ms. Robredo are acceptable to us. But, of course, hopefully both of them will have the same stand of trying to get as (many) possible concessions from our giant neighbor, China,” Mr. Lim Bon Liong said.  

Mr. Lim Bon Liong said that the country is expected to be “back to normal” soon if drastic quarantine restrictions do not return.

“Right now, with Alert Level 1, a lot of people are going back to work. We are fully open and we are back to business. Those that we have temporarily laid off, we are getting them back already. We hope that the government will not go back to Alert Level 2 or 3,” Mr. Lim Bon Liong said, referring to the quarantine settings with more restrictive caps on mobility and capacity of business establishments.

“As long as we are under Alert Level 1 or we can go to Alert Level 0 that would be even be better. I think we will be back to normal pretty soon,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave