THE incoming Marcos administration needs to expand the role of the private sector in identifying outstanding issues facing the economy, to the point of allowing more private investment, business leaders said.

At a minimum, according to the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) President George T. Barcelon, the government and industry must reach broad agreement on which initiatives to pursue in order to better coordinate their efforts.

“What is really needed is for the government to open up and have more collaboration with the private sector. The PCCI was a co-convenor in the Sulong Pilipinas that started in May 2016. Every year, we had that. I think it’s a very good format where there is an exchange of information and the private sector is given the chance to air some of the issues that are of immediate concern,” Mr. Barcelon said in a television interview.  

“I hope this would continue because it is important for both ends to share report cards on what has been accomplished, what are the gaps, and how to move forward,” he added.

Former Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. is currently leading the unofficial Presidential tally released by the Commission on Elections, with over 31 million votes.  

Management Association of the Philippines Alfredo E. Pascual said the private sector can provide its expertise in selected industries to accelerate the recovery from the pandemic.

“The private sector… can provide solutions in health, in education, (and) in infrastructure development through public-private partnerships (PPP) or outright private investment,” Mr. Pascual said.  

“The need will dictate the behavior of the leadership. Given the debt burden and constraints on the fiscal space, there is a need to attract private sector investment, there is a need to partner with the private sector to continue the high levels of investment in infrastructure,” he added.

According to Mr. Pascual, the immediate priorities for Mr. Marcos are food security and inflation. 

“He will be facing major problems (such as) food supply, inflation, the debt burden, the lingering coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the need to bring in investments, and the Ukraine war,” Mr. Pascual said.

“The other important priority that he (should) pay attention to is the issue of jobs. An immediate boost to the economy (is needed)… Inflation will have to be addressed (as well as) the longer-term crises of health and education,” he added.

Mr. Barcelon said the economic team to be formed by Mr. Marcos will need to be credible.

“What we would like is to see people who are appointed that are really competent… We really need people who have hands-on experience in running those key cabinet positions namely, the Department of Finance, the Department of Trade and Industry, the National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Labor and Employment. Those are key agencies,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave