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Business community finds second SONA 'a bit lacking'
The business community found the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte, delivered on Monday, "a bit lacking" in economic prospects.
The President touched on several business issues, but mostly motherhood statements that did not go into specifics, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) president George T. Barcelon told GMA News Online.
"A bit lacking on the economic side," he said.
"One area I find which was not taken enough is agriculture. Also, how to improve MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises), going further," he said.
"On the whole, 'yung message niya, those are the things he will continue, but they were not mentioned," he added.
Barcelon said he would have wanted to hear specific timelines on government plans.
"For ICT (information and communication technology), it would improve by end of the year or next year – that our broadband speed would be in the middle ground of other countries, 'cause now were lagging behind," he said.
Still, Barcelon welcomed the presidential pronouncements on the infrastructure plan.
"On the economic side – his socioeconomic pillars – he talked about infrastructure, he mentioned about comprehensive tax reform," he said.
Duterte briefly touched on the passage of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) in the Senate. It was passed by the House of Representatives on May 31.
He also mentioned briefly the "golden age of infrastructure" on which the government is banking to spur economic growth.
American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (AmCham) Senior Adviser John D. Forbes noted that the President obviously veered from the original theme of 'A Comfortable Life for All' – which Malaca?ang said was be the main thought of the speech.
"It was a forceful speech in which the President took a strong stance on his top policy concerns, including drugs and rebellion," Forbes said.
However, it was not much about 'A Comfortable Life for All'," he added.
"We would have liked to hear more about his top legislative priorities and reforms to create more jobs; more details about Build, Build, Build; and more priority bill measures than the six he mentioned," he said.
"We welcome the early passage of the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law), rightsizing, National Land Use, procurement, tax measures, and implementation of RH Law," Forbes added.
The Makati Business Club (MBC) welcomed the presidential statements, particularly on tax reforms.
"The Makati Business Club has always supported policy and regulatory reforms which would drive the economy and sustain its growth in the long run. And we are encouraged that the President remains committed to pursuing his socioeconomic agenda," said MBC president Edgar O. Chua.
"In particular, we welcome his leadership in advocating for a more fair and equitable tax policy, his commitment to invest more in education and in addressing the country's infrastructure deficit," he added. —
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