Join US and China in expressing stronger bilateral cooperation with PH under BBM

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison have joined other world leaders in congratulating Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on winning the May 9 presidential elections.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Russian President Vladimir Putin

“I expect that your activity as head of state will help further promote the constructive cooperation between Russia and the Philippines in various spheres,” Putin said in his telegram to Marcos.

Morrison expressed hope the Philippines and Australia would continue to enjoy strong bilateral relations under the incoming administration.

“I congratulate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on being elected President of the Philippines at the national elections on 9 May,” the Aussie PM said on his Twitter page.

“Following the 75th anniversary of Australia-Philippines relations last year, we look forward to continuing to advance our long-standing friendship,” Morrison added.

The two leaders joined United States President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, along with ambassadors and political leaders from various countries, in lauding the former senator and expressing their intention to work with the incoming administration starting July 1.

The Israeli government also congratulated the presumptive president after he dominated the unofficial poll results with a 16-million-vote lead over Vice President Leni Robredo.

“Israel will continue to work closely with the incoming administration of the Philippines to strengthen the friendly historic ties of our nations and to deepen the existing partnerships in agriculture, food security, water, tourism, innovation & technology, defense, among others,” it said.

Marcos is on the cusp of winning the May 9 polls after garnering over 31 million votes in the partial, unofficial tally of the latest election returns from the Commission on Elections Transparency Server.

His running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, is also poised to be elected as the country’s next vice president, as her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, steps down from office on June 30.

Meanwhile, investors would like to see continuity in policies that aim to liberalize the Philippines in terms of foreign capital, British Chamber of Commerce Philippines Executive Director Chris Nelson said Tuesday.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) already issued separate statements on Tuesday in support of Marcos.

“Let’s give the incoming administration time to draw up and share their plans in making our country more progressive. Let’s stay positive,” PCCI President George Barcelon said in a statement.

“As business chambers, we hope to continue to work closely with government officials at all levels throughout the country for the recovery from the pandemic and to maintain high levels of GDP growth, infrastructure development, job creation, and FDI inflows best achieved by continuing the governance and policies of the current and previous administrations,” a portion of the JFC statement read.

The JFC is made up of chambers from the United States, Australia-New Zealand, Canada, Europe, Japan, Korea, and the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters, Inc. (PAMURI), with a combined trade and investment value of over $100 billion in the Philippines.

The Duterte administration has passed legislation that would make the country more attractive to foreign investors, including the amendments to the Foreign Investment Act, the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and the Public Service Act.

“The important thing is the reflection of what they see in terms of continuity, what’s going to happen moving forward,” Nelson said.

“Clearly, what we want as the British Chamber of Commerce is the next administration to continue with some of those liberalization policies,” he added.

Nelson said there are low-hanging fruits that could further entice foreign capital to come in.

The list includes further streamlining of the implementing rules of the ease of doing business law, continued investments in the digital space as well as investments in education to expand the local talent base, he said.

Barcelon also underscored the internal and external risks that Marcos’ incoming economic managers need to address immediately once the cluster is formed.

“The president-elect (Marcos Jr.) will be faced with the same financial challenges due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and lately the geopolitical storm in Ukraine similar to other countries [particularly in relation to] debt and inflation issues,” the PCCI chief added.

Outgoing Secretary Fortunato dela Peña of the Department of Science and Technology on Friday said he is hoping for the continuity of the agency’s programs and projects, especially on efforts to address climate change, under the Marcos administration.

At the weekly Diretsahang Pananaw forum in Quezon City, the DOST chief noted that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has created a transition team to identify key activities to implement the transition of services from the Duterte administration.

“I am not a part of the transition team of Secretary Medialdea, but we will have a transition within the DOST… whoever the next secretary will be,” he told the Manila Standard.

Dela Pena said he is pushing for the regional equity of resources, citing “regions play a major role in science and technology.” He believes there would be a continuity of programs and projects after his exit from the DOST in July.

“We have good coordinators in each and every department as well as the one that tackles the issue of climate change,” he told reporters. “It is a whole of government, a whole nation approach.”

On Wednesday, Marcos highlighted the critical role of economic managers in the next few years as the country emerged from the pandemic.

“The economic managers are going to be critical for the next several years because of the pandemic and economic crisis, so that is something that we are looking at very carefully,” the presumptive President said.

The presumptive 17th President of the Philippines also added that competence, willingness to work, and not one’s political color would be the top considerations in selecting the next crop of officials that would comprise his cabinet.

“I continue to be guided by… competence and willingness to work with the next administration, so we have removed… immediately what their political leanings have been,” he explained.

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