MBC Supports Power, Water, Infra Initiatives in
President Marcos’ SONA; Welcomes Other Reforms

24 July 2023 – Makati Business Club supports the Marcos Administration’s push for reforms in the power and water industries and its plans to maintain or accelerate infrastructure investment, as President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. advocated in his State of the Nation Address on July 24, 2023.

“We believe these reforms are critical to increase the investment needed to create more jobs and better lives for all Filipinos,” MBC Executive Director Francisco Alcuaz Jr. said. “We need them for economic competitiveness and for better and reliable public services for all.”

On power, MBC supported the DOE’s opening of renewable energy to 100% foreign investment, and also supports the Philippine Downstream Natural Gas Industry Development bill to expand LNG amid the decline in Malampaya reserves, and has also partnered with an expert independent energy group to develop a Just Energy Transition plan.

On infrastructure, MBC supports the President’s plan to maintain infrastructure spending at 5% to 6% of GDP and the administration’s commitment to spend more on mass transportation, for 94% of Filipinos who don’t own cars and 73% who don’t own motorcycles. MBC recognizes that efficient, reliable, and affordable networks of public transportation improve business productivity and Filipinos’ quality of life.

MBC also welcomes the President’s decision to move forward with NAIA’s rehabilitation and the expansion and operation of Laguindingan airport, both via PPP.

MBC welcomes the President’s support for Technical Vocational Education and Training as a key means to give more Filipinos the skills needed for the current and future economies. MBC, along with other business groups, welcomes Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma’s support to strengthen apprenticeship along the same lines as the most worker friendly countries in the world. Two of MBC’s board members are part of the Private Sector Advisory Council – Jobs Committee. MBC also leads the Advanced Manufacturing Skills Council and is part of the USAID-Unilab led Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Project.

MBC also welcomed President Marcos’s support for government digitalization including paying of taxes. MBC supports this through our partnership with USAID-Strengthening Private Enterprise for the Digital Economy to provide sound recommendations for key policies such as the Internet Transactions Act and VAT on Digital Transactions bill. MBC, along with other business groups, supports the Ease of Paying Taxes bill that has been passed by the House of Representatives. We urge the Senate to follow suit.

Related to the President’s push for digitalization and data-driven policy, MBC reiterated its long standing backing of a Freedom of Information (FOI) Law that allows citizens to access government information to make economic decisions. An FOI Law would be complemented by a strengthened SALN Law and the lifting of the Bank Secrecy Law.

MBC also supports the administration’s initiatives to expand the country’s healthcare workforce, particularly nurses, and the President’s promise to pay their long-overdue COVID allowances. MBC recently partnered with its member Optum on a forum where local and foreign stakeholders discussed solutions to the issue, and organized a membership meeting with Dr. Margaret-Mary Wilson, Chief Medical Officer of UnitedHealth, Optum’s parent and the biggest healthcare company in the U.S.

Finally, MBC supports President Marcos’ and Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s resolve to address the growing crisis in the pension system of military and uniformed personnel. “This is a huge overhang similar to the Napocor and NFA liabilities addressed 20 and 10 years ago. It will need the hard work and compromise of all stakeholders.” (END)