Press Release
January 29, 2016

Drilon: Economic issues must take center stage in 2016 elections

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today warned of a possible reversal of the country's impressive economic growth if the people elect the wrong leaders in the upcoming May 2016 polls.

Drilon made the statement as he urged the voters to make the sustainability of the economy a major issue in the upcoming 2016 elections.

"There is a lot at stake for our economy in this upcoming election. All the economic gains we have achieved in the past six years will be put to naught and our people cannot fully benefit from them if our country falls into the hands of the wrong leaders," Drilon stressed.

In the report by the National Economic Development Authority, the country's growth domestic product grew by 5.8% in 2015, which, though lower than the 6.1% GDP recorded in 2014, is still among the fastest growing in Asia, next to India, China and Vietnam.

Drilon said that he agreed with outgoing Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, who earlier said that "the challenge for next administration is to maintain momentum for reforms."

Drilon said that the ability of the country to sustain its economic momentum is mostly due to the reforms implemented by President Aquino all throughout his term, buoyed by the fiscal discipline that was employed by his economic managers.

"There is no doubt that the platform of good governance of President Aquino has effectively resulted in a healthy economy and an improved living condition of the Filipino people," Drilon said.

He noted that the 5.8% growth in 2015 is a far cry from the 1.1% recorded in 2009.

But Drilon said these economic gains are at risk of being reversed if the people elect an inexperienced, ineffective and corrupt leader.

"The upcoming election is crucial in the sustainability of these reforms. The election will make or break whatever we have started under the Aquino administration. We must safeguard the reforms we have painstakingly put in place," Drilon said.

"Let us not throw away the gains we have made. Let us work together in order that we can sustain the reforms that made our economy robust and attractive to both local and foreign investments," he added.

The Senate chief also said that the laws passed by Congress helped lay the foundation for a healthy economy. These include, among others, the Sin Tax Reform Law, the GOCC Governance Act, the Philippine Competition Act, as well as the law that allows the full entry of foreign banks.

Drilon then vowed to continue to work on legislation that can further boost the economy.

"There's a lot to be done. The major task is not only to sustain our economic growth, but also to make sure that this growth is felt by all of our countrymen," Drilon concluded.

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