Think tank unveils key recommendations for Marcos Jr administration

Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 20 2022 03:48 PM

The UniTeam party holds its Miting De Avance on Aseana Avenue in Parañaque on May 7, 2022. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News
The UniTeam party holds its Miting De Avance on Aseana Avenue in Parañaque on May 7, 2022. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA — International research group Stratbase ADR Institute offered several recommendations to presidential frontrunner Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr on various issues and policies in a new book launched Friday.

At least 16 policy scholars wrote their recommendations on foreign policy, security, economy, governance, climate change, and agriculture among many others, said Stratbase ADRi President Dindo Manhit. 

"We need to help the incoming administration think beyond politics... Instead of waiting for the government to establish itself, why don't we contribute to the discourse," he said.

The recommendations include the formulation of a new National Security Strategy based on the 2016 arbitral ruling that junked China's claims to parts of the West Philippine Sea, which President Rodrigo Duterte did not pursue.

Marcos last year said Duterte was employing "the right way" towards Beijing and its rejection of the ruling. 

Stratbase ADRi said there must be a clear, cohesive and consistent foreign policy direction prioritizing the country's national interest. 

Manhit added that the country must assert its rights, but must have a strategic approach when it comes to foreign policy. 

"They [new admin] need to hear the people also, that they would like us to be more assertive and protective of our maritime rights and territorial integrity. And if they have not heard that, we would like to share those studies to them," he said. 

The Philippines must form ties with nations that share common values on democracy and a rules-based approach and strengthen ties with more nations aside from China and the US, the group added. 

Scholars also want the new administration to prioritize agriculture and climate change.

They said climate change should not just be considered in connection with the environment, but as an issue that affects all sectors, and must therefore be given priority. The Philippines should shift away from greenhouse gas inventory-centric approach towards climate change adaptation anchored on sustainable development.

Other recommendations involve investments in the labor force, inequality, governance, accountability, transparency and responsiveness of government agencies, Manhit said.

Dr. Renato De Castro, Dr. Carlos Primo David, Dr. Francisco Magno, Dr. Toby Monsod, Dr. Ronald Mendoza, and Diwa Guinigundo are among the authors of the book.

The upcoming administration faces a myriad of challenges not only due to the local supply shortage in pork meat that is pushing inflation upwards, but also the impact of global events such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The country is also facing an escalated level of debt-to-GDP ratio coming from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said the next administration would inherit a better economy but also higher debt.

So far, the incoming administration under Marcos Jr has not yet presented its agenda nor announced its complete Cabinet appointments.

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