MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo's bid to be the next Philippine leader has secured the endorsement of at least 137 economists, including 5 former heads of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) during different administrations.
The group said Robredo "is our best hope to turn the tide and bring back the people’s trust in government in order to restore and sustain vigor to people’s lives and livelihoods at the soonest possible time."
Those who signed the statement include Ernesto Pernia, former NEDA chief of President Rodrigo Duterte, whose drug war, pandemic management, and stance on the West Philippine Sea had been criticized by Robredo.
Other former NEDA chiefs who backed Robredo include Solita Monsod, who served under Cory Aquino; Cielito Habito of the Fidel Ramos administration; Dante Canlas from Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's administration; and Emmanuel Esguerra from Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's administration.
Economist-lawmaker Stella Quimbo and former BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo also signed the statement of support for Robredo.
They said Robredo, who has an economics degree from University of the Philippines Diliman, offers "a solid economics and legal background which will be necessary for crafting policies to accelerate economic recovery."
Robredo showed "a genuine concern for the plight of the poor" as former lawyer for the disadvantaged, which "will be crucial not just in bringing back people’s trust in government, but also in making sure that economic recovery improves the lives of Filipinos from all walks of life," said the group.
They also said the opposition leader "has a proven track record of hands-on leadership and good governance."
They added that her COVID recovery plan provides a coherent and comprehensive strategy to address the lack of jobs, record hunger, and need for economic and education aid.
"Bad governance is a poison that kills both lives and livelihoods. The pandemic made that clear," said the economists.
"Robredo’s brand of good governance is the antidote this country needs in order to build back better from the twin crises plaguing our health and economy exacting a huge toll on the different sectors of the country. Her leadership will also lend our country much-needed credibility on the world stage."