With a day or two before the national and local elections on May 9, supporters of presidential aspirant former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. expect him to win the highest post in the land based on pre-election survey results.
What can the Filipino people expect from a potential Marcos Jr. presidency if he wins?
Marcos Jr.'s political party, the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, has released over the past months a series of statements about their standard bearer's plans for the future if he wins. These plans tackle issues ranging from the economy to the Duterte administration's war on drugs.
The UniTeam has said that improving mass transport is the key to solving Metro Manila's traffic woes. In multiple statements, Bongbong Marcos has pledged to modernize the Pasig River Ferry System, make rides on the EDSA bus carousel permanently free, institutionalize bike lanes, and move government offices outside of Metro Manila.
Marcos Jr. has also pledged to focus on developing the country's digital infrastructure. Though his statement on the topic dated April 29 did not specify how his government would implement the program, the former senator said it would involve adapting "the best technologies that are around the world to the Philippine condition."
“Dapat we will find a way na kahit na malalayo, kahit na isolated, ay may signal kahit papano dahil kailangan na kailangan na natin iyan especially after the pandemic, we do everything on the internet,” Marcos Jr. said.
In an interview with CNN Philippines' Ruth Cabal, Marcos Jr. said he would focus on "jobs, jobs, jobs, prices, prices, prices" during his administration.
Based on statements made by the PFP, the former senator's plans to restore jobs lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic involve giving tax holidays and tax amnesties to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), providing "ayuda" to farmers, and achieving herd immunity against the coronavirus.
Marcos Jr., however, did not provide specifics as to how to make up for lost revenues due to tax holidays, fund the aid for farmers, or vaccinate around 70 million Filipinos.
The former senator also plans to boost the tourism and agricultural sectors through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), and restart the industrialization drive he said was started by his father, the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.
In a statement dated March 27, the younger Marcos said the country's economy is "very dependent" on the service sector, which contributed around 60 percent to the Philippines' Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021. For comparison, the industrial sector contributed 30.8 percent while the agricultural sector contributed 10 percent.
"If the manufacturing sector has shrunk, then we really have to go back and redesign that part of our economy for the simple reason that if we want to be involved in trade, then we have to have something to trade with," Marcos Jr. said.
The same statement said that during the industrialization drive made by Marcos Jr.'s father, the plan was to boost the agricultural sector first to secure the capital and capacity necessary for industrialization.
To address the country's high energy prices, Marcos Jr. said in a statement dated March 13 that his government would focus on the production, transmission, and distribution of electricity in the country.
This would involve the creation of new geothermal and hydroelectric power plants, and the expanded use of solar and wind power sources. Marcos Jr. also said he would push for the use of "Large Scale Battery Storage" to store unused energy generated by renewable sources.
Marcos Jr. also plans to revive the $2.2 billion Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, which has been mothballed. It is estimated that upgrading the 620-megawatt plant would take at least four years and cost $1 billion.
The statement said these energy initiatives would be funded through Public-Private Partnership.
During the course of his campaign, Marcos Jr. has said the UniTeam will include the Bicol Region in all of its programs, despite it being the home region of one of his rivals for the presidency, Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo.
Among these programs would be addressing brownouts in the region by exploring the use of renewable energy, and the revival of the "Bicol Express" train route.
Marcos Jr. said in a statement dated March 2 that the push to rehabilitate the nearly 500 kilometer-long train route is also part of ensuring continuity in President Rodrigo Duterte's P8 trillion "Build, Build, Build" program.
He said he is open to talks with big companies to finance the project via Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
Marcos Jr. has pledged to have the country's healthcare system "reorganized" when it came to funding to avoid controversies similar to those that happened in PhilHealth and the health department. He also said that an "organizational structure" would have to be organized to respond to another pandemic similar to COVID-19.
This is on top of pushing for Senate Bill 1573, or the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act authored by the late senator Miriam Santiago, which calls for the creation of a national health strategy for a pandemic, as well as the establishment of an emergency fund for such occurrences.
The former senator also said he aimed to push for another bill that would have the government pay for the health insurance of senior citizens.
When it comes to governance, Marcos Jr. said he is willing to make his own Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) open to the public. Though he added that the motive of those requesting the SALN of other officials should be examined by authorities.
“If the purpose is going to be political attack, then why would we want to do that when you already know the prospect?” the former senator said.
If a case was filed against a government official at the Ombudsman, Marcos Jr. said the SALNs of concerned officials could be given not to the public, but agents of the court.
The former senator has claimed that under his presidency, the Philippines would achieve what he called "food sovereignty" by increasing domestic food production while decreasing dependence on imports from outside the country.
The government would also help the agricultural sector by providing "production loans, inputs, technical support, techno demos, and post-harvest facilities" which Marcos Jr. claimed would also generate new jobs.
This is all on top of Marcos Jr.'s plan to have government subsidize the local price of rice to make it drop to P20 to P30 per kilo. According to the former senator, this would be done by having the Department of Agriculture and National Food Authority buy all the rice made by local farmers.
Marcos also said he would also have the Rice Tarrification Law amended and discourage the importation of rice in the country.
Analysts expect a potential Marcos government to borrow more money to fund the planned rice subsidy scheme.
The controversial National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) could get a boost from a potential Marcos presidency, as the former senator has said he would give "full support" for the group and its programs.
This would involve funding the NTF-ELCAC's Support to Barangay Development program, which provides P20 million to communities freed from communist insurgents.
But Marcos Jr. has also said his government would continue peace talks with communist rebels.
NTF-ELCAC officials, including spokesperson Lorraine Badoy, have been the subject of multiple complaints.
The complaint stemmed from several statements of the NTF-ELCAC purporting to an alleged alliance between the Communist Party of the Philippines-News People’s Army and presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo.
Marcos Jr. has said that the Philippines needed to be "friends with anyone" in case conflict arose between the United States and China.
In March, he said it is important for Manila to remember what was in the country's interest if both global powers came to blows.
Marcos Jr. also said in another statement that he would work with other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN and the United Nations in dealing with China. Manila currently has claims over portions of the South China Sea, which Beijing mostly claims as its own.
Marcos added that he would respond to potential Chinese harassment of Filipino fishermen by first explaining to Beijing that fishing vessels pose no threat. If repeated, Philippine Navy or Coast Guard vessels would be sent to the area to establish a military presence.
Maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal has called Marcos Jr.'s statements on Philippine foreign policy toward China "concerning", explaining that it mirrored the Duterte administration's accommodative attitude toward Beijing.
Batongbacal added, Chinese officials have voiced their favor for Marcos Jr., as he would be conducive to Manila-Beijing relations.
WAR ON DRUGS
Marcos Jr. has said that he would continue the Duterte administration's bloodywar on drugs, though he would focus more on other aspects aside from enforcement.
This would include the building of regional rehabilitation centers to help those victimized by illegal drugs.
The former senator has also said that government had to be more aggressive in teaching children the bad effects of illegal drugs by involving parents, schools, and even churches in the process.
President Duterte's commitment to fighting illegal drugs is considered one of the reasons why he won the presidential elections in 2016. But it has become the subject of scrutiny by the International Criminal Court due to alleged human rights abuses.
The Philippines withdrew from the ratification of the Rome Statute in 2019, the treaty that created the ICC.
The ICC still has jurisdiction over alleged human rights cases that happened while Manila was still a party to the statute, but Marcos has said he was not keen on allowing it to intervene in the country if he became Duterte's successor.
“Papayagan ko sila dito pero mag-turista lang sila. I do not see the need for a foreigner to come and do the job for us and do the job for our judicial system. Our judicial system is perfectly capable of doing that," Marcos Jr. said.