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We would like to thank the Quezon City government, led by the progressive Mayor Herbert Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte-Alimurung, as well as the Gawad Parangal Committee led by Dr. Manuel Alba, for recognizing Go Negosyo as Quezon City’s Most Outstanding Institution. It is a big honor for our group, and the award inspires us to do even better in helping build an entrepreneurial nation.
It has been one week since the filing of the certificate of candidacy for all the national candidates, and from there we have seen the big number of aspirants especially for the president position. However, from the 130 presidential candidates who filed their COC, only four will be on top of every Filipinos mind.
But why is Election 2016 important? The next president needs to be a great leader who will pivot the country towards even greater progress, riding on the growth momentum in the last 10 years. More so in recent years, the kind of growth that is being emphasized is the one that is more inclusive, that benefits a wider base especially the bottom-of-the-pyramid.
In recent months, three presidential candidates have been leading the national surveys. These are Vice President Jejomar Binay, former Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas, and Sen. Grace Poe.
We have taken the initiative to gather our community of entrepreneurs to have the chance to meet up close the leading presidentiables and learn their strategic vision for the country, their platform and programs, especially in the field of entrepreneurship development and business. Go Negosyo is doing this in partnership with PLDT SME Nation, TV5, Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corp. and RFM Corp.
First to confirm was VP Binay and we had the entrepreneurs forum with him recently. The forum was moderated by Luchi Cruz-Valdes of TV5. The panelists were Mike Toledo, Dra. Vicki Belo, Haresh Hiranand, Henry Lim Bon Liong, Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez, and Go Negosyo’s Ramon Lopez.
The discussion focused on how he will help develop the SME sector. VP Binay acknowledged the importance of entrepreneurs and how they should be encouraged. He talked of improving further the ease in doing business just like what they did in Makati City, the need for micro finance and training.
Knowing his previous programs in Makati City tend to be more welfare-oriented, the VP was asked if his government would be one that would promote empowerment and hard work, or one that would be welfare-based. He clarified that basic needs assistance is given to those in most need, but we need to help entrepreneurial activities, especially the micro and those with small capital and revenues. For instance in Makati, he exempted sari-sari stores from LGU taxes and fees. This, as he said, will also be one of his key programs, to lower the tax and lessen the burden of the taxpayers.
Philippines is the 2nd highest in terms of personal income tax and the highest in corporate income tax compared to other Asean countries that is why the issue on tax reform must be addressed by the next president.
Another concern raised is our current traffic issue. Admittedly, he also suffers from this. He opined that the problem is implementation and monitoring. VP Binay shared that three Es must be strictly imposed: Enforcement, education, and engineering.
Henry Lim Bon Liong added about the conditional cash transfer (CCT), whether VP Binay would still continue this. VP Binay said he would continue the CCT but would focus on public healthcare and broadening the base, just like how he focused on this during his leadership in Makati.
Mike Toledo opened the discussion on foreign investments. Binay is open to amend the restrictive economic provisions in the constitution. Only the economic provisions, Binay emphasized. He said the 60 percent-40 percent ownership must be removed. “We must attract more foreign investors. More investors, more manufacturing, more employees, said Binay.
He was also asked about corruption allegations, and many are concerned this would affect the investment climate in the country. To this he answered, “I will explain to them that these are just allegations. Presumption of innocence. I will be coming up with programs to ensure an effective legal system”.
As an opposition candidate, VP Binay was also asked what are the top three good things from the Aquino administration he would continue. First, he would continue the fight against corruption, but he would introduce improvements. Second, he would continue programs for GDP development and infrastructure. And lastly, as mentioned earlier, he would continue the conditional cash transfer.
On a lighter note, when asked who would be part of his cabinet, he answered he would get only the best, the brightest, and the experienced, but he would not name names yet as they might be subjected to harassment.
This is just the first part of the Negosyo Talks: Meet the Presidentiables Series. Our next guest will be former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas on November. Watch out for the telecast of the next part of this series on TV5.