Asia Minute: Philippines’ new president is talkative on the economy, silent on human rights
The new president of the Philippines is promising economic changes for its more than 112 million residents. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. made the remarks in his initial State of the Nation Address — which did not include any mention of human rights.
The new leader says he wants to slash poverty in his country — which now touches nearly a quarter of the population.
He also wants to boost economic growth, reform taxes, and increase the use of renewable energy — and nuclear power. Currently, nearly half the country’s electricity comes from coal.
In his first State of the Nation Address, Marcos acknowledged the Philippines faces challenges.
“I do not intend to diminish the risks and challenges that we face in this turbulent time in global history,” he said, adding, “I see sunlight filtering through these dark clouds.”
He’s targeting economic growth this year of 6.5% to 7.5% — more optimistic than the World Bank’s forecast of 5.7%.
By the end of his six-year term, Marcos says the poverty rate will be in the single digits.
He laid out a 19-point legislative agenda, but beyond a call for a moratorium on debt payments for farmers, most policy promises were short on details.
He also did not mention the drug war of his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte — and the estimated tens of thousands killed as part of it.
Nor did he talk about civil unrest, corruption, or crackdowns on the media.