LIGAO CITY, Nov. 8 (PNA) -- Massive infrastructure investment guided by the new development paradigm of "Daang Matuwid" (straigth path) can make the country’s economy sustainable and competitive in the coming years.
This is the observation of Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Manuel Roxas II, who was guest speaker during Friday's “Pasasalamat sa Daang Matuwid” forum attended by some 2,000 LP local candidates from Albay’s third district led by Congressman Fernando Gonzales and Ligao City Mayor Patty Gonzales-Alsua.
“There’s a need to continue the reforms that have been started in 2010 under the Aquino administration,” said Roxas who is competing against independent candidate Sen. Grace Poe and incumbent Vice President Jejomar Binay of he United Nationalist Alliance(UNA).
He said the straight, honest and sincere political leadership of President Aquino has made the country “Asia’s Bright Spot” compared to the “Sick Man of Asia” before.
Roxas said infrastructure budget starting with Php160 billion in 2010 has tripled to more than Php580 billion.
Part of the infrastructure build-up is the Bicol International Airport which is now being constructed in Barangay Alobo in Daraga, Albay.
He said the new international airport can accommodate more foreign and local tourists as well as address the constraints of the existing Legazpi City airport, which is 44 kilometers from Mayon Volcano.
“So all of these are part of the infrastructure investment through the Daang Matuwid,” said Roxas.
He took his economics degree at the Wharton School of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1979 and after graduation, worked for seven years as an investment banker in New York, then became an assistant vice president of the New York-based Allen & Company.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda agreed with Roxas’ view that infrastructure investment is the key to higher growth in the coming years.
“President Aquino has many big projects that was approved and will be completed under the new administration of Mar Roxas if he becomes president in 2016,” said Salceda in a previous interview.
Salceda said a higher gross domestic product average growth rate of 6.2 percent can be achieved in the coming years.
“The focus will be in infrastructure—massive infrastructure build-up to have an impact on joblessness ,” he said. Salceda said the true middle class in the country and their income is about 74 percent based on global income standards.
He said salary analysts pegged the income of the middle class in the country from US$ 2 to US$ 10 a day.
So above US$ 10 a day is just 10 percent only, resulting in a diminishing middle class,” said Salceda.
He said boosting infrastructure can at least help 15 million families out of the 75 percent with low-income middle class can be given a transit to go up.
Salceda took his Master in Business Management degree (with distinction) at the Asian Institute of Management in 1990 and work for ING Barings as Research Director until 1995 and moved to Swiss Bank Corp. (SBC) Warburg as its research director until 1997.(PNA) CTB/FGS/AT/CBD/PJN