The local business community pledged to keep track of the promises the presidential candidates made during the 41st Philippine Business Conference.
Presidential candidates Mar Roxas, Grace Poe, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, and Jejomar Binay lay on the table their plans on priority bills, tax reform, human capital and infrastructure investments, and constitutional amendments.
“Basically, their opening statements talked of the same things and the questions that were asked of them were similar. At the very least, we have a record of what they promised us and if they win, we will hold them accountable for what they promised,” businessman Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr. told Inquirer.net.
However, Ortiz-Luis Jr. was disappointed of the lack of talks on strengthening the competitiveness of medium, small and micro-sized enterprises when this type of enterprises make up 99 percent of the registered businesses in the country.
“I am looking for a leader who has the political will, and can make decisions whether popular or unpopular. When you say it, you do it,” said Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) president Alfredo M. Yap who believes that political will is essential in attaining sustainable and inclusive growth.
The conference gave presidential candidates the chance to answer issues targeted at them.
Defensor-Santiago, when asked why she refused to release her medical records answered, “Have you seen anything, any provision under Philippine law that requires any candidate for any office to show his or her medical records?”
“What right does someone walking on the street have to suddenly ask you: “Do you have medical records?” What have I done? Why should I surrender my medical records?” Santiago added.
Vice President Binay downplayed the corruption allegations against him, claiming that it is only “a conspiracy of all sectors.”
“The Philippine tax system is 20 years old. It needs to be overhauled. I promise to reform it within six months of my administration,” said Sen. Santiago.
Roxas claimed that he is always open to reducing income taxes but said that “we should look at this soberly, maturely, responsibly and certainly not in the heat of publicity.”
“Any reduction of income tax is reduction of service. Any reduction of the income tax will lead to a reassessment of the investment rate ranking of the country. What does it do to the government? What does it do to the services, infrastructure, and the economy that all of you are benefiting right now?” he said.
Poe, on the other hand, strongly supports income tax reduction. “ From 2011 until the present, we have about 600 billion in asset funds in the government and reducing taxes will only take away 30 billion,” she said.