Arriba Economia Y Politica Key Speakers address PH Economic and Political Challenges and Opportunities

By: Samantha Bernardo
January 31, 2023

The annual event hosted by the graduate school brought together key individuals to discuss the state of the nation's economy and political viewpoints. Photo courtesy of Thomas Villanueva of The LANCE.

The Letran Graduate school in partnership with the Manila Times physically commences the Arriba Economia y Politica: 5th Economic and Political Briefing at the SC Auditorium today, January 31. 

Letran faculty member Ms. Joy Chavez and the Manila Times Editor Dafort Villaseran hosted the event. It started at 9:30 a.m and concluded at 12 noon and garnered 179 physical attendees and 569 Facebook live viewers.

Event organizers— Assoc. Prof. Emmanuel J. Lopez, Letran Graduate school Dean, and Dante “Klink” Francis Ang II, Chairman of the Manila Times, welcomed the participants. Remarks from Assoc. Prof. Lopez indicated how the forum will expound the implications of economics and politics in the country, while Ang II, mentioned that the celebrated 7.2% Gross Domestic Production growth for the Fourth Quarter of 2022 is just one of the many indicators of economic growth.

The first key speaker is the Department of Finance’s Assistant Secretary Eufrocinio Bernabe Jr.  who reassured the audiences of the Philippines’ stable economy, despite public clamor. He cited the high GDP rate driven by consumer spending, lower unemployment rate, higher labor force participation rate. He also mentioned that in the midst of Inflation, the country relatively managed to keep the economy afloat because of medium and long-term fiscal frameworks that the government has prepared, including the recently launched Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028.

The second key speaker is the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Secretary General Ruben Pascual. Sec. Gen. Pascual is optimistic about the Philippine’s future, he cited the Hongkong Shanghai Bank forecast that says in 2050, the Philippines will be the 16th best economy in the world. He expounded this belief with two primary reasons—the country has big untapped natural resources which have huge potential in mining and sunshine industries, and the country has a demographic sweet spot with a young population.

During the first open forum moderated by the Hungry Workhorse CEO and The Manila Times Business Columnist Rey Lugtu, Assoc. Prof. Lopez raised the concern that consumer driven GDP is unstable as compared to investment based GDP. In the same open forum, the Community and Extension Department (CED) inquired as to what the government’s plan is in preserving our natural resources.

The last key speaker is the Manila Times’ Chairman Emeritus Dante Ang who unconventionally provoked a national discussion on the topic— Why do the Filipinos remain poor? He raised various points from normalized corruption at all levels of the government, unresolvable political dynasties, flawed electoral process, problematic partylist system, inefficient Telcos and their false advertising, and broken higher education system. In essence, Mr. Ang believes that there is too much concentration on politics, he insisted that instead of learning politics, the youth should learn relevant skills for livelihood and critical thinking. Furthermore, he reinforced the idea of a president as a true statesman who is above partisan politics and vanity. 

In the second part of the open forum, students got to ask Mr. Ang regarding his stand on the Maharlika Investment Fund, dissemination of false information in social networking sites, and the role of the youth in the development of the country. Mr. Ang answered that the youth collectively have the opportunity to disturb the culture and change the culture and it starts with asking questions and  electing good honest competent leaders. 

The event concluded with a closing remark from the Rector and President of the Colegio, Rev. Fr. Clarence Marquez, O.P, SThD.

Arriba Economia y Politica is an initiative by the Graduate School in partnership with the Manila Times that started in 2018. It prevailed during the Covid-19 pandemic and resumed its physical operations this year.