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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Business leaders expect security to overshadow economy in SONA

LOCAL business leaders said they don’t expect President Rodrigo Duterte to talk about business nor the economy when he delivers his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) at 3 p.m. today.

Instead, Filipino Cebuano Business Club President Rey Calooy expects the President to talk about peace and order, drugs and criminality.

“Dili siguro kaayo ma-emphasize ang business ug atong economy because Duterte has prioritized (solving) criminality,” Calooy told Sun.Star Cebu.

Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) Cebu Chair Allan G. Suarez Jr. said last Saturday that he expects Duterte to include in his speech his call for federalism and freedom of information.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar announced yesterday that Duterte has signed an executive order mandating full public disclosure of all offices under the executive branch. Andanar said the President signed his second EO last July 23, Saturday.

Like Calooy, Suarez said the business sector does not expect Duterte to mention them.

“That (business) is not his forte…But whatever he needs, the business sector will support and work to see them through,” Suarez said in a text message.

Cebu Bankers Club President Maximo Rey Eleccion said he would like the President to articulate the administration’s programs that would help the economy’s gains trickle down to the masses, and also on tax reforms and the bank secrecy law.

“(The) first few days of his administration are very promising. The Filipinos have very high hopes for his presidency and the business community is satisfied with the first few days of his administration. We expect him to talk about tax reforms and collection efficiency. Since bank reforms are already in place, we do not expect him to have some policy changes except perhaps on the bank secrecy law and AMLA (Anti Money Laundering Act),” Eleccion said.

Eleccion noted that there should be stricter AMLA laws following the Bangladesh scam.

If there would be any mention of the business sector, Calooy said this would not be about large corporations, but about micro-entrepreneurs and countryside development.

Duterte’s SONA organizers have scrapped red carpet arrivals and insisted on the “business attire” dress code for today’s SONA. The annual report to Congress, which the Constitution requires, also affords the president the opportunity to ask legislators to act on his administration’s agenda and priorities.
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