Budget chief counters Osmena’s description of Aquino's leadership

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

BUDGET Secretary Florencio Abad on Saturday hit administration senator Sergio Osmeña III for his "sweeping generalization" on President Benigno Aquino III's quality of leadership.

Contrary to Osmeña's description of Aquino as an "awful manager," the Budget chief said that the President's leadership and unique management have made possible the unprecedented gains that the Philippine economy is now seeing.

"We respect the views and even the frustration of Senator Osmeña on recent developments concerning the Philippine energy sector. With due respect, however, the good senator's comments on the quality of President Aquino's leadership is too sweeping a generalization. In many respects, the President’s skill as a manager has actually made it possible for the country to achieve several groundbreaking gains," he said.

"Through the President’s unique management style—one of rigor, attention to detail, a determined focus on measurable performance, and most of all, his deep commitment to his Social Contract with the Filipino people—he steered the country towards unprecedented economic expansion. His political will has been decisive in achieving important reforms," Abad added.

Abad said that Aquino's leadership has resulted in government spending within its means, investing in the right priorities, and pursuing reforms for measurable results.

He said that it was through the President's commitment to prudent fiscal management that allowed the country to reach investment-grade status as ranked by top international ratings agencies.

The President, he said, delivered on his commitment to contain the fiscal deficit from 3.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 to 1.4 percent in 2013; and to reduce the debt stock from 54.8 percent of GDP in 2009 to 49.2 percent in 2013.

"Through his leadership, the administration has been able to aggressively increase the Bureau of Internal Revenue's tax collections, which grew by 15 percent last year, without the need to enact new taxes except for Sin Tax Reform. At the same time, we were able to file successive cases against tax evaders and smugglers, as well as initiate reforms at the Bureau of Customs that no other Administration before had been able to pursue," he said.

Abad also said the President has directed his Cabinet to maximize scarce resources. This reshaped the National Budget towards more investments in social and economic services.

Abad also said that the administration is increasing infrastructure spending to 3 percent of GDP this year and towards the global benchmark of 5 percent of GDP by 2016. This, he said, is a lasting investment in the country's renewed economic competitiveness.

"The improved speed and quality of public spending during the current administration has significantly contributed to the country’s stellar GDP growth: at 7.2 percent in 2013, second only to China in the region. This alone demonstrates the effectiveness of the President’s leadership and unique management style," he said. (SDR/Sunnex)

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