As the clear frontrunner, Marcos Jr. is on track to win the general election in May
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s likely victory will mean policy continuity, including a focus on infrastructure spending and improvements in the business environment, such as through tax reforms. Firms should account for a high likelihood scenario of a victory for Marcos Jr. in the upcoming elections.
Marcos Jr. has four broad plans if elected to power:
1. Invest in infrastructure – Continue the Build, Build, Build program initiated by Rodrigo Duterte in his post-pandemic development plan. Marcos emphasized the need to upgrade and expand the country’s aging seaports, airports, and railways. He also highlighted the need for port automation, computerization, and artificial intelligence to increase efficiency and prevent port congestion, which will lead to lower shipping costs.
2. Improve the business environment – Implement a wide range of measures, including tax reforms, support for MSMEs, credit scores for small enterprises, and full foreign ownership allowances in telecommunications, airlines, domestic shipping, and railways. Marcos plans to accelerate the industrialization of key sectors, such as agriculture, to create more jobs for Filipinos.
3. Focus on renewable energy – Develop clean and renewable energy sources, such as hydropower, geothermal, wind, and solar. Renewable energy sources will help reduce electricity bills and attract more foreign direct investment to the country.
4. Develop stronger ties with China and US – Negotiate a deal with China to resolve the territorial dispute in the South China Sea, while fostering ties with the US and Russia. Marcos’s stance is similar to Duterte’s, who has warmed ties with China, while maintaining the Southeast Asian nation’s alliance with the US.
We expect Marcos Jr. to win the upcoming May 9 presidential election due to his consistently strong performance in polls, even as current Vice President Leni Robredo gained some ground in a recent poll. As Marcos Jr.’s policy orientation is similar to Duterte’s, we expect Marcos Jr. to not only continue but expand policy measures put in place by Duterte. However, firms that depend on government projects for their business should note that surging commodity prices will likely have an impact on the fiscal space available to the government. This means that expansionary budget measures announced by the government in December 2021 and policy promises from presidential candidates may undergo revisions in the face of a changing global macroeconomic landscape.
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