Roxas presidency in Philippines to have 'department of common sense'

Roxas presidency in Philippines to have 'department of common sense'
Filipino Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas.
PHOTO: Reuters

The Liberal Party presidential bet said it half in earnest, half in jest: A "Department of Common Sense" will be one of the hallmarks of a Mar Roxas presidency.

Addressing major players in the semiconductor and electronics industry on Friday night, Roxas talked for 30 minutes about macroeconomics under the Aquino administration, and how he intended to pursue the same "predictable and unchanging" economic policies, should he win the presidency.

Roxas acknowledged roadblocks in the ease of doing business in the Philippines, as well as rules and procedures in the bureaucracy that are no longer relevant.

"We need to create a 'Department of Common Sense,'" he said with a laugh.

"I say that in jest, but I'm serious," he said.

Roxas said there were procedures in business that used to make sense in the 1960s, 1970s and even 1990s, but had been superseded by technology.

"We need to consult our leaders, business people, even regular folk: Are all of these rules still necessary?" Roxas said without elaborating.

Appearing composed and self-assured, Roxas fielded questions from industry executives for 30 minutes, talking about various economic indicators, dropping figures off the top of his head.

He was one of the invited speakers at the general meeting of Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc. and 14th CEO's Forum at Bellevue Hotel in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

Look, no notes!

Talking to reporters afterward, Roxas pointed out how he spoke for a long time "without looking at notes."

He said he wanted to show this aspect of his personality to the people on the campaign trail, although he admitted that he was using a different language.

"The language here is macroeconomic terminology. But the economics of the greater masses is economics of the stomach, like 'Mr. Palengke,' or 'palengkenomics,'" he said.

Roxas said he would need to drive home the point that at the centre of his candidacy is the continuation of the "daang matuwid" (straight path) programme of the Aquino government.

"That's our capital. We are true to our programs, and the trust the people gave us in 2009, 2010," he said.

During his speech, he told the audience most elections drew outcries for change and the removal of those in power.

"Historically, maybe those calls were sound and valid. There's great deal of corruption, inefficiency, ineffectuality, and really the country was going from one crisis to another," he said.

"However, for those of you who have been here for a number of years and comparing the past five years to the past, I'm sure that you will note that there's relative stability over the last five years," Roxas said.

"And that is why for the first time in many generations, there is a legitimate call for continuity," he said.

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