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‘Better poll conduct, vote probe needed’

May 18, 2019

THE government should implement better measures in conducting its elections and resolve vote-buying to allow fair results to surface, according to several local and foreign business groups, which said Monday’s midterm polls were generally successful.

In an interview with The Manila Times on Thursday night, Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) President Rizalina Mantaring said that, although the May 13 elections had its shortcomings, these were inevitable, given their “magnitude.”

President Rizalina Mantaring. FB Photo

“While the Comelec (Commission on Elections) should continue to improve the system, we note that the counts being shown by the PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting) were consolidated independently of the Comelec count,” she added.

She also said the business sector, as well as investors, were on wait-and-see mode on what the government would do next after the polls, noting that “historically, election results have rarely impacted the economy.”

“Any change in [the] form of government, for instance, could cause investors to wait until they have a better idea of how it would impact their businesses,” Mantaring explained.

She also called for the investigation on claims of intimidation and harassment, as well as of vote-buying, which the head of the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI) said must “stop.”

On the sidelines of a forum on Thursday night, GPCCI President Tristan Arwen Loveres said efforts to monitor against that practice would facilitate “peaceful, honest and transparent elections.”

He wished the newly elected lawmakers to focus on measures and policies that would foster economic growth.

“We have to have government policies that are consistent [and] predictable. That would make it a level-playing field for the business,” Loveres said.

For her part, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) President Alegria Limjoco told The Times the country’s leaders must “continue with the economic agenda that is now putting our country [on] the map of the international business community.”

She challenged incumbent and incoming lawmakers to sustain the country’s global competitiveness to further boost economic growth.

“While many may have misgivings on the outcome of the elected candidates, this should not dissuade us from once again uniting and rallying our leaders,” she added.

For the British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (BCCP), it appreciated the fact the country was able to exercise its right to choose its new officials.

“Regarding the election itself, all I can say is that it seems to have gone reasonably well based on the reports. It is very good to see a vibrant democracy,” BCCP Chairman Christopher Nelson said in a phone interview.

“What we want to see now going forward is building upon what has occurred in the previous three months and looking forward on how to accelerate,” he added

He also challenged the new legislators to push for certain measures, including retail trade liberalization, ease of doing business and the continued implementation of the government’s infrastructure program.

Lastly, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) vowed to collaborate with the country’s new officials, trusting that they would work toward the best interest of the country.

“We stand ready to work with them in shaping a more inclusive and sustainable growth story for the Philippines through increased trade and investments,” ECCP President Nabil Francis told The Times on Friday.

Like Nelson, Francis called on legislators to push for policies and measures that would help more foreign direct investments to flow in the country, yield economic growth and generate jobs.

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