Senator Edgardo J. Angara said gains achieved by the President in the past year must be followed through with greater investments in quality education, healthcare, agricultural productivity, and business efficiency.
As President Benigno Aquino III makes his third State of the Nation Address tomorrow, Angara said, "The country is eager to know where we are on the 'tuwid na daan'.
"First quarter growth was strong. We are just one notch below attaining investment grade for the first time ever. The unemployment rate also dropped to 6.9 percent in April," noted Angara, Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance.
"These indicators seem to be reflected in the sentiment of our people. Based on various surveys conducted by the SWS, total self-rated hunger and self-rated poverty have declined while net economic optimism is high," he added.
The Philippines was also one of the top gainers in the 2011-2012 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index, jumping from 85th spot to 75th.
"Admittedly, a lot more needs to be done. These are important gains nonetheless, and we want to know how the President plans to sustain these and use these as the foundation for more reforms," Angara said.
"For instance, we want to know the administration's viable long-term plan on education, both primary and higher education," said the veteran lawmaker called "Mr. Education" for having authored many of the landmark measures in the sector.
Angara also urged reforms in the areas of agriculture and fisheries, healthcare, and ease of doing business to further enhance the country's competitiveness in the ASEAN region.
"This is not the first that the country is in a similar position of promising economic takeoff. Unfortunately, we have always been unable to make growth sustainable. I hope we will not again let pass the opportunity to fulfill our economic potential." (30)