Over 130 Filipino economists, including ex-NEDA chiefs, back Robredo's presidential bid

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 11) — Vice President Leni Robredo has secured the support of 137 economists, including former economic managers, in her bid to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a list issued Friday, five former directors-general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) are among the economists who have expressed support for the candidacy of Robredo, namely Cielito Habito, Emmanuel Esguerra, Dante B. Canlas, Ernesto M. Pernia, and Solita Collas-Monsod.

Former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo and economist-lawmaker Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo also signed the statement of support for the opposition leader.

"At this time when our country is struggling to recover from its deepest economic crisis since the 1980s, we believe that government’s role has never been more indispensable," the statement read.

"We are convinced that only a competent leadership can restore the people’s trust and confidence in government enabling it to effectively preside over the collective effort of economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic," it also said.

"We share the hope of a majority of our people for an economic recovery that does not merely reproduce the inequities in our pre-pandemic society but eradicates their sources and expands economic and social opportunities for all in a level playing field," it added.

The 137 signatories said Robredo is the "best hope" to regain Filipinos' trust in the government as she is offering "a solid economics and legal background" that could drive the country's recovery from COVID-19.

The economists have also taken into consideration Robredo's decades-long stint as a human rights lawyer at the grassroots level, calling this "a genuine concern for the plight of the poor and marginalized".

"This will be crucial not just in bringing back people’s trust in government, but also in making sure that economic recovery improves the lives of Filipinos from all walks of life," they stated.

They also pointed out Robredo's "proven track record of hands-on leadership and good governance," especially when COVID-19 struck the Philippines, pushing the Office of the Vice President to quickly mobilize and refocus its efforts to boost the government's pandemic response.

Robredo's detailed pandemic recovery plan released in November, where she seeks to beef up the health and education sectors, and fight hunger, has also been lauded.

READ: Strengthen healthcare system, fight hunger, continue learning: Robredo details pandemic recovery plan

"Bad governance is a poison that kills both lives and livelihoods," the economists pointed out. "The pandemic made that clear. Robredo’s brand of good governance is the antidote this country needs in order to build back better from the twin crises plaguing our health and economy exacting a huge toll on the different sectors of the country."

"Her leadership will also lend our country much-needed credibility on the world stage," they said, believing in Robredo's capacity to "revitalize" partnerships in the global economy and stand up for the national sovereignty.

"We invite our colleagues in other disciplines and groups to join us in supporting VP Robredo, so that we may begin to rebuild our faltering institutions, restore our faith in government, and rebuild the foundations for shared prosperity and dignity," the economists also said.