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Philippine Congress proclaims Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos winner of presidential election

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-05-25 18:17

Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos. [Photo/Xinhua]

MANILA - The Congress of the Philippines on Wednesday proclaimed Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos as the winner of the presidential election, succeeding Rodrigo Duterte, who will step down in June after six years in office.

Marcos, son of former president Ferdinand Marcos and popularly known as Bongbong, defeated incumbent Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, who earned over 15 million votes.

The joint session of the Congress also proclaimed Sara Duterte-Carpio, the 43-year-old daughter of Duterte and Marcos' running mate, as the winner of the vice-presidential race. Marcos and Duterte-Carpio garnered a majority of over 31 million votes each.

Marcos' 92-year-old mother, Imelda, attended the proclamation, along with his wife, sons and siblings. Marcos, who campaigned on a pledge to unite this Southeast Asian country of 110 million, will be inaugurated on June 30.

More than unity, Marcos assumes the presidency amid the economic and health challenges due to the pandemic.

The Marcos administration needs to address a slew of problems besetting the Philippines, such as unemployment, inflation, high debt-service ratio to the gross domestic product (GDP), as well as rocketing gas and oil prices.

The unemployment rate peaked at 17.6 percent in April 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic and has fallen to 5.8 percent in March this year, the lowest since the outbreak in January 2020 but still above the pre-pandemic level of 5.1 percent in 2019.

Government data showed that 23.7 percent of the country's nearly 110 million population lives in poverty.

The new administration will also inherit over 240 billion U.S. dollars in accumulated debt as of the end of March, mainly due to the COVID-19 expenses. Bureau of Treasury data showed that the country's debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 63.5 percent as of end-March, well over the internationally recommended threshold of 60 percent of the economy.

Managing inflation is also on the top of Marcos' to-do list.

The Philippine economy grew by 8.3 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2022. The government is optimistic that the solid first-quarter 2022 GDP growth will help the country attain its target of 7 to 8 percent growth this year.

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