President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. marked his first year in office on June 30.
Since he was sworn in as the 17th President of the Philippines, the country has seen a myriad of highs and lows: He met with various world leaders to strengthen our ties with other states—and while there was a remarkable GDP growth in 2022, he faced a continuing battle against inflation and increasing debt levels this year, among other challenges as the Philippines recovers from a global pandemic.
How did Marcos Jr. do in his one-year mark as head of state? Here’s a look at some key points of his presidency thus far—by the numbers.
Number of votes in the May 2022 polls: 31,629,783
Marcos Jr. won a landslide presidential election victory with over 31 million votes in May 2022, making him the first majority president since 1986.
He took his oath of office a month later and assured Filipinos of a "future of sufficiency" over the course of his term.
International trips: 13
He made 13 foreign trips in his first 12 months as president: two in Indonesia for a state visit and the 42nd ASEAN Summit; two in Singapore for a state visit and the Formula 1 Grand Prix; and another two in the United States for the 77th United Nations General Assembly and a meeting with US President Joe Biden.
He also visited Cambodia for the 40th ASEAN Summit, Thailand for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, Belgium for the ASEAN-European Union Summit, China for a state visit, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum, Japan for an official visit, and the United Kingdom for the coronation of King Charles III.
While he has been criticized by the public for “traveling too frequently,” Marcos Jr., in February this year, announced that his official out-of-the-country trips have generated 116 projects worth P3.4 trillion in investments. As noted by the Philippine Information Agency, such “will soon boost the country’s economy and provide more jobs for Filipinos.”
Job sector: 4.5% unemployment rate, 12.9% underemployment rate as of April 2023
In terms of livelihood, The Philippine STAR reported in early June that the Philippine Statistics Authority saw a decline in the unemployment rate, from 5.7% in April 2022 to 4.5% in April 2023.
Job quality also got better with the drop in underemployment rate, from 14% in April 2022 to 12.9% in April 2023.
International visitor arrivals: from 254,309 (June 2022) to 434,227 (December 2022)
Citing “further gains” for the tourism industry, the Department of Tourism said the total visits under the Marcos Jr. administration increased from 254,309 in June 2022 to 434,227 in December 2022. From the time that the country reopened its borders for all types of travelers from February to December last year amid the COVID-19 crisis, the Philippines had a total of 2.65 million international visitor arrivals.
GDP: 7.6% (2022)
A remarkable feat at the start of Marcos Jr.’s presidency is the acceleration of the country’s Gross Domestic Product to 7.6% in 2022, which, according to PSA head Dennis Mapa, marked the highest record since 1976.
Highest inflation rate: 8.7%
Inflation remains to be one of the biggest challenges of the current administration as it reached its highest in over 14 years in January at 8.7%. The STAR, in a February report, said this was mainly because of “higher housing and utility costs and food prices.”
The PSA noted it has slowed down in the past months—from 6.6% in April to 6.1% in May.
Philippine debt: P13.91 trillion
According to the Bureau of Treasury, the national government’s total outstanding debt ballooned by the end of April, reaching P13.91 trillion.
The BTr pointed out that its increase from the previous month was due to the “net issuance of external debt and local currency depreciation against the US dollar.”
Approval and trust ratings: 78% and 80%
Marcos Jr. gained a 78% approval rating and an 80% trust rating in the latest Pulse Asia survey.
Around 5% of Filipinos who took part in the poll disapproved of him, while 5% said they had “little or no trust” in the politician.
Cabinet resignations: 4
At least four of the President’s original Cabinet appointees have left the administration. Vic Rodriguez stepped down as executive secretary in September 2022, Trixie Cruz-Angeles as press secretary and Jose Calida as Commission on Audit chairperson in October 2022, and Clarita Carlos as national security adviser in January 2023.
Jose Faustino Jr. and Carlito Galvez Jr. also left their posts at the Department of National Defense but they only served as officers-in-charge before Gibo Teodoro was named the President’s first permanent defense chief.
Cabinet vacancies: 1
Marcos Jr. has yet to appoint a permanent chief for the Department of Agriculture, where he has been temporarily taking on the role since he entered office.
"As to agriculture, I think the problem is severe enough that I have decided to take on the portfolio of Secretary of Agriculture at least for now," the Philippine leader said in a press conference in June 2022.
"I thought it is important that the president take that portfolio so that not only to make it clear to everyone what a high priority we put on the agri sector but also as a practical matter so that things move quickly because the events of the global economy are moving very quickly," he added.
'Incomplete grade' as Secretary of Agriculture
As stated in a June 30 report by The STAR, the President gave himself an “incomplete” grade in his first year as agri chief. “I saw a report earlier this morning where one of the economists said ‘The grade that I will give the President for agriculture is incomplete.’ I agree with him. We are not yet done. We still have a lot to do. There are many things that we still need to do,” he told the press at a recently concluded event.
For Marcos Jr., they still have a “long way to go” when it comes to solving the country’s problems. “Well, you know the delivering of promises is a work in progress. It’s not something that you say, ‘It’s done. I finished it.’ This is an ongoing process,” he added.
What lies ahead
In an interview with PhilSTAR L!fe, political analyst Dindo Manhit said that Marcos Jr. and his camp “surprised” a lot of individuals—“even those who are critical of the administration”—with his performance in his first year in office. He commended Marcos Jr. for his “strong assertion” in terms of our territorial integrity and maritime rights, his approval of the Philippine Development Plan for the country’s economic recovery, and his move to sign an executive order for an open government partnership.
Manhit said a “consistent” weak spot in Marcos Jr.’s presidency thus far has been the issue of inflation. “Of course, it takes a lot effort and resources to address, but we hope that our government can put effort in the resources allocated to ensure that our food security will be used properly, focus on more strategies, and be more responsive to the general public.”
As the government transitions to its second year, the “learning curve” is over, said Manhit. “You should know what you need to do,” he explained, pointing out the needs of the public such as basic services, education, social welfare, and healthcare, among others.
“But on one hand, I remember the words of the President: ‘Hindi ayuda kundi trabaho ang gusto ng tao.’ I agree with him on that,” Manhit said. “How can the government create an environment or business to invest more if they don’t create more jobs? As they create more jobs, they can generate better livelihood, better income for our people.”
That being said, the challenge now for the Marcos Jr. administration is to have a growth trajectory “that’s not driven only by consumption” but also one that is side-by-side with other factors like investments. “That is, I feel, what lies ahead. They need to ensure that it would happen—that the foundations of that kind of growth will happen.”
For political analyst Jean Franco, the “formidable team with competence and enough experience” that Marcos Jr. has appointed during his term “says a lot about his desire to fix things and to recover whatever it is that we’ve lost during the pandemic.”
She, however, is still waiting to see a “bombastic agenda that would energize the entire nation.”
For Franco, Marcos Jr. seems to have been “bent on revitalizing the family name” ever since he kicked off his presidency. While she acknowledges his reasons for it, she thinks that it could cost him some political allies in the long run as they could also have their own agenda.
“Because of his popularity, his political allies could still continue to support him. But then, of course, let’s see whether that will still be the case in the run-up to the 2028 elections,” she told L!fe.
“Maaaring sa 2025, they will still be there. But if he keeps on reviving the family name, the effect of that is people could fear that another Marcos will seek power again come 2028. For those who are interested in 2028, that might be a concern for them,” she explained.
As he pushes through with his presidential term, what’s the best thing can Marcos Jr. do? Franco kept her answer short and simple: “Do something that is not expected of a Marcos.”