MALACAÑANG disputed yesterday international debt-watcher Standard & Poor’s analysis that President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs and tough rhetoric “diminished somewhat” the predictability of economic policy-making in the Philippines.
Despite the President’s choice of words and spats with global leaders and institutions, the government will continue to implement existing agreements and contracts, Trade chief Mon Lopez told Palace reporters.
“Policy making has not changed. The policy to honor all contracts, protect investments are still here to give investors peace of mind,” Lopez said.
Lopez said the government continues to work on a free trade agreement with the European Union even after Duterte cursed the organization for asking at least 28 embassies in the Philippines to look into possible human rights violations amid the government’s intensified campaign against narcotics, Lopez said.
The government expects to finalize the free trade agreement with the EU by December.
The government’s ongoing war on drugs should also increase investor confidence instead of diminishing it as it is proof of the President’s commitment to make the country drug-free and safe, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar insisted.
The drop in crime rate and the “consumer optimism that soared at the start of Duterte’s presidency” should be enough proof that the Philippines has become a more sound investment destination under the new government, Andanar said.
President Rodrigo Duterte brushed aside credit rating agencies’ views on the country’s economic standing.
“Tapos sabihin nitong mga BB plus, credit. Wala akong pakialam sa inyo [And they raise this BB plus, credit. I don’t care about you],” the President said.
The Philippines has a BBB rating from S&P. It also enjoys investment grade status with Moody’s Investor Service and Fitch Ratings.
An investment grade rating means the country can sell government securities to a wider pool of investors, giving it a better shot at raising funds for sorely-needed development projects.