Duterte offers huge economic potential


    THE Duterte administration offers a bigger potential for Philippine economic growth given missed opportunities in previous governments, according to Dan Steinbock, a geopolitics and economic analyst.

    Duterte only has to capitalize on his huge popularity and sustain economic as well as political reforms, he said in an interview.

    “I really believe that Philippines has a big potential considering that it now has good relations with many countries. [It applies] urbanization, industrialization, and many more. And if you have this, you can continue to have this peace and stability for many years in a row,” Steinbock, also a The Manila Times columnist, said on Wednesday.

    Steinbock said previous administrations missed opportunities for growth and development after World War 2. It has been almost three decades since the “golden age” of the Philippine economy and half a century past World War 2, he said.

    But growth was not sustained from the 1950s or 1960s, he said.

    “Why didn’t these opportunities happen after 1945? The Philippines was one of the most developed economies in the region at the time after all,” he told reporters in a Quezon City forum.

    A boom-and-bust cycle was also seen after Martial Law – 3.4 percent growth under President Corazon Aquino, 3.73 under President Fidel Ramos, 2.7 percent under President Joseph Estrada, 4.79 percent under President Gloria Arroyo, and 6.1 percent under President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

    Under Duterte, growth has averaged 6.9 percent, Steinbock pointed out.

    He said foreign policy recalibration, the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law, and the planned shift to a federal form of government indicated that Duterte “actualizes” the country’s potentials.

    ‘PH now more attractive to investors’

    Moreover, Duterte made the Philippines “more attractive” to investors, Steinbock said.

    For instance, Japan invested less than $1 billion under six years of Benigno Aquino 3rd, but poured $12 billion in just a year under Duterte, he said.

    “This trend attracted the Singaporeans, Malaysian, and even the United States of America to invest more,” he said.

    Steinbock acknowledged criticism over the Philippines’ renewed relationship with China, which set aside a territorial dispute.

    “There are always bad apples and good apples, just like with any other country including Japanese, American, and Filipinos. The challenge and opportunity for the Filipinos is to cooperate and utilize partnerships with reputable partners for the benefit of the Filipinos,” he said.

    Anvil Business Club Chairman George Siy, who was also in the forum, noted that Philippines-China ties have historically resulted in massive inflows and income from bilateral trade.

    “Never have the opportunities been closer to the Philippines…larger, more diverse, or the means to achieve them so easily within our reach, and cheaper to finance,” Siy said.

    “There will always be obstacles, advantages, and disadvantages, but we must not only be resilient but entrepreneurial, creative, and work for the collective good,” he added.


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