BARELY a year into the presidency, political stability still haunts the Duterte administration despite what seems to be a “very good” trust rating expressed by 8 out of 10 Filipinos in his leadership. Administration haters, although “severely marginal,” make it appear that they are a plurality from the political tirades that only magnify their pathetic plight, which in the end merely shows their hopeless political fanaticism.
Since the last quarter of 2016, the economy has been relentless in its growth, as shown by GDP growth of 6 to 7 percent, the highest for the past two years. The modest optimism that characterizes the current administration has weathered all the local and international criticism as shown by the positive developments in the business front, overshadowing the denigrations from the political and lawless schemes of the so-called infuriated minority.
The proper placement of government expenditures for the remaining term of the Duterte administration will provide the much-needed pump-priming mechanism for economic growth. The majority of Filipinos both sympathetic and unsympathetic to this administration should benefit from the expected advancement at the end of the Duterte regime.
The seriousness of purpose to implement a no-mincemeat government leadership seems to underscore the current desperate moves of people in the opposite fence to disparage at all cost this administration which has shown consistent leadership strength never seen before, and will hopefully place the Philippine economy on an unprecedented development track sans the graft and corruption and bureaucratic red tape that characterized previous regimes. This desperate move coming from “restless personalities” is meant to ensure the opposition’s political survival lest it forever be consigned to oblivion. It was bound to go extinct sooner than expected, unless radical measures were made.
Infrastructure’s golden years
The proposed infrastructure spending of the Duterte administration, which is estimated to be at around P3 trillion, spread over the next six years, will qualify the period 2017-2022 as the “golden years of Philippine infrastructure.” This will undoubtedly bring unprecedented development and growth to the Philippine economy which will put us in the world map as the new economic tiger of the modern era.
The latest updates reveal the optimistic mood that prevails among our investors and surveys indicate the people’s confidence in a government that is highly trusted. Despite some condemnation from misinformed foreign and local parties about the government’s war on drugs, the economy’s positive performance has undermined the negative information, proving to all and sundry the satisfaction of the Filipinos, who in the long run are the beneficiaries of the growth of the local economy.
The projected GDP growth rate of 7 percent as floated by mainstream economists is for me is very conservative because domestic economic activity should and will accelerate in the third and fourth quarter this year. First-quarter GDP of 6.8 percent was achieved despite an accelerated inflation of more than 3 percent because of a productive economy and high level of investment, complemented by a booming export market. The export component of economic growth never had it so good in terms of what they offer for the last quarter.
With the anticipated ease and improvement in urban traffic in the next few years, it is expected that the government can sustain nearly double-digit growths in the next years and beyond. And this will highlight the departure from mediocre progress to a more responsive economy that will prioritize the needs of the people.
The author is the chair of the Department of Economics of the University of Santo Tomas. For comments email firstname.lastname@example.org