Philippine president seeks advice as country faces mounting economic troubles

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who previously had confessed his inadequacy on economic issues, is seeking help from people more fit in the subject. The move comes as economic growth and foreign investment sentiment are weakening and the country is struggling with a widening trade deficit which strongly expanded in July as imports posted their fastest gain in more than two years while exports barely grew.

Inflation and a peso weakening to the US dollar are also major concerns. Inflation accelerated to 6.4 per cent in the third quarter, prompting the Philippine central bank to respond with a rate hike of 50 basis points, its largest in a decade.

Amid the mounting economic problems, Duterte has sought the advice of controversial former president and current House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who has somehow taken on the role as the Philippines’ virtual co-president for economic affairs. Arroyo, a Western-trained economist, in fact brings much-needed experience and technocratic acumen to help the populist president.

Arroyo, a former economics professor, was Philippine president from 2001 to 2010. Her tenure was largely controversial owing to a spate of corruption scandals, which saw her going down in history as the most unpopular Filipino president so far.

Yet, she initiated a series of crucial economic reforms, including fiscal tightening and a stable monetary policy, which turned the Philippines into a new growth hub in the region. For this reason, Duterte and his cabinet members treat her with extreme deference, giving the former president unique influence within the current administration.

President Duterte had previously given virtual autonomy to his economic cluster led by Sonny Dominguez, Ernie Pernia and Ben Diokno. But they had been found lacking the political wit to turn things around. Some of Arroyo’s allies, including her former economic adviser Joey Salceda, have gone so far as calling on Duterte’s economic managers to resign.

 

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who previously had confessed his inadequacy on economic issues, is seeking help from people more fit in the subject. The move comes as economic growth and foreign investment sentiment are weakening and the country is struggling with a widening trade deficit which strongly expanded in July as imports posted their fastest gain in more than two years while exports barely grew.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who previously had confessed his inadequacy on economic issues, is seeking help from people more fit in the subject. The move comes as economic growth and foreign investment sentiment are weakening and the country is struggling with a widening trade deficit which strongly expanded in July as imports posted their fastest gain in more than two years while exports barely grew.

Inflation and a peso weakening to the US dollar are also major concerns. Inflation accelerated to 6.4 per cent in the third quarter, prompting the Philippine central bank to respond with a rate hike of 50 basis points, its largest in a decade.

Amid the mounting economic problems, Duterte has sought the advice of controversial former president and current House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who has somehow taken on the role as the Philippines’ virtual co-president for economic affairs. Arroyo, a Western-trained economist, in fact brings much-needed experience and technocratic acumen to help the populist president.

Arroyo, a former economics professor, was Philippine president from 2001 to 2010. Her tenure was largely controversial owing to a spate of corruption scandals, which saw her going down in history as the most unpopular Filipino president so far.

Yet, she initiated a series of crucial economic reforms, including fiscal tightening and a stable monetary policy, which turned the Philippines into a new growth hub in the region. For this reason, Duterte and his cabinet members treat her with extreme deference, giving the former president unique influence within the current administration.

President Duterte had previously given virtual autonomy to his economic cluster led by Sonny Dominguez, Ernie Pernia and Ben Diokno. But they had been found lacking the political wit to turn things around. Some of Arroyo’s allies, including her former economic adviser Joey Salceda, have gone so far as calling on Duterte’s economic managers to resign.

 

 

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