Date
25 May 2017
Rodrigo Duterte plans to spread the policies that helped the economy of the Davao region expand 9.4 percent in 2014, the fastest in the Philippines. Photo: AFP
Rodrigo Duterte plans to spread the policies that helped the economy of the Davao region expand 9.4 percent in 2014, the fastest in the Philippines. Photo: AFP

New Philippines finance chief defends Duterte to investors

Carlos Dominguez, the incoming finance chief of the Philippines, is trying to reassure investors that his new boss is a pragmatic leader, Bloomberg reports.

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will build on the gains that have made the Southeast Asian economy one of the fastest growing in the world, Dominguez said in an interview.

While Duterte has made the headlines mainly for his brashness, foul language and anti-crime rhetoric — including threats to kill criminals — Dominguez wants investors to look beyond that to Duterte’s track record as mayor of Davao City.

Duterte plans to spread the policies that helped the wider Davao region, which includes the city, expand 9.4 percent in 2014, the fastest in the country, Dominguez said.

“He has done it by, first of all, assuring there is peace and order, that the laws are fair and uniformly implemented, and he has been business-friendly,” Dominguez, a childhood friend of Duterte and a former agriculture secretary under the late president Corazon Aquino in the 1980s, said.

“You can ask the medium- and small-sized businesses, and I think they will all tell you that the president-elect runs a city where the red tape is minimal, where corruption is absent in all levels, where the laws are strictly implemented,” he said.

“Just look at that and judge for yourselves.”

Duterte, who will take office on June 30, inherits an economy that grew faster than China last quarter, won its first investment-grade credit rating under outgoing President Benigno Aquino and has ample fiscal room for the new government to boost spending.

Duterte plans to pursue policies that will create jobs, boost economic growth and lead to higher credit ratings, Dominguez said.

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