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Category: Phillippines

The analysis published under this category are as follows.

Politics

Monday, March 18, 2019

Development Should Guide US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty Review / Politics / Phillippines

By: Dan_Steinbock

In times of great uncertainty, strategic ambiguity offers little clarity. The review of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty should be guided by the quest for sovereignty and economic development.

During his recent visit in the Philippines, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad met Murad Ebrahim, the Filipino Muslim rebel leader who became a regional governor under the Malaysian-brokered peace deal. In the course of the meeting, Mahathir told to Murad that “it’s easy to shoot and kill, but it’s difficult to develop. If there is peace, then everything will come.”

Mahathir’s words offer guidance in intra-country divides, but also in inter-country friction, including the review of the decades-old Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States.

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Economics

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Shift of the Philippine Peso Regime / Economics / Phillippines

By: Dan_Steinbock

In the Aquino era, the focus was on financial flows, which rested on a strong peso. In the Duterte era, it is on the huge investment drive, which can live with a weaker currency. The peso’s political economy is shifting.

Recently, international media have released contradictory peso reports. But the phenomenon is not new. For instance, Bloomberg’s Ditas Lopez first attributed the peso’s decline to Duterte two months before the actual election (April 27, 2016). Yet, after the election, the peso rose for weeks beating forecasts so that by late August 2016 even Bloomberg had to admit that he currency had completed the “best performance in Asia this month.”

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Currencies

Monday, January 28, 2019

Philippine Peso Stability Relies on Duterte’s Infrastructure Success / Currencies / Phillippines

By: Dan_Steinbock

Recent concerns about peso’s depreciation have been exaggerated. In the most dangerous international environment since the postwar era, there is no room for complacency, however.

In the past, international and domestic critics of the Duterte government have complained that the Philippine peso has fallen "six straight years,” which is seen as a sign of the failure of Duterte agenda.

In March 2017, Bloomberg reported that “Asia's ugly duckling of 2017 is the peso, thanks to Duterte.” At the time, peso’s weakening was explained, oddly enough, by investors who had been spooked by allegations of “unlawful killings and corruption.”

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Economics

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The Economic Costs of Corruption in Philippines / Economics / Phillippines

By: Dan_Steinbock

The recent $200 million customs debacle may be just a tip of the iceberg. Due to illicit financial flows, Philippines has lost almost $10 billion annually. Tax evasion may be as costly. In this status quo, only a fully independent anti-graft campaign can succeed.

In August, 500 kilos of shabu (methamphetamine), estimated at ₱4.3 billion (over $80 million), that entered the country was intercepted by the Bureau of Customs at Manila’s container port. The next day, authorities found similar containers, but not the drugs estimated at ₱11 billion (almost $210 million).

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Economics

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

How to Keep the Philippine Economic Future on Track / Economics / Phillippines

By: Dan_Steinbock

The Philippines is on the right path, if the government can continue to balance between strong growth amid international uncertainty, while pushing reforms that raise living standards. Inflation and foreign investment tell the story.

According to the just-released report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Philippine real GDP grew by 6.7% in 2017 and by 6.3% in the first half of 2018 on a year-to-year basis, led by strong public investment.

The current challenge is inflation, which rose to 6.4% in August 2018. That’s an average of 4.8% percent year to date, which is above the inflation target band of 2−4%.
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