Is Politics Playing In Duterte Economy?

September 12, 2018

They say, the beginning for the Philippines’ new economic woes has started, which, I rebuke in God’s name. The country of my birth, as I see it, is simply under policonomics or ecopolitics, which are defined as, economics related to politics or politically induced economy.

Accordingly, rising prices in the Philippines is hitting the poor Filipinos the hardest.  Consumer prices are soaring high. “Forbes” reveals that inflation accelerated to 6.4% in the 3rd quarter of 2018, prompting the Bangko Sentral (Central Bank) of the Philippines to respond with a rate hike of 50 basis points, accordingly, its largest in a decade.” Forbes reveals further that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently projected that the Philippine government will almost certainly miss its Growth target of 7% to 8% for the year 2018, settling at around 6.7%, instead.

In contrast, only last year, November 21, 2017, Financial Times reports, “The Philippine economy expanded at an annualized rate of 6.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2017. The figure was ahead of economists’ consensus forecasts and made it one of Asia’s best-performing economies for the period, just behind Vietnam but slightly ahead of China.”

Just this July 14, 2018, Forbes Asia, with Contributor, Panos Mordoukoutas, writes, that Duterte got an approval rating of 88%, where, according to Pulse Asia, survey was done before the “stupid god” of the Catholics, statement of Duterte. The Forbes Asia writer cites strong economy as the reason of Duterte’ surge in popularity. While Bloomberg reports in its July 10, 2018 news based on Social Survey Stations Survey June 27- June 30, Duterte’s net satisfaction rating fell  11 percentage points. “Social Weather didn’t provide data for trust ratings unlike in previous surveys,” says Bloomberg.

Professor Alvin Ang of the Catholic Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development in Manila concludes that “Inflation could be the main culprit and his (Duterte’s) blasphemous comment.”

This writer is not an economist nor a student of economics, however, please correct me if I am wrong, but I see politics related to economics or economics related to politics at play.

President Duterte blamed the American President Donald Trump’s tariffs for high inflation rate, which, the Bangko (Central Bank) Sentral Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr., said, otherwise. Published in the California based FilAm Star News, through FilAm Correspondent Corina Oliquino, Espinilla, says, that the faster than expected inflation “was due” to “food supply shocks” specifically in the rice market, which he still, cannot be mitigated by adjusting the Central Bank’s benchmark rates.”

“An unfortunate confluence of cost-push factors continue to drive consumer price inflation in August beyond the acceptable target range,” adding that “elevated oil prices, a weakening peso and strong domestic demand prompting inflation,” Espinilla, further explained.

Let’s simplify: 1. Food supply shock specifically in the rice market (other basic commodities) 2. oil prices 3. weakening peso

Still with the FilAm Star Newspaper that covers the entire California USA, FilAm Correspondent Lara Climaco writes, as per Philippines (DTI) Department of Trade & Industry, “well stocked store shelves in Metro Manila belie claims of any rice supply shortage. Instead, “hoarding” borne of a flawed local supply chain is at the root of high rice prices that have caused headline inflation to peak at 6.4% in August.” This was also shared by Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol in a televised reporting given  to Senator Cynthia Villar.

Meanwhile, the lower House Congress has already approved their version of the Rice Tariffication Bill which is being pushed by NEDA to stabilize rice prices but Sen. Kiko Pangilinan and senator allies are allegedly still studying, hence, a deliberation and the “delay” in the senate.

Clearly, as I can see, the inflation is politically induced. “Food Supply Shocks” simply refers to law of supply and demand. Elevated oil prices and weakening peso may also have the same reason of how as well as the strong “domestic demand.” All goes to the manipulated law of supply and demand problem, which Ricvelation believes are artificially created.  Who’s doing the artificial inflation?

Are you aware that the yellows are now in the search and formation of their local and senatorial line up for the coming 2019 national elections? Filipinos are with short memories, they say, hence, don’t you think, it is the right time to reverse the eyes of criticism from the yellows alleged corruptions to the Duterte inflation economy? Likewise, noodles, rice, sardines and foods on the table are the usual giveaways by politicians come that day of reckoning, so why not buy and hoard now to discredit the incumbent, and release distribute the basic commodities on 2019 elections?

Can you still recall when the Philippine Airlines paid  $117 Million (P6Billion) to the Philippine Government? Nikkei Asian Review reports in October 6, 2017 that “the payment was to settle the Philippine flag carrier’s arrears to the government as it “BOWED to PRESSURE” from President Rodrigo Duterte.” How in the world that the settlement goes up to such amount and why only last year at Duterte’s presidency? How do you feel when you are used to just this and that little money tax payment and all of a sudden you were “bowed to pressure to pay huge?”

Well, we cannot avoid imaginations that in the previous administrations, allegedly, there was no correct and proper tax payments to Kim Henares’ BIR. Does it mean that it was all done under and over the table for the past number of years? Somebody should have been receiving something then, don’t you think so? And probably a good “relationship” of “friendship” started with the PAL “ownership” and the past “leadership?”

How about the controlling owners of the Daily Inquirer who allegedly have not been paying their rent on the State- owned Prime Makati Property called the Creekside-Mile Long complex, according to Blogger and Columnist Rigoberto Tiglao of Manila Times (April 21, 2017). Duterte’s clash with the ABS-CBN? Do I need to cite them one by one? All of these and them were offended by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in one way or another. I am not saying, “they may,” are leading but a simple allegation which may be wrong. Of course, I may be wrong!

It just so happen that these elite people are with the capacity and power to make or break the economy? With exaggerated allegations, the rich and famous can hoard dollars, cartel rice, poultry and foods on the table to shock the market for a politically motivated inflation, a manipulation, which is not fair. It is not a surprise, as we go to the question, is there fairness in politics?

Remember when Duterte has threatened to quit the United Nations over criticisms of his war on drugs? Every Filipino (even those with the short memory) applauded except the yellow, remember? That was in September 2016, and on that same year, Duterte turned down a meeting with the UN secretary general? By the way, the United Nations Secretary General during that time, and on both occasions, was Ban Ki-moon of South Korea nearing his way out (2007-2016) from the UN then. Without saying, South Korean UN Sec-Gen was offended.

Immediately, after this, South Korean Lee Ho-ik, president of the Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, said, “”We strongly believe in the importance of the rule of law, due process and the respect of human rights in all countries, including the Philippines. Security is the issue investors are most concerned with when they decide and choose a place or country,” The South Korean added, “”To be frank with you, to date … the Philippines is not a safe country.”

The president of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump also did threaten to quit and really did withdrew from the Human Rights Council of the United Nations.

Going back to the Philippines, it has become a “Safer Country” compared to the previous administrations, if we are to speak of safety and security starting from the Philippine Airport to the respective cities and provinces. As a former anchor of  Radio DZRH “Mga Isyu Ng Bayan” then, lots were being killed by “riding in tandems”. Very different from today, where it is the riding in tandems who are being killed if not injured or wounded if not arrested.

The Philippines, as, not a safe country was a bad promotion for the Filipinos’ beloved country and everybody read the news, oh boy. Who owns the biggest news providers both in radio, print and broadcast in the Philippines? Also, the biggest businesses including the basic commodities and the common food on the table? Consequently, in the first quarter of 2018, (Foreign Direct Investment)FDI decreased nearly 40% from the same period a year earlier. Is this the result of badmouthing the Philippines by the vice president and other yellows out there in the USA, Europe and Asian countries? Is it possible for an opportunity for revenge as well?

By the way, Pres. Donald Trump’s tariffs on China, whom Trump is accusing of stealing intellectual properties by its faking or imitating of products, it looks like, is more of a help to the Philippines, a blessing in disguise. ASEAN Today, says, the Trump tariffs “prompts global steel exporters to look elsewhere for buyers, which is good for the Philippines and Indonesia, for both countries have embarked on infrastructure drives. Cheaper steel and aluminium could mean significant savings on infrastructure projects, which, goes with the plan of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who looks at infrastructure build ups, as Duterte’s next stage for the Philippines economic growth.

Filipinos, forget easily.

It is true that Duterte won praises for his bureaucratic reforms in the southern city of Davao as mayor, but as a president, has paradoxically and honestly admitted his weakness and ignorance in economics earlier. Naturally, the president is not expected to be a jack of all trades. So, the population expects much from his cabinet secretaries and his new economic czar as great number of support for Duterte remains.



Investopedia: The basis point is commonly used for calculating changes in interest rates

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Ricardo V. Avelino

One Comment

  1. I havent thought of this sir ric… You might be right..Does the government also think that there may be people behind this inflation?

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