(C) Inquirer News
President Rodrigo Duterte’s harsh tactics in fighting the drug war may have terrified some in the Philippines. But Filipinos are better off today than they were two years ago.
That’s according to a Gallup survey, which finds an increase in the percentage of Filipinos who consider their lives positive enough to rate it as “thriving” since Duterte assumed office.
Specifically, 28% of Filipinos consider themselves thriving in 2017 compared to 26% in 2016, pushing the Philippines up one notch in the ranking of the Asian-Pacific countries—see table.
Source: News.gallup.com and Tradingeconomics.com
To be fair, this trend started a couple of years before Duterte assumed office, and reflects an acceleration of GDP growth that began back in 2012.
Still, the rise in the Philippines ranking may come as a surprise to observers in America and Europe who focus on President Duterte’s human rights record rather than his economic policy record.
Duterte’s economy has been doing great recently, ranked the world’s 10thfastest growing economy in the world in 2017.
When the final numbers are in for 2017, the Philippines’ economy is expected to advance between 6.5 to 7.5. And that’s almost twice the country’s long-term growth.
That’s according to the World Bank’s latest edition of Global Economic Prospects.
Part of this strong performance can be attributed to luck. The Philippines economy has benefited from a revival in other Asian Pacific economies that has boosted exports, which account for close to a third of GDP. Exports from the Philippines rose 12.1 percent from a year earlier to USD 4.81 billion in April of 2017.
Still, Duterte has maintained a stable macroeconomic environment of low inflation and low debt to GDP ratio, which has helped sustain a healthy consumer spending growth.
Apparently, investors have been shifting focus from the geopolitics of the Asian-Pacific region to domestic economic fundamentals, and they like what they see: a vibrant economy, defying the on-going political turmoil, at least for now.
The rise of the percentage of Filipinos who are better off under Duterte may also have come as a surprise to observers in India, where lives are getting worse under Modi, as discussed in a previous piece here.
Apparently, Prime Minister Modi has a long way to go with economic reforms before catching up with President Duterte in this economic indicator.
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