MANILA, Philippines – Can the Philippines also thank former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a former economics professor, for the country’s recent credit rating upgrade from Standard & Poor’s (S&P)?
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda on Saturday, July 7, said he is uncertain. Nonetheless, Lacierda attributed the upgrade to President Benigno Aquino III’s “tuwid na daan” (straight path) campaign, noting that credit ratings agencies examine consistency not only in fiscal policy but also in governance.
The Aquino administration has always portrayed itself in contrast to the controversy-ridden government under Arroyo.
“(Credit ratings agencies) see that this President is free from – is untainted by – corruption. They see, most especially, that this government champions transparency. These are all consistent with what we call ‘tuwid na daan,‘,” Lacierda said in a mix of English and Filipino.
‘More fiscal space’
Lacierda said S&P’s move to upgrade the Philippines to a notch below investment grade will be “very positive” for the country.
He said this will help lower the country’s borrowing costs, providing more funds that can be diverted for social services.
“In the end, we will be able to use this fiscal space to expand our social alleviation program, to provide inclusive and equitable growth.”
The upgrade is the 8th positive under Aquino and the highest level the country attained since 2003. (Read: S&P now rates PH one notch below investment grade)
Earlier, Aquino also vowed to attain the Philippines’ first investment grade rating. (Read: PNoy: We will work for investment grade status)
Credit rating agencies have been citing improvements in the Philippines’ fiscal position and debt level, its strong macroeconomic fundamentals and government reforms in their improving outlook on the country.
The Philippines, formerly dubbed the “sick man of Asia,” is one of the few economies that could stand out amid global downturns, according to the best-seller book Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles, which hailed Aquino’s good governance campaign. (Read: PH a breakout nation?) – Rappler.com