Two Philippine economists say it’s still early to show statistically the impact of the recent pork barrel scandal on investors’ sentiment in the country. UP School of Economics professor Cayetano Paderanga says the postponement of “difficult decisions,” such as raising electricity rates, may have more effect on the business community’s confidence in the government. But he says the business community is closely watching the Aquino administration’s move on calls to eliminate kickbacks from the pork barrel. He says, “If the government is acting decisively, the investors will come out with a better view.” National Competitiveness Council head Guillermo Luz says there’s a need to tighten the mechanism of release of the development funds and work for accountability and transparency. He also points out the pork scandal overshadowed 3 years’ worth of budget reforms. Reflecting growing confidence in the government’s fight against corruption in 2012, the latest global Corruption Perceptions Index places the Philippines at 105 out of 176 countries, the most improved in Asean from its rank as 129th among 183 countries in 2011.
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