Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s foreign policy pronouncements have spurred intense interest and debates abroad, but few are commenting about his economic agenda.
Right or wrong, Duterte has chosen to define the first year of his presidency by pursuing his so-called ‘War on Drugs’ and declaring a “separation” from the United States, an old ally and former colonial ruler of the Philippines.
Some analysts are worried that Duterte’s controversial policies and rants could scare away investors and hamper the growth of the local economy. For some critics of the government, there are already disturbing indicators such as the depreciation of the peso’s value and reported losses in the stock market. They believe these troubles could be a negative impact of the government’s misguided priorities.
In summary, ‘Dutertenomics’ reaffirms the economic reforms initiated by the Aquino government. The country’s big business groups are generally happy with it, but not Duterte’s leftist allies. Nevertheless, Duterte’s posturing as a nationalist and socialist means there is still opportunity to push for alternative policies that could potentially overhaul the country’s economic profile in the next few years.
Progress in the Philippine Peace Process Under Duterte
The second round of the peace talks between the government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and the communist-led National Democratic Front (NDF) ended with both parties agreeing on the framework and outline of the proposed agreements on socioeconomic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and the end of hostilities and disposition of forces. The negotiations were conducted in Norway.
Duterte’s tirades against the United States are unprecedented in Philippine history. But Duterte became an instant inspiration for those who wanted the Philippines to rethink its close ties with its former colonial master. Deliberate or not, Duterte’s nationalist outburst also enhanced the prospects of achieving peace with communist rebels.
Duterte’s human rights record is an international embarrassment. But if he wants something positive to highlight in his first 100 days in the presidential palace, he can mention the peace process. So far, he has already outperformed his immediate predecessors in terms of achieving a semblance of peace in the Philippines.