Forbes recently released an online article naming the Philippines the 10th fastest growing economy in the world — despite controversy over President Rodrigo Duterte.
According to the article, the Philippines’ economy is expected to advance between 6.5 to 7.5% for 2017 — almost twice the country’s long term growth.
While this is good news for the Philippines, critics of the president — like Ago Pedalizo of the Fil-Ams for Human Rights Alliance or FAHRA — says the Philippines’ economy was already steadily growing before Duterte.
“The growth that you have seen with Duterte is still a spillover effect of the rapid growth under the Aquino regime. For 2010-2016, you had an average of 6.2,” said Pedalizo.
Meanwhile, Kelly Dayag — of the Digong Duterte Supporters Northern California chapter — says the growth will continue under Duterte, thanks to his 10-point socio-economic agenda.
“We give credit where credit is due, partly of course, by the policies in place by the Aquino government — it’s just being polished and improved under the Duterte administration.”
Pedalizo argues that the behavior of the president, his war on drugs, and his declaration of martial law in Mindanao are actually hurting the country’s economy.
“The competitiveness ranking that we have earned — we ranked from 59-33 — we’re losing it. We have the Marawi incident. You have killings of 12,000. The oligarchs are gathering again,” he said.
However, Dayag says that the president is only doing what’s best to keep the country safe, while also working with foreign investors to help alleviate the debt.
According to the Freedom from Debt Coalition, it’s a debt of $6.4 trillion that Duterte inherited from Aquino.
“What’s happening under Duterte is just a repetition of Marcos. They keep getting money from abroad, people are living under dictatorship, and at some point in time the economy will just go down,” said Pedalizo.
As Duterte’s one-year anniversary in office approaches, these kababayans say that while they disagree — they hope the president will make better decisions to improve the country.