By Genalyn Kabiling
The Duterte administration is optimistic the Philippines remains on track to becoming an upper middle-income country after receiving a credit rating upgrade from Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the government intends to hasten its economic reform agenda to get another credit rating upgrade.
Global debt watcher S&P Global Ratings recently raised the Philippines’ long-term sovereign credit rating to “BBB+” from “BBB” amid the country’s strong economic growth. The latest development was discussed during the Cabinet meeting convened by President Duterte Monday.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presided a very productive 37th Cabinet Meeting last night, 6 May 2019,” Panelo said in a statement on Tuesday.
“It started with a good news where the Department of Finance (DOF) shared that the S&P Global upgraded the Philippine Credit Rating from BBB- to BBB+. This will contribute to achieve upper middle income status and provide for a comfortable life for all Filipinos,” he said.
Panelo said the finance department hopes “to accelerate the full implementation of our economic reform agenda to further upgrade our credit rating.”
S&P, in a statement last week, explained it raised the Philippines’ credit rating to reflect its strong economic growth trajectory, low public indebtedness, and the economy’s sound external settings. The BBB+ rating is reportedly the highest rating the country has received.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has welcomed the country’s credit rating upgrade, saying it was a tribute to the President’s commitment to bold reforms and sound economic policies. He said the President has transcended “all the political chatter” and remained focused on pursuing policy initiatives such as tax reform and infrastructure development.
The government is reportedly aiming for an “A” rating in two years time and achieve a more comfortable life for Filipinos through continued policy reforms and infrastructure investments.
At the recent Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China last month, President Duterte took pride in the country’s economic resurgence, saying the Philippines will soon become an upper middle-income country.
“By 2020, the combined economies of Asian countries will be larger than that of the rest of the world. The Philippines, in particular, is set to join the ranks of upper-middle-income countries as it is projected to become the 25th largest economy in the world in PPP (purchasing power parity) terms,” he said.