PH elated by credit rating upgrade from Japanese agency -- Roque

By Genalyn Kabiling

The government is elated by the country's latest credit rating upgrade given by a Japanese rating agency.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (RESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Japan Credit Rating Agency Ltd. (JCR) upgrading the country's rating by a notch from BBB+ to A- indicated the confidence in the country's economic resilience amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"This recognition by Japan's leading credit rating agency is an affirmation of the international community's faith in our economic strengthen and resilience amid the worst global downturn in nearly a century," he said during a Palace press briefing Monday.

"We thank our economic team lalung-lalo na po si (especially Finance) Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez for their initiatives including reforms that help us weather the pandemic and steer the economy towards the new normal,'" he said.

According to Roque, the latest credit rating upgrade means the government can borrow funds possibly at low interest rates due its capacity to pay the loans. He said the loans could be used to augment the government's funds for efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak and stimulate the local economy.

"Ibig sabihin po nito, makakautang po tayo dahil naniniwala ang mga nagpapautang na tayo po ay magbabayad. At dahil mabuti nga po ang ating credit standing, ibig sabihin mas mababa po ang interest na mauutang natin at iyong uutangin natin, pupuwede nating gamitin hindi lang para sa ayuda kung hindi para po sa ating mga responses sa COVID-19 (It means we can borrow money because our creditors believe we can pay.And because of our good credit standing, it means lower interest rate for the loans. These loans can be used not only for relief assistance but also COVID-19 response)," Roque said.

In a recent report, the JCR announced it has upgraded the country's ratings to "A-" with a stable outlook.

The agency voiced confidence in the Philippines' fiscal soundness despite the pandemic while citing government's resolve to sustain its infrastructure development policy and tax reforms.

"JCR expects the economy to return to a high annual growth rate of around 6-7% in the medium term on enhancement of its economic base through the progress of infrastructure development," the agency said in a statement posted on its website.

"JCR holds that the country will show its high resilience even when global risk-off moves would be triggered again by a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic," it added.