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Senators: Can Duterte sustain momentum?

Some senators yesterday admitted they too are wondering how the country’s economy will fare under a Duterte administration.

Members of the upper chamber voiced their concerns after state economic managers proudly announced a 6.9 percent growth in the first quarter of 2016, a month and a half before President Benigno Aquino III steps down from office.

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, chair of the Senate ways and means committee, said he believes the incoming administration of presumptive president-elect Rodrigo Duterte is faced with a challenge of sustaining the economic growth experienced under the Aquino administration.

“The next few months are crucial for a Duterte administration because investors are watching closely for signs as to how economic policies will take shape,” Angara said in a text message.

“The eight-point agenda was well received; the new administration would do well to continue in that vein while trying to build on what PNoy (Aquino’s initials) has done, while also speeding up infrastructure spending and placing a greater focus on agriculture,” Angara said.

Angara hopes Duterte’s economic team would be able to sustain the momentum.

“Putting together a cabinet with a good mix of experts professionals and achievers would go a long way towards ensuring the new administration hits the ground running,” he said.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said it cannot be denied that the economic gains achieved by the Aquino administration was because of the confidence and trust of both local and foreign investors.

“Much of the macroeconomic gains during the PNoy Administration were due to the investor confidence it attracted during its early years,” Trillanes said.

With no pronouncements yet of who will comprise his economic team, Trillanes said the direction of the country’s economy under a Duterte presidency is still uncertain.

“Now, as to the incoming Duterte administration, we need to wait for its official appointments and economic policy pronouncements because they would be the initial indicators of what’s in store for us,” Trillanes said.