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Duterte expected to boost economy

Despite his unwavering and bloody war against illegal drug dealers and users, President Duterte is expected to give the Philippine economy a big boost through his business policies.

At this point, executives are applauding the Duterte administration’s focus on building new infrastructure which could spell the start of an economic boom.

Duterte also promised to destroy oligarchs, launch a crackdown on online gambling and warned that the mining industry could be shelved if environmental standards were not met.

The Philippine president truly has a style of his own.

When Duterte won in last May’s election, there were questions on how the economy would be handled by the new president. Everyone was aware that his focus was on the war against illegal drugs.

In fact, Director-General Ronald dela Rosa, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, admitted that there were around 1,800 deaths connected to drugs since the President assumed office. Around 712 of these deaths occurred during police operations.

Despite these figures, Duterte came up with a 91 percent approval rating in the latest survey. The government also announced last week that the Philippines’ economy grew at seven percent in the second quarter. This is its highest level in three years making the Philippines the fastest growing among countries that have reported for the second quarter.

Currently, remittances and outsourcing are on a boom. Businesses are talking of expansion like Jollibee Foods Corp., the biggest fastfood chain in the country that plans to open 200 more local stores this year. The same goes for Robinsons Retail and BDO Unibank Inc.

But Duterte’s “magic touch” on business has been working even during the time he was mayor of Davao City. Government records reveal that Davao region’s economy grew by 6.6 percent on average in 2010-14 while the country’s economic growth was 6.3 percent.

Executives are putting their faith on Duterte’s promise to prioritize spending on infrastructure, which is expected to result in a double or triple growth effect quite soon.

Duterte’s promises made during the campaign period from the fight against illegal drugs and everything illegal to the boost in economy are slowly, yet surely, being met even though he has just been warming the presidential seat for two short months.

Need we say we can expect much more in the years to come?

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column athttp://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/ (Robert B. Roque, Jr.)

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