Philippines robust economy underscored as Palace parries rights abuses raps

March 19, 2019
Salvador Panelo

MALACAÑANG yesterday touted the performance of the economy amid criticism of the government’s war on drugs, particularly extrajudicial killings (EJKs).

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said “there is no direct correlation between human rights and the economy, as some quarters particularly two international lawyers groups would like to point out.”

Panelo said the Philippine economy has been growing at least 6 percent under the Duterte administration and that the country had attracted an “unprecedented” $20.1 billion in net foreign investments in 2017 and 2018 as compared to the first two full years of the Aquino administration, which registered $2 billion in 2011 and $3.2 billion in 2012.

He said the growth in FDI inflows came despite “virulent media propaganda war” against the campaign against illegal drugs which has claimed a total of 5,176 lives from July 1, 2016 to January 31, 2019 based on government data.

“There has been a strong investor confidence in the economy under the decisive leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Panelo said.

Panelo also cited the implementation of the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program, a 48-notch jump to 19th place in the e-Participation Index of United Nations and reforms such as the signing of Republic Act 1103 (Ease of Doing Business Act).

“These are hard facts and figures, which cannot be disputed and which should be relayed by those in capable positions to the public, including those in the international community. They are more reliable than some anecdotes that are politically colored by some groups or interests,” Panelo said.