Government supporters in the Senate said the economy has started reaping the fruits of its reform initiatives, namely the “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, as indicated by the latest long-term credit rating upgrade obtained by the country from Standard & Poor’s (S&P).
Sen. Loren B. Legarda, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, said that with S&P’s positive credit outlook for the Philippines, it can expect a further credit upgrade in the future, which means increased investment inflows and lower borrowing costs.
“Now that we have reached this far in terms of our credit rating and outlook, I hope that inclusive, resilient and sustainable growth will be the way forward. We should maintain and even improve our strong macroeconomic performance, solid domestic demand, inflow of foreign direct investments [FDI] and consistent fiscal policies geared toward a sustained decline in the gross general government debt ratio to invite a more robust trade relations with other countries,” Legarda said.
The senator issued the statement following the latest assessment of S&P, which affirmed the Philippines’s long-term credit rating of “BBB” and short-term credit rating of “A-2” with outlook revised from stable to positive.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said this “affirmation of the effectiveness of the government’s economic agenda was a result of teamwork with the administration and the legislature for the benefit of the entire nation.”
“These positive developments reflect the increasing confidence of the international business community in the sustainability of the Duterte administration’s program for high growth and financial inclusion,” Dominguez said in response to the country’s rating upgrade by S&P.
S&P had said the improvement in the Philippines’s credit rating may be attributed to the its resilient external position and strong policy-making framework that resulted in sustainable public finances and solid economic growth.
“Credit raters have seen the wisdom of the government’s growth strategy anchored on aggressive spending on infrastructure and human capital development, combined with its pursuit of bold initiatives, such as tax reform, to help ensure a steady revenue flow for such massive investments over the medium term,” Dominguez said.
S&P said they may raise the country’s credit standing further should the fiscal reform program leads to further achievements over the course of the next 24 months.
S&P, however, added they may “revise the outlook to stable if the reform agenda stalls, if the recalibrated fiscal program leads to higher-than-expected net general government debt levels, or if we deem that policy-making settings have otherwise regressed against our expectations.”