(P69) The political economy of Dutertenomics: a preliminary review
Infrastructure Governance under the Duterte Presidency: “The Golden Age of Infrastructure”?
Susumu Ito University of Niigata Prefecture
Faced with huge infrastructure gap in the country, the Duterte administration announced a flagship infrastructure investment program called “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) of 8.4 trillion pesos (about USD 170 billion) which includes 75 large-scale flagship infrastructure projects in 2017. The administration has promised to usher in a “golden age of infrastructure” by building and modernizing major infrastructure throughout the country. How has President Duterte changed infrastructure governance from his predecessor, Aquino III administration? How has BBB evolved? This paper will assess infrastructure governance of the Philippines under the Duterte Presidency by mainly focusing on financing aspect including mode of finance between public finance and public-private partnership (PPP) and financial assistance from China through Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The paper will also discuss changes in infrastructure governance during this current Presidency including rise of unsolicited PPP, low utilization of financial assistance from China, and implications of COVID-19.
Philippine conglomerates and Dutertismo
Antoinette Raquiza University of the Philippines
Despite the anti-oligarchic rhetoric that has defined President Rodrigo Duterte’s term since 2016, the Philippine economy had averaged a high six percent annually up until the pandemic hit in 2019. In fact, the country’s biggest conglomerates’ fortunes grew parallel to the economy’s expansion regardless of which business elite drew the ire of the administration. The study examines two revenue streams that have grown tremendously and animated the Philippine business class since the mid-2000s – notably, the billion-dollar labor export industry and the privatization of public service and utilities, and argues that these trends – both stemming from the country’s neoliberal governance - have consolidated the dominance of commercial interests in the country. This mode of capital accumulation, with limited linkages to the country’s real economy, largely explains its resiliency in the face of domestic political volatility.
The Changes and Continuities of Economic Reform and Governance under the Duterte Presidency
Shingo Mikamo Shinshu University
Can the Philippine President radically change economic policy and governance within the 6 years term? This paper will examine the changes and continuities of economic policy and governance under the Duterte Presidency. President Duterte has kept a radical agenda on “War on Drugs”. Political reform toward federalism must have a significant impact on governance. However, the policy reform has not implemented. The “Build, Build, Build” program has been ambitious, but the government has been concerned about the debt burden. Fiscal and monetary policy reforms have been consistent in the past three decades. Fiscal and monetary measures to encounter economic shocks under the COVID-19 pandemic are orthodox ones. President Duterte has a unique leadership style and maintains the high level of popularity. Examining “radical” reformism of the Duterte Presidency will provide good testing cases for the level of institutionalization of economic policy making and governance in the Philippines.
How do we assess economic policy and governance of the Duterte administration? Political leadership has been always controversial in the Philippines and the rest of the world. Various economic policy and institutional reforms have been implemented in the past three decades in the Philippines. However, the process of alleviating poverty and reducing social inequality has been excruciatingly slow. More, because the restoration of electoral democracy in 1987 has yet to translate into improved quality of life for the majority, it has opened the door for a resurgence of strongman rule even as concerns for
the deteriorating rule of law have grown. COVID-19 is uncovering deep cleavages of the society. The President Duterte has a unique leadership style and political agenda. With respect to economic policy, he emphasizes the ambitious infrastructural development plan “Build, Build, Build” as his economic strategy. His administration has also launched an ambitious industrial policy. In this panel, the issues of Dutertenomics will be examined from historical and comparative perspectives. How has President Duterte changed economic policy and governance? How has COVID-19 influenced economic policy and governance? What are lessons from Dutertenomics for the rest of Southeast Asian countries in the processes of developing economies and democratic governance?