Marcos reports continuity with the new economic team
- Member of the Medalla Monetary Council at the helm of c.bank
- Central bank head Diokno at the helm of the finance ministry
- Marcos is aiming for new jobs, reduced fuel and rice prices
- The new president aims to broaden Duterte’s political agenda
MANILA – The president-elect Ferdinand Marcos gHe has strong indications that he will maintain continuity in economic policy through his choices for central bank governor and finance minister on Thursday, adding familiar faces to his cabinet.
Marcos announced that central bank chief Benjamin Diokno would become his finance minister when he takes office on June 30, giving way to Felipe Medalla, a current member of the monetary council, to take over as governor of Bangkok Sentral ng Pilipinas. T.the two will have the task of fighting inflation and unemployment.
Silence, Marco inherits a much stronger economy than that of his late father’s time, the overthrown dictator in tHey 1986 Revolt of “people’s power”, with stocks of debt at manageable levels, foreign reserves at record levels and growth at healthy rates.
“The first priority will always be the economy,” Marcos, 64, said in an interview with his new press officer that was streamed on his Facebook page.
“It still depends on jobs, on rising commodity prices, some relief for the business community.”
Marcos faces a delicate balancing act to ensure economic recovery is sustained and rising inflation, driven by politically sensitive increases in rice and fuel costs, is kept in check after the start of his six-year term .
He reiterated the campaign’s commitment to cut rice prices by more than half to 20 pesos ($ 0.38) per kG.but said the Philippines, one of the world’s largest rice buyers must continue to import to ensure a stable domestic supply.
Gross domestic product grew 8.3% in the first quarter from a year earlier, the fastest pace in three quarters, but a rise in interest rates could weigh on domestic consumption, which is the main driver of growth.
The central bank kicked off its monetary tightening cycle this month, much earlier than expected, to bring inflation back into its comfort range. Diokno said Thursday that the central bank is looking at another 25 basis point rate hike at its June meeting.
Marcos won this month’s election with an avalanche of votes, paving the way for a once-unimaginable return to government for the country’s most infamous political dynasty. It is almost certain that he will command a supermajority in Congress, which could reduce the obstacles to his economic agenda.
Economists broadly welcomed the appointments to Marcos’ team, which also included Manuel Bonoan, head of the highway unit of the San Miguel Corp. SMC.PSas Secretary of Public Works, and Alfredo Pascual, former President of the University of the Philippines, as its Minister of Commerce.
Pascual will have to balance economic relations with major trading partners China and the United States at a time of growing regional competition, with the Biden administration trying to regain strategic ground lost under predecessor Donald Trump through a new Indo-Pacific economic framework.
Appointments indicate further continuity from Marcos, which is expected to expand the economic policies of popular incumbent Rodrigo Duterte, including a largely delayed, multi-billion dollar infrastructure overhaul.
($ 1 = 52.46 Philippine pesos)
—Reportage by Neil Jerome Morales and Enrico dela Cruz; Written by Karen Lema; Editing by Martin Petty and Christian Schmollinger