Eyes on the prize
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The Philippine economy got another vote of confidence from Moody's Investors Service after it finally gave the country an investment grade rating. Moody's is the third major credit rating agency to give the Philippines an investment grade rating after history was made when Fitch Ratings gave us the first ever in history last March followed by another one from Standard and Poor's in May.
Moody's announced giving the country a Baa3 rating “with positive outlook”, a notch up from the earlier Ba1. A positive outlook means another upgrade may be possible within the next 12 to 18 months. According to Moody's the upgrade to investment grade rating is on the back of the country's robust economy, fiscal and debt consolidation, political stability and improved governance. The economy expanded by 7.6 percent in the first half following a strong 6.8 percent growth in 2012, enough to draw attention as among the fastest growth rates in Asia-Pacific and across emerging markets globally.
No matter how the critics and the pessimists harp on the lack of inclusive growth, it is a very significant achievement for our country to have the 3 biggest credit rating agencies in the world give us an investment grade rating. This rating upgrade may not immediately translate to more jobs, truly inclusive growth and the reduction of poverty, but that unanimous vote of confidence in the Philippine economy and its current leadership gives us a solid foundation to work on as we sell our country as a viable alternative for investments to foreigners and Filipinos alike.
The Philippines is in the midst of an upheaval right now. If our economy is to continue growing until the man on the street can finally say that life has truly improved, we will need political stability that is taking a lot of collateral damage from President Aquino's anti-corruption campaign that is finally bearing fruit but at the same time taking a lot of flak from both friends whose expectations have been raised too high and the corrupt who are determined to survive this threat to their continued existence at all costs.
All the work that has resulted in all these credit rating upgrades could easily go down the drain if we are not careful. It's not that these ratings are the most important things in the world, but common sense tells us that if we are going to get ourselves out of this hole that our past leaders and attitudes have dug for us, a good credit rating will help. That is why as we continue to fight against all forms of corruption in this country, let us keep our eye on the prize and try our best not to let our unfocused rage destroy even the good that has been accomplished so far.*