Duterte’s SONA: PH in better position to weather global crisis brought by COVID pandemic
CALOOCAN CITY, July 28 (PIA) — In his fifth historic State of the Nation Address (SONA) today, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said the economic and fiscal situation of the Philippines is strong and the country is in better position to weather the global crisis brought by coronavirus pandemic.
“Our fiscal position is strong, our economic and fiscal management prudent and our banking system robust,” Duterte said.
“We are in a better position to weather the crisis caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic,” he added.
The President said the Japan Credit Rating Agency last month has upgraded its credit rating for the Philippines to “A minus,” the highest rating the country has ever received. This, despite the Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) recent credit rating downgrades and amid “negative outlooks worldwide.”
“We received a BBB plus credit rating despite a sea of credit rating downgrades and negative outlook revisions worldwide. The Japan Credit Rating Agency upgraded us from BBB plus to A minus last month,” he said, as better credit ratings attest to the state’s ability to settle debts and the stability of the country’s economy.
“Meanwhile, Moody’s has affirmed and maintained the country’s ratings at B2 — Baa2 rather,” he added.
The President also said the country accomplished significant infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build.
“We have accomplished significant infrastructure projects under the Build Build Build Program. I will not dwell lengthily on the nitty-gritty of our infrastructure accomplishments now lest I bore you,” he said.
“Instead we will release a comprehensive written report on our collective milestones and the details of accomplishments to remind us that perseverance, patience and determination will help us move forward even in the most difficult of times,” he added.
Duterte also mentioned the financial and material assistance of the government to the unemployed, the sick, and the poor running into billions of pesos during the lockdowns to soften some negative impacts on the more vulnerable sectors.
“Over 4.3 million poor families benefitted from the Pantawid Pamilya,” he said of government’s human development measure that provides conditional cash grants to the poorest of the poor, to improve the health, nutrition, and the education of children aged 0-18.
“Over 9.2 million beneficiaries received subsidies under the Unconditional Cash Transfer program,” he added.
“We also made available [free] tertiary education and universal health care. Public utility drivers were given assistance through the Pantawid Pasada Program,” he furthered.
Duterte, meanwhile, expressed gratitude to those who supplied food, water and basic utilities to households in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Likewise, he lauded the efforts and sacrifice of frontline workers and local government officials who all helped the country weather the public health emergency crisis. (PIA NCR)