MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte is showing "political will" to foreign investors when he placed the entire Mindanao under martial law, one of his economic managers said Friday.
With the southern region under martial rule, the government can better secure development projects against rebel groups, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.
"This shows political will and if the investors see that Mindanao will be a safer and a more peaceful area, then the investors will come," Diokno told ANC's Early Edition.
"I think that what will impress investors is political will and the dedication of the President and his decisiveness compared to a wishy-washy government," he said.
Fighting erupted in Marawi City on Tuesday after troops tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was allegedly hiding with Maute extremists in the area.
Diokno played down the short-term impact of martial law, saying Mindanao accounted for just 20 percent of the economy.
Unlike martial law under former President Ferdinand Marcos, Diokno said the current declaration was limited to Mindanao and would last for only 60 days unless extended by Congress.
He also allayed fears that it would lead to an economic decline. The "downward spiral" under Marcos, he said, was due to political turmoil that followed the 1983 assassination of opposition Senator Beningo "Ninoy" Aquino Jr.
The country has enough buffers, including a steady stream of dollar remittances from Filipinos overseas and earnings of outsourcing companies.