China pivot cushions Philippines from Trump win: Pernia

Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 09 2016 03:40 PM

'Clairvoyant' Duterte saw it coming, claims Pernia

Donald Trump. Carlo Allegri, Reuters

DAVAO CITY - President Rodrigo Duterte prepared for a Donald Trump presidency in the US with his pivot to China, his economic planning secretary said Wednesday.

Trump was headed for victory against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and his protectionist policies are expected to hurt remittances from overseas Filipinos and outsourcing operations of American companies in the Philippines.

"We have a safety net which was foreseen by the President. He foresaw, he's a clairvoyant. He decided to pivot to China," Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia told reporters here.

"Instead of depending on the US, to a great extent, we are now diversifying our friends. So you don't crash when the country you depend on is in trouble," he said.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said it was too early to judge the long term effect of a Trump presidency on the Philippines.

"Candidates and Presidents are two different people. We will see what policies a Trump presidency will implement," Dominguez said.

"I think the stock market people are a little worried. Personally I'm not sure what effect it will be," he said.

Financial markets were rattled on Wednesday as a Trump victory appeared more likely. Share prices fell to a 10-month low while the peso slumped to a fresh seven-year low against the dollar.

National Treasurer Roberto Tan said the market decline reflected uncertainty over Trump.

"Given our fundamentals, we are in a position to withstand volatility that may increase because of uncertainty of a new president," he said.

Tan noted that the Philippines is pursuing 80 percent of its borrowings from local sources versus 20 percent from abroad, shielding the country from possible volatility in the dollar.