Seeking 'A' credit crown, Philippines looks to Miss Universe Catriona Gray


Posted at May 08 2019 02:02 PM

Seeking 'A' credit crown, Philippines looks to Miss Universe Catriona Gray 1
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray greets well-wishers in homecoming paradeon Feb. 21, 2019. A senior economic manager said on May 8, 2019 that the Philippines' quest for an 'A' credit score would be inspired by her pageant journey. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Hoping to be crowned with its first ever "A" credit rating by 2022, the Philippines will emulate Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray's example of leaving a global audience spellbound, a senior economic manager said Wednesday.

To sell the Philippines' "beautiful narrative" to credit ratings agencies, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Department of Finance will draft a roadmap to secure the "A" debt score.

"As in a Miss Universe contest, we must do a Catriona swirl to be noticed, to be set apart from the rest," Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo told reporters in Malacanang.

"Because indeed, like Catriona, we have something beautiful to show them," Guinigundo said of the 25-year-old Filipino-Australian, who won the country's fourth Miss Universe crown last December.

By highlighting the Philippines' reform efforts, "the credit ratings agencies, like the judges in a beauty contest will be able to sustain their glance and give us a gaze instead," Guinigundo said.

Gray's "lava walk," inspired by the Mayon Volcano in her home province of Albay, helped her secure the crown and even got praise from supermodel and TV host Tyra Banks.

Her slow-motion twirl and hair flip later secured her an ice cream cone endorsement from the Philippines' largest fastfood operator, Jollibee.

Guinigundo said the inter-agency body would "direct our efforts to addressing issues" raised by credit ratings agencies.

S&P Global on April 30 raised the Philippines' score to BBB+, one notch below the minimum "A" rating, citing above-average economic growth, a healthy external position and sustainable public finances.

Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez earlier told the same briefing that the upgrade was a "green light" for more investments in the country

"More foreign direct investments means more jobs, increased productivity, higher incomes for our people," he said.

At BBB+, S&P Global rates the Philippines above Italy and Portugal and one notch below Spain and Malaysia, he said.

Dominguez said the government would continue pursuing "game-changing" reforms, including the ongoing overhaul of the tax system.