'Philippines is still a notch underrated'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 15 2014 08:31 AM | Updated as of Dec 15 2014 04:31 PM

MANILA - Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima believes the Philippines is still a notch underrated even after the credit rating upgrade given by Moody's Investors Service last week.

Moody's upgraded the Philippines' credit rating to Baa2 from the minimum investment grad rating of Baa3, and gave it a stable outlook.

Moody's said the key drivers for the upgrade are the country’s ongoing debt reduction, aided by improvements in fiscal management; continued favorable prospects for strong economic growth; and limited vulnerability to the common risks currently affecting emerging markets.

Purisima welcomed the credit ratings upgrade, saying it was a recognition of the Aquino administration's good governance reforms and prudent fiscal management.

"Four years down this road, we are growing ever firmer in our conviction that good governance is indeed good economics: this is the 21st positive credit rating action that the country has earned since the Aquino administration took office in 2010," he said.

However, Purisima admitted there is still work to do.

"We believe the Philippines is still a notch underrated. There is much work to accomplish as we approach 2016: we look to comprehensive and equitable tax reform to align with our peers in ASEAN, enhancements in tax administration, the expansion of the Treasury Single Account, as well as the passage of our priority initiatives pending in Congress such as customs modernization, as well as the rationalization and transparency of fiscal incentives," he said.

In October 2013, Moody's raised the Philippines' credit rating to Baa3 from Ba1. It was the last major credit rating agency to given the Philippines an investment grade rating.