Return to 'strongman' rule risks Philippine growth: HSBC


A return to "strongman" rule that damaged institutions in the past posed a risk to the Philippines' robust economic growth in the long term, HSBC said Wednesday.

The results of the May 9 elections, however, will not affect the economy "over the next year," with growth seen at 5.9 percent for the full year, HSBC said in a research note.

Tough-talking Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who has vowed to wage a "bloody war" against crime, has widened his lead over closest rival, Sen. Grace Poe, in the most recent surveys.

READ: 'Relax,' Duterte tells businessmen as he pitches anti-crime war

"One long-term risk is that the quality and level of governance may deteriorate after (President Benigno) Aquino," the bank said.

"This is not to suggest that corruption is the only risk -- instead, we think any return to the type of strongman rule the Philippines witnessed in the past, which reduces the strength of the country's institutions, is a long-term growth risk," it added.

HSBC said the economic outlook on the Philippines remained "positive" as long as Aquino's successor adopts his policy platforms and continues spending on infrastructure.

The Philippines marked this year 30 years of democracy after a popular uprising ousted the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

The Marcos family is accused of stealing billions of dollars from the nation's coffers as well a raft of human rights abuses during their tumultuous two-decade-long rule.

The late dictator's only son and namesake, Ferdinand Jr., is leading the vice presidential race according to opinion polls.