Duterte admin to push wealth redistribution, says analyst

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A Rodrigo Duterte presidency would serve as a catalyst for economic progress that redistributes wealth to the poor, a political analyst said Tuesday.

Earl Parreno of the Institute For Political and Electoral Reform explained that Duterte's two-decade rule as Davao mayor reflects a social democratic philosophy. This can be seen in government interventions that promote social justice and equality, he added.

He said this philosophy entails pro-poor economic policies.

"He [Duterte] would be more sympathetic, and would like to have a redistribution of wealth to poorer sectors within this capitalist system," Parreno asserted in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

The political analyst said such an economy does not merely advocate cash dole-outs for the poor, but instead pushes for wage increase, higher incentives for small and medium enterprises, and other measures that can help the less affluent.

Parreno also believes that a Duterte administration would ease foreign ownership of business in order to entice investments.

"What he [Duterte] wants is to provide an atmosphere conducive to business but he does not want to dictate policies on business, how they are going to run," he added.

He also revealed that Duterte, last December, sought the help of economists of the University of the Philippines (UP) to draft an economic program.

But Parreno said Duterte was not entirely satisfied with the UP proposal, and that he is still looking for other inputs.

He added that Duterte's policies on governance and the economy would be clearer within a year after his impending ascent to the country's top office.

The 71-year-old mayor said Monday that he favors "hard investments" over hot money inflows in the stock market and would consider easing laws for foreign ownership of business.

Asked about the constitutional restriction on foreign ownership in enterprises, Duterte said: "I'm willing to change [60:40] equation."

But he said he was not for selling local businesses entirely to foreigners, citing as an example China's rise despite foreign ownership caps.

This was Duterte's first comments on his economic policy since gaining a commanding lead after Monday's balloting.

Share prices sank for a third straight week on Friday with some analysts attributing the weaknesses to a lack of clarity in his plans for the economy.

"I do not care about the stock market. Those are not really investments. Pera lang yan, naglalaro lang sila ng mga shares of stock diyan. What I want is hard investment," he told reporters late Monday.

"I have been learning about the economy. I can talk about economics now but not as what maybe the Makati Business Club wanted me to discuss. Hindi naman ako Wharton," he said.

READ: Duterte prefers 'hard investments' over hot money