Business community still confident in Duterte despite ratings drop, says aide

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 10 2017 02:11 PM

MANILA - The country's business community continues to have confidence in President Rodrigo Duterte despite the recent drop in his popularity scores, one of his advisers said Tuesday.

“Despite the ratings of our President which is slightly down, one thing is important: the business community is solidly behind the President,” Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said in a news briefing in Malacañang.

Concepcion said the good performance of the stock exchange is a good indication of the business sector's steady confidence in Duterte. 

“The stock market hit an all-time high. If there’s no business confidence, you won’t see the stock market making an all-time high," he said. 

Results of a September Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Monday showed that Duterte’s net satisfaction rating fell to +48 (good) from last quarter's +66 (very good), while his net trust rating fell to +60 (very good) from +75 (excellent).

Concepcion said that while the President’s satisfaction and trust ratings went down, “there’s a great sense of optimism” from the conglomerates all the way down to small and medium entrepreneurs.

“You have the force of politics and all the noise there but the business sector has to be focused on the vision,” Concepcion said.

Concepcion also downplayed concerns over the decline in foreign direct investments in the first half of the 2017.

Citing foreign direct investment data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon last week said there was a 90.3 percent decrease in foreign equity placements at just $141 million in the first half of the year, from $1.448 billion in the same period in 2016.

Concepcion explained that while the President bagged investment pledges during his trips abroad, “things can get delayed as studies may not be completed.”

“For those working and investing in the Philippines, they understand the situation. For newcomers, they are more sensitive,” Concepcion said.

“When you talk to — and I get exposed to — a lot of these entrepreneurs, there is the optimism. I will not deny that some concerns are there but over time as they build confidence, they invest,” he added.

The Palace had earlier said that while the cost of Duterte’s foreign trips are now running into the hundreds of millions, the President was able to secure some $35 billion in trade and aid privileges from other countries.