Robredo win ‘more market-friendly’

VICE-PRESIDENT MARIA LEONOR G. ROBREDO — OVP

AN ADMINISTRATION led by incumbent Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo will be more “market-friendly” than that by Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Nomura Global Research said on Tuesday.

“[Mr.] Marcos Jr., in our view, will likely be regarded as less market-friendly than [Ms. Robredo], particularly when it comes to experience at the national level and in articulating a strategy for the country to recover from the pandemic,” a report titled “Philippines: No holiday cheer” by Nomura’s chief ASEAN economist Euben Paracuelles and analysts Rangga Cipta, Craig Chan, and Wee Choon Teo said.

“[Ms.] Robredo is likely seen as more qualified to oversee a post-pandemic recovery as the incumbent vice-president, as well as her platform of implementing a strategic roadmap that focuses on key sectors such as healthcare and education,” it added.

Nomura gave Ms. Robredo’s tandem with Senator Francis N. Pangilinan a perfect score of five for national experience and business friendliness. Meanwhile, it scored them four for continuity/good governance, infrastructure progress, and fiscal discipline.

Ms. Robredo, a human rights lawyer prior to being an elected official, has vowed to promote transparency and accountability in government and to help the country emerge from the coronavirus pandemic through health-based measures that respect human rights.

The Vice-President, who has promised to prioritize the welfare of marginalized groups, also said that if she is elected to lead the country, her administration would review and double the budget of the Agriculture department.

Meanwhile, for Mr. Marcos and his running mate Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio, Nomura gave a score of four out of five for infrastructure progress. The tandem got a score of three for fiscal discipline and continuity/good governance, while national experience and business friendliness were rated two and one, respectively.

Mr. Marcos, who lost the vice-presidential race to Ms. Robredo in 2016, has promised to continue the President Rodrigo R. Duterte administration’s infrastructure projects and other key programs and to modernize Philippine ports and make the country the next logistics hub in Asia.

“A Marcos victory will likely be viewed negatively owing to perceptions against him, in part because his candidacy is facing some petitions for disqualification on grounds of making false statements and a previous conviction of failing to file income tax returns,” Nomura said.

Mr. Marcos is facing several disqualification complaints. The Commission on Elections last month rejected a petition that sought his disqualification on the basis of being a nuisance candidate.

In its report, Nomura cited survey results from pollsters Pulse Asia and the Social Weather Stations, which showed Mr. Marcos is still the preferred presidential candidate over Ms. Robredo.

“Political uncertainty will likely grow, considering [Mr.] Marcos’s large poll lead over [Ms.] Robredo. This will likely weigh on local market sentiment and presents a challenging environment for Philippines’ net portfolio investment flows,” it said.

Short-term portfolio investments or “hot money” yielded a net inflow of $109.56 million in November 2021, lower by 52% from a year earlier, based on central bank data.

Net hot money outflows in the first 11 months of 2021 declined by 85% to $570 million. — Luz Wendy T. Noble with Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza