Examining “Dutertenomics” in the Philippines: Historical and Comparative Perspectives

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Abstract

Various economic policy and institutional reforms have been implemented in the past three decades in the Philippines. The Philippines is no longer seen as “sick man of Asia”. However, the process of alleviating poverty and reducing social inequality has been excruciatingly slow. More, because the restoration of electoral democracy in 1987 has yet to translate into improved quality of life for the majority, it has opened the door for a resurgence of strongman rule even as concerns for the deteriorating rule of law have grown. President Duterte has a unique leadership style and political agenda. With respect to economic policy, he emphasizes the ambitious infrastructural development plan “Build, Build, Build” as his economic strategy. His administration has also launched an ambitious “Manufacturing Resurgence Program”. In this panel, the issues of Dutertenomics will be examined from historical and comparative perspectives. How has President Duterte changed economic policy and governance? How do we assess Dutertenomics? What are lessons from Dutertenomics for the rest of Southeast Asian countries in the processes of developing economies and democratic governance? First, the foundation of Dutertenomics, arguably “neoliberalism”, is examined (by San Juan). And then, we analyze our focused economic policy areas that include industry and trade (by Raquiza), infrastructure development (by Ito) and fiscal and monetary policy (by Mikamo). This panel also will explore the interaction between government's infrastructure and industrialization programs and its fiscal and monetary policies.