Filipino expats support Duterte despite a drop in peso

Filipino expats support Duterte despite a drop in peso
Gemmy Lontoc, marketing head of Southeast Asia corridor at UAE Exchange

dubai - Crackdown on crime and corruption will eventually lead to a more stable economy, say expats


Angel Tesorero

Published: Wed 28 Sep 2016, 7:54 PM

Last updated: Wed 28 Sep 2016, 10:17 PM

Filipino expats in Dubai continue to throw their support to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte amidst reports of low confidence from foreign investors and the value of the Philippine currency dropping to a seven-year low.

The value of Philippine peso against the UAE dirham hovered between P13.07 to P13.12 on Monday, the lowest in seven years, according to Gemmy Lontoc, UAE Exchange-Southeast Asia corridor marketing head.

The Philippine currency slightly strengthened on Tuesday - ranging between P13.06 to P13.09 - and slightly weakened again on Wednesday between 13.07-13.11.

"It has been very volatile - moving sideways - the past three days," Lontoc said. "And it is hard to predict if it will reach P14 against the dirham any time soon."

According to reports, the Philippine peso dropped to a seven-year low and stocks declined as investors pulled their money following international criticism on Duterte's policies and series of verbal tirades against world leaders, particularly the US, European Union and United Nations, stemming from his anti-crime campaign that has claimed more than 3,000 lives.

"As a Duterte supporter, I see it as a temporary setback, maybe due to the shock of some international market financiers who rely on mere speculations," said Roy Tamano, former president of Filipino Maranao Community in the UAE.

"The Western oligarchs control most of the markets, especially in the third world. A resistance to their traditional way of thinking could cost someone's leadership. In the case of Duterte, they just found a scapegoat to justify their wish to find other locations to transfer their wealth. Duterte is a tough leader, they [foreign investors] cannot control him as he steers the country to a centre-socialist one," Tamano underlined.

"Duterte should not be blamed for all the problems of the Philippines," said Arabella Canaria. "I've read so many good things that the president has done in so short a time since he took office."

"Duterte may have an overbearing attitude but he has re-opened the stalled peace talks with communist rebels and Moro secessionists in the South. He has brought security to many Filipinos, especially those who are afraid of heinous crimes," Canaria added.

Duterte enjoyed an overwhelming support from overseas Filipinos in the last elections.

In the UAE, 85 per cent of registered Filipino voters selected him in a five-way contest to the presidency.

Dubai resident Len Augusto told Khaleej Times: "I believe Duterte is doing his best to eradicate crime and corruption, which would then lead to a more stable economy."

"As the investors are waiting for what's about to happen and putting things on hold, I hope that eventually they see the actual clean-up that's happening and, in turn, give trust back to the Philippine economy," Augusto said.

Lontoc said: "The headlines of international media portraying low economic confidence is not completely true. There are many factors affecting the Philippine currency and not just politics."

However, Lontoc also advised Filipinos working overseas to take advantage of the high exchange rate. "As the peso depreciates, the desire to remit by saving and invest must appreciate," he said.

Mariz Aniciete, who works as a staff in a cinema chain, said she sees the situation as an opportunity to add more value to the money she sends back home. "I will definitely make a deposit to my Philippine bank account as soon as I receive my salary this week."


Roy Tamano, former president of Filipino Maranao Community in the UAE.
Roy Tamano, former president of Filipino Maranao Community in the UAE.
Len Augusto, a Dubai resident.
Len Augusto, a Dubai resident.
Arabella Canaria
Arabella Canaria
Mariz Aniciete
Mariz Aniciete

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