Filipinos in Dubai continue to support Duterte despite drop in peso

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Filipinos in Dubai continue to support Duterte despite drop in peso

Dubai - On Monday, the value of Philippine peso against the UAE dirham range between 13.07 to 13.12 - the lowest in seven years.


Angel Tesorero

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Published: Mon 26 Sep 2016, 6:43 PM

Last updated: Tue 27 Sep 2016, 9:51 PM

Filipino expats in Dubai continue to show 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 range between 13.07 peso to 13.12 peso 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, hovering between 13.06 to 13.09, and Lontoc said it would be hard to predict if it will reach 14 peso to 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 criticisms on Duterte's policies and series of verbal tirades against world leaders, particularly the US, EU and UN, 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 center-socialist one," Tamano underlined.

"Duterte should not be blamed for all the problems of the Philippines," added Arabella Canaria. "I've read so many good things that President Duterte 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.

"I campaigned for him," 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 expressed.

For his part, Lontoc explained: "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."

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