By Genalyn Kabiling
The business community remains supportive of President Duterte as well as bullish about the country’s economic prospects despite the drop in the President’s popularity ratings, a Palace official said on Tuesday.
Presidential adviser on entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said the business community recognizes the President’s peace and order efforts would help provide a conducive business environment to spur growth.
“Despite the ratings of our President which are slightly down, what really is important is that the business community is solidly behind the President,” he said during a Palace press briefing.
“As you can see, our stock market hit all-time high a couple of days ago. If there is no business confidence, then you won’t see the stock market making a new high,” he said.
Both large and small businesses are “very bullish” about the economy despite the political noise, according to Concepcion.
“Right now, the barometer of confidence to me in the business side is pretty high. And that can continue to be maintained if businessmen see that the country is moving forward,” he said.
He noted that several companies have expressed interest in the government’s infrastructure program, particularly in airport development.
“We have the unsolicited offer of Ramon Ang of San Miguel for Bulacan and the Ayala group, very much interested in NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport),” he said.
“And together with the other conglomerates like Lance Gokongwei of Cebu Pacific and Michael Tan, they too would like to be part of this partnership, especially in airport development,” he added.
He said more airport offers are expected “in the next 60, 90 days.”
Concepcion said these companies must use their own balance sheet, not rely on government guarantee or support in borrowing money for these projects.
“They’ve pledged that if they lose the bid, they will not file any case. That’s what we agreed upon verbally,” he added.
He said large conglomerates have promised to bring the micro and small entrepreneurs into the system. “They are suppliers or help them enter the supermarkets,” he said.
Concepcion, meantime, is confident the local economy will remain resilient amid the stock market rally, industrial peace and stable commodity prices.
“I think the stock market will continue to do better. Interest rates will continue to be what they are. Our foreign exchange will play within a range, that’s the way it is,” he said.
“Commodity prices are basically stable. Power rates have come down, especially for us, it’s come down because a lot more companies are being set up,” he said.