PH political risk rising, says Fitch unit
The plan to suspend barangay elections poses a risk to the country’s political stability even as the research arm of the Fitch Group believes President Duterte will unlikely declare martial law.
“President Duterte’s repeated threats to impose martial law and to suspend local elections as a further step have heightened the risk of political instability in the Philippines,” BMI Research said in a report.
Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno earlier said President Duterte wanted barangay elections postponed in October and also wanted to end the term of all barangay officials and replace them with his appointees.
Also, the President once again threatened to declare martial law “as he attempts to eradicate narcotics in the country and solve the issue of terrorism in the Southern Philippines,” BMI Research noted.
“Previously, the President had only threatened to impose martial law in Mindanao … but it appears that the scope has now been widened to the entire nation,” it added.
For BMI Research, “although Duterte’s statement has raised the specter of political instability in the Philippines, we are maintaining the country’s short-term political risk index score at 63.5 (out of 100) for now.”
“We are also keeping our real GDP growth forecast unchanged at 6.3 percent for 2017 for the time being, but note that a nationwide martial law will likely dampen the country’s economic growth outlook,” according to BMI Research.
Despite Duterte’s threats to declare martial law, BMI Research said “we believe that a return to a dictatorship era seen under former President Ferdinand Marcos is highly unlikely.”
For one, “the return to a dictatorship is highly controversial and opposed by most of the population as seen by the political divide and commotion among the people caused by the administration’s decision to bury Former President Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery,” BMI Research said.
“Duterte will likely risk significant popular support and face strong political objection if he attempts to extend his power,” BMI Research added.
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