FROM SUBPAR TO SUBLIME

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CONTRARY to what many political and economic analysts are saying, it appears that Donald Trump’s presidency would be better for the Philippines than Hillary Clinton’s victory.

While Trump espoused protectionism through his ‘America for Americans first’ declarations during the campaign, his most recent pronouncements indicated that he can bend over and make some compromises.

Most of the analysts’ uncertainties stemmed from the fact the Philippine economy had been highly dependent on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFWs) as well as the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, majority of which cater to American firms.

Earlier, Japanese financial giant Nomura said in a report titled “What Trump means for Asia” that the US with Trump as the new president is the biggest risk for the Philippines’ growth next year.

Nomura had projected 6.7-percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the Philippines this year before easing to 6.3 percent in 2017 and 6.1 percent in 2018.

They based their projections on the fact that the US as a destination of mostly Philippine merchandise exports is the highest in the region at 15.3 percent with a trade surplus of about 0.7 percent of GDP. 

Also, they fear that should Trump decide to bring back jobs at home, the BPO sector would greatly be affected.

But recent developments indicate that Trump is not keen on making good of some of his campaign promises especially those that would directly affect his country’s overall global posture.

Notwithstanding the anti-US rhetoric by President Duterte which was mostly directed at President Obama, there are no indications that Trump would make moves that could result to weaker relations with the US.

As extensively discussed in OpinYon’s previous issue, Duterte’s pivot to China, alongside the plan to ramp up government spending on infrastructure, would mitigate risks from a US led by Trump.

As it is, a Trump presidency might even do wonders not only for the Philippines but the whole Asian region and the world as well, because he was not interested in making America assume the role of the so-called ‘policeman of the world’.

The move would greatly ease tensions in the South Sea which could be a potential flashpoint had Clinton won the presidency.

Until lately, stronger Philippines-China ties were established after Duterte preferred to deal directly with them without insisting on the favorable UN International Court of Arbitration ruling on the South China Sea dispute.

OpinYon believes that Trump presidency is not bad for the country after all especially since he and Duterte appear to be on the same plane and do not intend to go up against each other.

In fact, PH-US relations could even turn from the present subpar to sublime if Trump and Duterte could get their acts together.