A year has already passed since Rodrigo R. Duterte took office as the Philippines’ 16th president.
While there are many ways to assess a president’s first year in power, we focused on measurable indicators that can be compared with those of past presidents, namely, Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
First, we considered the number of executive orders (EOs) and laws that he signed. Duterte signed the least number of EOs and laws compared to other presidents, including Aquino, who, fairly or unfairly, is considered as some sort of a slacker. This is potentially worrisome. While Duterte likes to promise a lot of things in his speeches, nothing will get done until he issues the pertinent orders.
Second, we took at look at the peso-dollar rate, which is a big factor in determining consumer prices. Many of the items we consume or produce are made of imported components, whose price goes up or down depending on the foreign exchange rate. Under Duterte’s first year, the peso fell 6.8 percent, the worst first-year record among the past presidents.
Third, we examined the 91-day Treasury Bill rate, which is used in setting lending rates, one of the major costs of doing business. The closely watched T-Bill rate rose 31.8 percent since Duterte came to power, again the worst first-year record compared to the past four presidents.
Lastly, we looked at the Philippine Stock Exchange Composite Index (PSEi), an indicator of business sentiment. Fortunately, this is still up though by just a slight 0.6 percent, putting Duterte’s record right in the middle. Though some of Duterte’s actions have hurt some mining and gaming stocks, his economic managers’ efforts to ramp up infrastructure spending has generally been positive for investor sentiment.
Pauline Macaraeg is Entrepreneur PH's data journalist. Follow her on Twitter @paulinemacaraeg