Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima has been awarded for the fifth time as Finance Minister of the Year, with FinanceAsia recognizing his leadership in driving the turnaround story of the Philippines as head of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s team of economic managers. FinanceAsia ranked Purisima first among the best of his counterparts, ahead of finance ministers of Singapore, China, and Japan, rounding Purisima’s 4-year tenure in the Cabinet’s highest ranks to a perfect 4, with recognitions earned for each year of service.
Purisima was lauded for steering the economy away from stagnation and towards broad-based growth, resulting in the Philippines reaching investment grade status from major credit rating agencies. Last quarter’s 6.9% GDP growth exceeded expectations and marked twelve straight quarters of above 5% GDP growth, comfortably putting the average quarterly growth rate under the Aquino administration at 6.02%.
At the awards ceremony, Purisima said, “The award truly belongs to President Aquino and my colleagues in the Philippine cabinet because the economic growth and fiscal reforms are truly a team effort, proving that ‘Good Governance is Good Economics.’ We have proven yet again that the Philippine miracle is not a one-hit wonder. We’re here to stay, and we are ready to play big in the world stage.”
Purisima added, “In 4 years, the Philippines has achieved what we set out to do: we grew at a 6% average and cut the deficit to an all-time low. Stocks are up 125% since we took office and foreign direct investments rose 64% from January to October 2014 alone.
“We’ve checked every box, a feat deemed impossible by many. Less than 2 years before the end of this term, we are pushing for even more game-changing reforms. There is no shortage of impossible dreams for a Philippines filled with hope. We are raring and ready for more.”
This award comes at an opportune time, as the Philippines hosts the 2015 APEC meetings calling for greater financial integration and transparency, as well as financing for resiliency and infrastructure around the region.
FinanceAsia also cited Purisima’s role in pushing for Sin Tax Reform, credited for boosting the health budget by a staggering 57% from 2013 levels, with share of excise taxes collected the highest in 13 years.
“Reforms beget rewards. This award strengthens our resolve to double down on reforms: rationalize fiscal incentives, modernize our revenue generating agencies, and engineer a competitive and equitable tax structure for all Filipinos,” Purisima said.
This fifth citation marks the fourth consecutive year where Purisima has been acknowledged Finance Minister of the Year by various institutions. In 2011, he was recognized as the Finance Minister of the Year for Asia by Emerging Markets, while Euromoney gave him the distinction of Finance Minister of the Year for 2012.