Sixth award underscores success of Aquino’s governance philosophy in turning the Philippines around
22 February 2016—Philippine Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima has been awarded Finance Minister of the Year 2015 by FinanceAsia, second in a row from the publication and his sixth in total for his 6-year tenure under the Aquino Administration.
Awarded in a ceremony last 27 January 2015 in Hong Kong, Purisima’s recognition brings the Philippines to a full circle. Upon the online announcement of the award today, Purisima said, “With our 5-year average growth rate of 6.2% hitting the highest in 40 years, the turnaround project is complete. The Philippines, once the sick man of Asia, is now the region’s resilient bright spot.”
FinanceAsia indeed cited the Philippines as one of the few bright spots in Southeast Asia, faring relatively well in part because of its service industry focus, strong domestic consumption, government spending (which rose 19% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2015, according to HSBC), and the steady flow of remittances from its diaspora of overseas workers.
FinanceAsia noted that Philippine debt-to-GDP has fallen to 44.8% as of end-2015 with foreign debt minimized to 15.6% of GDP amid extended maturities. The publication also recognized how the government’s tax collection has expanded too, from 12.1% in 2010 to 13.7% for January-November 2015. The country has used its expanding fiscal space to invest heavily, increasing the social services budget fivefold over 5 years and and hitting its goal of spending 5% of GDP on infrastructure, the publication notes.
The latest credit rating upgrade by NICE Investors Service to a notch from the minimum investment grade (BBB) makes the Philippines the most upgraded sovereign in the last 5 years with 24 positive credit rating actions.
The Philippines also won both the Best Philippines Deal and Best Sovereign Bond awards for its $2 billion 25-year bond offering, praised for its “consistency…coupled with terrific timing and a tender switch that once again marked the sovereign out as one of the region’s savviest borrowers. The Philippines has now become a “touchstone for sovereign issuance in the region.” National Treasurer Roberto B. Tan was also in the awards night to receive the awards along with transaction managers.
“We have come full circle in restoring robust confidence in the Philippines. A pattern of recognition makes it clear this is no longer about me, but about the underlying vision President Aquino has led this country with. This does not speak of the excellence of individuals, but rather of the excellence of our guiding governance philosophy.
This is something we hope we can follow through on for the next 6 years,” Purisima said.
Purisima has been recognized as Finance Minister of the Year for a total of 6 times in his 6 years as Aquino’s chief economic manager–a streak that is first in the history of the Department of Finance.
He was first recognized by Emerging Markets as 2011 Finance Minister of the Year for Asia, and was named 2012 Finance Minister of the Year by Euromoney. He was once again the choice of Emerging Markets for 2013 Finance Minister of the Year for Asia and by The Banker on the same year as 2013 Finance Minister of the Year for Asia Pacific. Last year, he was awarded the Finance Minister of the Year 2014 by FinanceAsia for his leadership in driving the turnaround story of the Philippines.
Online FinanceAsia article can be found here: http://www.financeasia.com/News/406008,cesar-purisima-asias-best-finance-minister.aspx