Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the Philippine economy was one of the best performing in the world before the pandemic.
STAR/ KJ Rosales, file
Palace on Duterte’s 4 years in office: A great performance
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - July 3, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines  — Despite the controversies that hounded his administration, President Duterte delivered a “great performance” in his four years in office, Malacañang said yesterday, as it expressed optimism that the Philippines would overcome the coronavirus pandemic due to “very sound fundamentals.”

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the Philippine economy was one of the best performing in the world before the pandemic.

He cited the country’s 6.5 percent average economic growth, low inflation and interest rates and credit rating upgrade.

“So it was actually a great performance as far as the economy is concerned; as far as approval of the President is concerned, it did not go below 80 percent. So the people approve of the things being done by the President, including the campaign against illegal drugs,” Roque said at a press briefing.

“It’s been a great four years. We faced trials but because we have very sound fundamentals, we will recover from COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019),” he added.

Human rights groups have criticized Duterte’s key policies including his crackdown on narcotics, which has so far left more than 6,000 drug suspects dead. They claimed that Duterte’s fiery rhetoric, including his order to shoot drug suspects dead, has resulted in extrajudicial killings and other abuses.

Officials have disputed the claims and maintained that the President does not condone unlawful activities.

They have also maintained that many of the slain drug suspects had violently resisted arresting officers.

Critics have also assailed the administration for allegedly adopting a militaristic approach in its COVID-19 response but Malacañang denied this, saying its policies are based on science and take into account the economic impact of the pandemic.

Roque reiterated that the government’s lockdown measures are effective in containing the virus, which has so far infected more than 38,000 persons in the country.

“Based on surveys, our countrymen agree with the actions of the President and I will bring you back to the truth that based on the UP (University of the Philippines) study, if we did not impose a lockdown, we would have as much as three million COVID-19 cases,” he said.

Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo claimed the administration has attained “countless achievements” in the last four years.

He cited the giving of financial support to poor patients, regularization of workers, distribution of lands titles to agrarian reform beneficiaries, the President’s “independent foreign policy” and the signing of laws on universal healthcare, Bangsamoro autonomous region, mobile number portability, expanded maternity leave and student discounts.

Authorities, he added, have seized P42.85 billion worth of shabu in the last four years.

Panelo also claimed that the President has no “sacred cows,” citing the firing of officials tagged in irregularities. Critics, however, have scored Duterte for giving new posts to some of the officials he fired.

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