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“No problem with the economy” Roque insists

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PHILSTAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

Speaking in a Palace press briefing on Thursday morning, Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. insisted that, despite rising inflation levels, “there is no problem with the economy.”

This was in response to Vice-President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo’s comment that President Rodrigo R. Duterte should “focus on the economy instead of insulting her and God.”

“Sabi ko na nga po, paulit-ulit and it’s a matter of record, na we are the second fastest growing economy in the world,” Mr. Roque said. “The level of optimism is [at an] all time high, manufacturing output is [at an] all time high.”

Mr. Roque conceded that quickly rising inflation rates are an issue that warrants concern, but stressed that the weakening peso is a direct result of the administration’s national infrastructure push.

“Otherwise, all economies in the world will agree that we are a darling economy,” he said. “Our strategy is ‘Build, Build, Build’ using the national budget to steer the economy and… continue with the tremendous economic gains.”

Mr. Roque continued by addressing the Vice President directly, saying that while he understands she must feel hurt by President Duterte’s recent comments, she should take his remarks as an “honest assessment” of her abilities.

“Alam ko pong nasaktan kayo, pero iyong assessment po ni Presidente is an assessment of one who has served almost 30 years in an elective position, in addition to his 10 years being a public prosecutor,” Mr. Roque said.

“Maybe we should look into the merits of what he said, especially since, alam naman nating lahat na experience ni Vice President is three years as a Congresswoman, and two years as a Vice President,” he said. “Wala naman pong malisya doon sa assessment. It’s just a frank, honest, objective assessment of the President.”

Mr. Roque continued: “Otherwise po, hindi na niya hihingin na iyong transition leader should be elected. If he feels that the country will be safe in the hands of the Vice President. So iyon lang po iyon. It’s an honest assessment.”