Monday, October 3, 2016

Some OFWs unhappy about PHL peso drop, blame Duterte for it

On Monday, September 26, the Philippine peso closed at P48.250 against the US dollar — the weakest since September 16, 2009. But although their families in the Philippine stand to benefit, not all OFWs welcomed the development.
"Para sa ekonomiya natin, mas gusto ko na mababa ang dollar," said Ranel Buctolan, a sales agent in the United Arab Emirates.
Jason Zacate, service advisor in the UAE, is also not totally ecstatic about the peso's performance, although he admitted that it has its benefits to OFWs.
"Maganda lang 'yun kung malaki 'yung napapadala namin sa 'Pinas. Yun nga lang, bagsak ang ekonomiya," he said.
Buctolan could not help but blame President Rodrigo Duterte and his anti-US rhetoric and the direction of his foreign policy for the depreciation of the Philippine peso.
"Tingin ko, ang nangyaring pagbaba ng piso ay dahil sa foreign policy ng presidente natin—pabago-bago," he said. "As a president, dapat hindi siya padalos-dalos magsalita."
Terence Alave, a computer programmer in the US, said the weakening of the peso may not be related to Duterte, but the timing was "unsettling."
"Puwedeng related, puwedeng hindi. Yung timing kasi ang titignan mo. I find it unsettling, to say the least," he said.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno has already clarified that the peso drop was a result of the impending increase in interest rates in the US, and not because of Duterte's controversial statements.
"The depreciation of the peso is a result of the strengthening of the dollar, more than the weakening of the peso," he said.
Singapore-based OFW Cyris Ulep agreed with Diokno that Duterte should not be blamed for the weak peso: "Hindi naman totally siya (Duterte) ang reason bakit bumaba ang palitan ng US dollar," she said. "On-off naman talaga ang palitan."
Judaea Tobiah Vapor, 29, sales executive in Japan, meanwhile said the peso's poor performance against the dollar could be just "coincidence."
"Ang baba din ng yen this week. US is doing okay pretty much. I would have to say that it is just a coincidence," she said. 
"If I say yes to that, I might as well say that Prime Minister Abe of Japan is also doing pretty bad as the Japanese Yen (JYD) is also not doing okay. That is [also] tantamount to saying all other president and leaders of countries affected by this week’s USD closing rates are doing bad."
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez had earlier said he preferred a "slightly weak" peso against the dollar as it would benefit families of OFWs and at the same time help the export sector.
"I would prefer a peso that is slightly weak," he told a news forum in August. "Because our OFWs benefit and also the exporters benefit."
"That's why we have to balance all the time," Dominguez added. —KBK, GMA News

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