NEDA: Martial law extension won’t affect economy

NEDA Chief Ernesto Pernia (PTV photo)

THE National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has dispelled fears that the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao will adversely affect the economy.

“If we go by the experience in Marawi, it’s going to be neutral at worst. It could boost investor confidence if it’s done (similar to) what happened in Marawi,” NEDA Director-General Ernesto Pernia told reporters on Thursday.

Pernia noted the martial law declaration seemed to be well-administered “so our before and after analysis was it was more positive than negative.”

Meanwhile, NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon cited the Philippine credit rating upgrade by Fitch Ratings despite the extension of martial law in Mindanao.

“And that is really because of different characteristics of martial law we are having and that we are hoping that it will be maintained throughout this extension,” she said in a press briefing.

Edillon based her optimism on the assessment in Mindanao after the Marawi siege, noting there was no significant effect in the local economies of other provinces.

“We looked at it from the point of view of the goods market, inflation, tourism, construction and in terms of shipping. And from these indicators, we see that there was no really discernable impact of martial declaration in Mindanao,” Edillon said.

There was even a slight uptick in the amount of investments pouring into Mindanao in the second quarter of the year.

“This goes to show that the rest of the investors actually were able to isolate the Marawi crisis from the martial law implementation and that it did not affect their decisions,” she said.

Edillon also cited result of fourth-quarter business and consumer expectation surveys indicating that the declaration was “not listed as among the issues that were bothering the respondent consumers and businessmen”.

Congress on Wednesday approved President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend the imposition of martial law in the entire Mindanao until December 31, 2018 amid persistent threats of ISIS-inspired terrorist groups. p: wjg