Marcos Signals Economic Continuity With Cabinet Appointments

Ferdinand Marcos Jr, President-elect of the Philippines

Philippines President-elect Ferdinand Marcos has added two familiar faces to his cabinet with his picks central bank governor and finance minister, indicating a continuation of the economic direction set his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte.

Marcos announced that current central bank chief Benjamin Diokno will leave the position to become finance minister in his government, with Felipe Medalla appointed to replace him at Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Marcos, who was very vague on policy during his presidential campaign, has been focused on a message of economic prosperity since winning the election.

“The first priority is always going to be the economy,” the President-elect said in a video on his Facebook page. “It’s still down to jobs, to the increasing prices of commodities, some relief for the business community”.

The immediate challenge for the Marcos administration will be to curb rising inflation, driven by soaring commodities prices. Households facing financial pressure will be hopeful the new government implements measures to keep the price of rice and fuel in check. Marcos has repeatedly promised to cut rice prices more than 50% to 20 pesos ($0.38) per kilogram.

Marcos secured a strong majority in this month’s election, marking the conclusion of a remarkable turnaround for a family once expelled from the country. The reign of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. from 1965 to 1986 was marred by human rights abuses and for many in the country the family’s political comeback had seemed unimaginable.

The incoming president receives a fairly healthy economy from his predecessor. GDP grew by 8.3% in the first quarter of 2022, the fastest growth in three quarters, but economists have a keen eye on the inflation rate, with any significant rises sure to impact domestic consumption.