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“We will not sit and wait idly while the planet burns”

We speak with the Philippines’ secretary of finance about the importance of sustainable finance and some long-term lessons from the pandemic

An interview with: Carlos G Dominguez III Finance Secretary of the Philippines

Heavy monsoon rain linked to Typhoon In-fa causes severe flooding on residential property near Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines in July 2021. Photo by Shutterstock.

In the first part of this interview, we spoke about the fiscal pressures brought about by COVID-19 on the Philippines, the country’s monetary and fiscal response to the pandemic and the economic recovery.

In the second part of this conversation, we speak with Carlos G Dominguez III, Finance Secretary of the Philippines, about the long-term lessons for Asian economies from the pandemic, potential interest rate hikes by the Fed, and sustainable finance in the Philippines.

Unravel: What are some long-term lessons from the pandemic for economies in Asia/ Southeast Asia from a fiscal balancing perspective?

Carlos G Dominguez: The key in ensuring economic resilience amidst events of large      shock—such as the pandemic—is to build and maintain ample fiscal space during good times as it is because of our low initial debt that the Philippines was able to navigate the pandemic without losing access to cheap credit.

Additionally, the fiscal response should be conservatively balanced with long-term debt sustainability. It is very easy to succumb to the public and political pressure of providing more amelioration. However, cooler heads should always consider long-term ramifications. In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, great uncertainty still remains with regards to the length and depth of the crisis, thus, similar to a 12-round boxing match, we should not throw all our best punches in the first round. Instead, interventions should be calculated and conserved to last the full 12-rounds. Read More



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