Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said on Wednesday, September 28, that the United States did not manipulate the depreciation of the peso against the US dollar.
Diokno said that that the peso weakened against the strengthening dollar as the US economy improves, encouraging short-term investors in the Philippines and other countries to invest in the US, he told reporters after his confirmation as the new budget secretary by the Commission on Appointments.
He explained that depreciation of the peso was a “natural and rational behavior… not a manipulation on the part of investors.”
Diokno added that the US even wanted the Philippines to increase its interest rates but the country’s economic condition then was not as good as it is now.
Diokno’s statement came after President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday accused the US of manipulating the peso when it was reported to have sunk to a seven-year record low on Monday at P48.25 to $1 since the dollar hit P48.356 on September 16, 2009.
“Ina-undermine tayo ng mga Amerikano ngayon. They are manipulating na ang peso raw ay bumababa. Kinakaya-kaya kasi tayo ng mga Amerikano. Binabastos na ba. There is always China and I talked to [Russia Prime Minister Dmitry] Medvedev doon sa… Kapag inipit nila, ako, I will have alliances pero hindi tayo makaalis. We have RP-US pact eh. New alliances of commerce and trade,” Duterte said.
Diokno also had an advice for foreign investors wanting to invest in the Philippines to “not to be distracted by the noise.”