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Awards

Finance minister of the year 2012: Purisima pushes Philippines to new heights

Confidence in the Philippines’ economy among the international financial community has never been better, and finance secretary Cesar Purisima has played a key role – tackling the country’s problems and improving its finances.

Cesar Purisima is not afraid to stick to what he believes in. In July 2005, his first term as the Philippines’ finance secretary came to an abrupt end when news broke that president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had allegedly rigged the 2004 election in her favour. Purisima, along with nine other cabinet ministers, resigned from their posts.

Fast forward to 2012 and Purisima is back in place as finance minister, two years into his second term. President Benigno Aquino is the architect of the new administration’s anti-corruption drive, but Purisima is his main co-conspirator, championing the idea that "good governance leads to good economics".

Bankers in the country say he has stuck to his guns, and the country is reaping the rewards.

"The public was initially sceptical of Purisima’s slogan," says Consuelo D Garcia, country manager and managing director of ING in the Philippines. "Many just didn’t believe that this administration would be any different from the last."

Recent data compiled by Euromoney Country Risk highlight that the Philippines’ economic fundamentals have improved since the beginning of the year: its score has risen by more than 10%, one of the biggest improvements among global economies.

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