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The Philippines: Teves faces up to taxing issues

The Philippines’ finance secretary has stabilized the economy during his three-year tenure, but external shocks could derail his plans.

Philippines Financial Secretary, Margarito “Gary” Teves

"For developing countries with limited resources, we could probably do with a little less democracy"
Margarito Teves

The Philippines’ secretary of finance, Margarito Teves, talks to Eric Ellis about his achievements and aspirations in keeping the economy on a stable growth path.

THE preferred office of Philippines Financial Secretary, Margarito "Gary" Teves is not to be found in the bowels of the Finance Ministry but in the heart of Manila’s business district, Niew Makati, on the executive mezzanine level of one of the country’s biggest banks. For 65-year-old Teves, an amiable politician-businessman hybrid now three years in this important job, this is more than simply convenience and being closer to those most interested in his deliberations, Philippines Inc. In a country plagued by chronic infrastructural deficiencies, New Makati simply functions better than the creaking finance ministry building in the older Manila environs. Teves says that his ministry is having "electrical wiring" issues.

Plus ça change

Plus ça change plus c’est la même chose as foreign investors might rue in this vibrant but often difficult country with a booming, mostly Catholic, population that struggles to lift itself from the mire of inefficiency.

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