MALACAÑANG brushed aside Wednesday the concern of a British diplomat in the Philippines over President Rodrigo Duterte's decision-making.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella issued a statement, responding to British Ambassador Asif Ahmad’s remark that there have been apparent “distraction and noises” since Duterte assumed the presidency in June 30 last year.

“Confidence – both business and consumers – is high in the Duterte administration. One wishes diplomats were more familiar with life beyond the rarefied atmosphere of gated villages,” Abella said.

“With all due respect to the British Ambassador, Mr. Asif Ahmad’s remark that ‘change has come in the Philippines but not in a good way’ does not reflect the true sentiment of the common Filipino[s],” he added.

In a report by newspaper The Philippine Star, Ahmad was quoted as saying that “change has come to the Philippines, but not necessarily in a good way.”

“What I’m saying is the distraction that we see now, the noises, is almost ‘un-Filipino.’ It’s something that we are not used to,” he said in an interview with reporters in his Forbes Park residence on Monday night.

Ahmad particularly expressed apprehension on the administration’s campaign on illegal drugs and plan to revive death penalty.

Despite challenges the administration is facing, Abella noted that the country is projected to face growing economy this year, according to international financial institutions like World Bank and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, and credit watcher Standard and Poor’s.

He added that the Asian Development Bank likewise supports the administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda and plans to finance infrastructure projects and other development initiatives. (SunStar Philippines)