Economic experts say: 2013 to bring more growth
By: Ehda M. Dagoc (The Freeman), The Philippine Star, 2 January 2013
CEBU, Philippines – The year of the “water snake” brings heightened confidence for Cebu economy and the Philippines in general, as businessmen and economic experts believe a much better growth and livelier 2013 are up ahead.
The fast-changing skyline of Metro Cebu. Economic experts believe Cebu will still experience robust growth this year. REYNAN VILLENA
Undoubtedly, Cebu enjoyed the start of economic “turn-around” in 2012, and this momentum is expected to gain strength—even better. Starting 2012, the Philippines, through the magnified thrust of Aquino-led government in curbing corruption, enjoyed good ratings, thus international investors are zooming in their interest to the Philippines, once again, said businessman Dondi Joseph.
Cebu, with its well-known economic stability despite crises and calamities, benefited from the good Philippine economic landscape, in fact, it has been able to soar higher economically, while tangible indicators in real estate, tourism, and BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), and retail cannot be denied even by the most sceptical observers. Number of real estate projects soared, constructions for hotels, commercial buildings, shopping malls, condominiums, subdivisions, among others have doubled in number in 2012, and this is seen to triple in 2013.
Businessman and tourism advocate Jay P. Aldeguer also expressed confidence on the right economic track the country is heading, saying the economic turn-around is no longer a mere “perception”, but is already happening.
“It seems that Cebu will continue to thrive in 2013. The momentum is very apparent. Not only is there immense interest from outside investors but also a lot of investments coming from the Cebuano community which I think is best indication,” Aldeguer said.
Tourism, real estate, BPO and retail are some of the more dynamic industries that will continue to dominate Cebu’s economy, Aldeguer emphasized, adding that another exciting development is the number of small businesses sprouting up everywhere. “This is a very good sign that business is good and confidence is up.”
While in the past, businessmen showed off their fears, with a clear “wait and see” attitude, this time, fear and cautiousness were no longer part of their business “vocabulary,” while the evidence of opportunities are showing and even more profound.
Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Prudencio Gesta confirmed this positive outlook for Cebu and the Philippines in general in 2013, saying “we’ve seen good signs of growth in 2011, as long as the trend will continue, we should expect increased financial and economic opportunities.’
The 7.1 GDP (Gross Domestic Product) performance of the Philippines based on the latest report cemented the confidence of local and international investors to pour in more investments for the Philippines by 2013, Gesta said.
Artificial GDP growth is expected in the first half of 2013 due to the election season and this will bolster more strength to the country’s economy and improve further the purchasing power of Filipinos.
Gesta urged local capitalists and businessmen to take advantage of the opportunities and holding to the confidence that the Philippines is out of the ‘razor’s edge’ in terms of economic fragility.
“We are calling the local investors to start their positioning now, if they haven’t positioned yet,” he said, otherwise, outside capitalists will take the golden opportunity of Cebu and ultimately take over and siphon the wealth readily available.
Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) president Philip Tan echoed the Cebuano business leaders’ economic optimism, saying growth is expected for 2013, and that’s “no doubt.’
Cebu Investment and Promotions Center (CIPC) supported the high-powered optimism of the Cebu business community, saying the revival of global manufacturing investors’ interest to the Philippines will bring thousands of employment opportunity for Cebu starting this year.
CIPC managing director Joel Mari S. Yu said that his office had already received dozens of inquiries from foreign investors expressing interest to locate in Cebu to set up huge light engineering facilities.
With the manufacturing renaissance, employment opportunities in Cebu will not only be limited to “college graduates,” or the professionals, but also jobs for the undergrads, as most manufacturing companies do not require higher educational attainment for their rank and file employees.
Renowned Filipino economist Bernardo Villegas also painted a rosier economic picture for the Philippines in 2013, saying the country is facing brighter prospects even in the next 10 to 15 years, “the best it has ever faced.’
According to Villegas the Philippines’ remarkable economic foundation gained praises from outside economic rating agencies and experts who do not have self-serving reasons to include the Philippines as the country to watch out for in Southeast Asia in the next few years.
Villegas, who is a professor from the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) said that his bright prospects for the Philippines is not just because he is known as the “prophet of boom” economist, but he is just confirming what economic experts in the world have been projecting for the Philippines.
The HSBC for instance recently named the Philippines as the 16th largest economy in 2050 based on its Wider World in 2050 report. “We will see a different Philippines in terms of growth in the next 10 to 20 years,” said Villegas.
Now, if Filipinos will refuse to believe their own country’s positive economic journey, “it’s another story.”
“What the Philippines has achieved right now, and where it will go economically has been the result of the positive contributions of the past Presidents, including what the Pnoy government is building at present,” he said.
Villegas is confident of the positive road the country is headed regardless of who will sit as the President after Pnoy.
“It doesn’t matter who the next President will be. He will have very little freedom to be tempted to be corrupt—because he will be constantly watched,” Villegas said.
The famous economist mentioned what international bestseller “Breakout Nations” author Ruchir Sharma, head of the emerging markets division at Morgan Stanley stressed in his book, saying that the Philippines is among the upcoming stars in the international economic scene, together with Turkey and Indonesia.
Sharma said the TIP (Turkey, Indonesia, Philippines) are the countries that should be watched out for in the next few years, while the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) are losing steam. The Philippines’ surprising growth in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of 6.4 percent is a good start to convince Filipino capitalists and even ordinary Filipino to believe in the brighter economic future of the country, despite some negative attributes.
“We are different, in a way that we are being favored. Labor unrest in China right now? The Philippines had been able to experience and overcame it during the 1990s, and even social unrest in other countries,” said Villegas, explaining that what other countries are experiencing right now, the Philippines experienced these already.
In terms of GDP growth, the Philippines is even better than Russia and Brazil.
However, aside from establishing good environment for governance, curbing corruption, and pursuing PPP (Private-Public-Partnership), Villegas recommended that the present administration should also take serious look in changing the constitution as some rules are already obsolete and do not attract foreign direct investments (FDI) in volumes which the country is desperately needing to complement the rosy prospects. — /JPM (FREEMAN)
Dagoc, E.M. (2013). Economic experts say: 2013 to bring more growth. The Philippine Star.
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