Ms. Lilia de Lima, the Director General of the investment-promotion agency PEZA (the Philippine Economic Zone Authority) has recently said that reforms currently being implemented by the organization could well lead to the nation becoming an economic giant over the next ten years or so, drawing praise from President Aquino for such efforts. The Philippines could be become a major economic powerhouse within the region.
There are, of course, obstacles that remain in the way – as there would be with any nation – which include seemingly unnecessary bureaucracy procedures, excessive red-tape and, perhaps most of all, governmental graft and corruption.
Leading the way, the PEZA are already implementing and enforcing such policies within their own organization, leading to a positive international outlook that has already attracted almost PhP3.2 trillion in investments in the country’s already-setup economic zones since 1995.
“The Philippines today stands before a giant door of opportunities never before opened until now. Our economy is on a continuous upward trajectory,” said Ms. de Lima.
Bolstering this claim is the World Bank, who have stated that the Philippines’ recent growth is particularly impressive, leading the international financial institution to refer to our nation as a “rising tiger” in terms of potential economic growth.
Further obstacles include an infrastructure in urgent need of maintenance and upgrading, insufficient levels of direct foreign investment, as well as economic restrictions that are already in place; however, with upcoming elections, Filipino economist Bernardo Villegas has stated that, provided the most suitable candidate succeeds the office of the current president, the economy could begin to grow by as much as 10 percent with regards to gross domestic product (GDP).
Let us not forget that it’s we, the people of the Philippines, who truly hold the keys to the future success (and possible failure) of the nation. Making the right choices in your daily lives with regards to overcoming the obstacles stated here can truly lead the country to a whole new level of progress and success, without giving up the core values of what it means to be Filipino, and proud of it. Ms. de Lima also went on to say that such a responsibility primarily rests upon the younger generations that are currently coming through the education system and entering the workforce today: “Our demographics, a young population with over 100 million Filipinos with a median age of 23.5 is our strongest asset. The over 1 million Filipinos that enter the labour force annually – half of them are college graduates – is no longer a challenge but an opportunity for this country to be among the leaders in the region. With all these ageing societies worldwide and we have the right demographics that know how to speak English, if we do it right within the next 10 years we have a big chance.”
It’s time to stand up, be proud, and drive the nation towards a level of growth that we perhaps have never seen.