Villegas to diplomats: PH future looks bright

Villegas to diplomats: PH future looks bright

by Carlo Cabrera on October 23, 2012 - 11:40 am

Left to right: American Counselor for Economic Affairs Joel Ehrendriech, Chilean Consul and Deputy Chief of Mission Luis Alberto Palma, Adviser to the Consulate General of Syria Lance Masters, and Syrian Consul General Issam Eldebs. Photo by Carlo Cabrera.

(From left) American Counselor for Economic Affairs Joel Ehrendriech, Chilean Consul and Deputy Chief of Mission Luis Alberto Palma, Adviser to the Consulate General of Syria Lance Masters, and Syrian Consul General Issam Eldebs. Photo by Carlo Cabrera

“It’s the best time to invest in the Philippines,” UA&P co-founder Dr. Bernardo Villegas told members of the diplomatic corps at the economic briefing held recently at the University. His talk, tailored specifically to that audience, had a bright outlook on the future of the country, whose time, according to Dr. Villegas, had come to reap the rewards from economic policies made in the last few presidential administrations. 

“We could be looking at growth rates of 7-10% in the next ten years as a result of over 25 years of slow and painful reforms,” he said, citing HSBC’s “The Wider World in 2050 Report” prediction that the Philippines would be the 16th largest economy in 40 years’ time.

Dr. Bernardo Villegas

Dr. Bernardo Villegas

Dr. Villegas attributes this growth to the country’s stable democracy, strong macroeconomic fundamentals, labor peace, educated labor force, and strategic geographic location. Its high rate of savings due to OFW remittances and low rate of dependence on petroleum have also contributed to creating “one of the best performing stock markets in the world.”

Citing recent statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Dr. Villegas said that the Philippines is currently one of the world’s “emerging markets” based on its sizable population and GDP. It joins the ranks of other growing economies Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Korea, Turkey, and Vietnam.

According to Dr. Villegas, the challenges the country needs to overcome in order to maintain its growth are corruption, red tape and bureaucracy, inefficient infrastructures, poverty, and its vulnerability to natural calamities. He nevertheless remained confident in a number of “sunrise industries” such as agribusiness, mining, medical tourism, and IT.

Sri-Lankan Ambassador Nawalage Bennet Cooray and Chilean Ambassador Roberto Mayorga

Sri-Lankan Ambassador Nawalage Bennet Cooray and Chilean Ambassador Roberto Mayorga

One of the most distinguished economists in the country, Dr. Villegas’ briefing on the Philippine economic situation was attended by officials from the Philippine embassies of Chile, Sri Lanka, Syria, Iran, Thailand, Indonesia, Georgia, Sweden, the US, Canada, Vietnam, the Netherlands, New Zealand Turkey, China, and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The economic briefing is given yearly for the benefit of the diplomatic community in the Philippines.

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