The Philippines has been the center of attention for the past years as another bright spot for investment amidst shaky global economy. According to a Bloomberg survey last year, the Philippine economy is expected to grow about 6.3% of its GDP which places it second to China’s 7.0% forecasted growth. With optimistic outlook and upcoming plans to harness the country’s full potential, the Philippines is on its ways to become a new global investment destination.
Since President Benigno Aquino assumed office last 2010, the Philippines has been undergoing a major overhaul in improving its image as a promising investment hub. Some of these notable implementations are the programs to fight corruption and improve the government’s fiscal management. The current administration has been bound to prosecute those who have misused government funds regardless of their position in the bureaucracy. Meanwhile, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has devised a Philippine Development Plan (PDP) which aims to create a sustainable economic growth through policy making and execution development plans such as improving industry competitiveness, facilitating infrastructure development, strengthening the financial sector and generating more employment. Infrastructures are being built to meet the growing demands for office and residential spaces as well as paving more farm-to-market roads for more efficient transportation of agricultural products. Upgrades in the education system through the K-12 program is being integrated as the country aims to produce a more competitive workforce. Policies are implemented to ensure that businesses continue to flourish without compromising the inclusive growth that the current administration is advocating for. These programs have gained renewed interest from both local and international investors. In fact, three major credit rating agencies namely: Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard and Poor’s (S&P) have upgraded the countries credit status to “investment grade”, which means that the country is stable and there is low risk to investors.
Furthermore, with investment-friendly climate in the country, expansions in businesses have paved the way for developing new economic hotspots around the archipelago giving more opportunities for the young and competent workforce to get involved. Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) industry has been in the forefront in providing these opportunities to young professionals. As part of the Service sector that makesup 57% of the country’s GDP, the BPO industry has seen rapid annual growth of 17%. The growth is mostly attributed to the population’s proficiency in the English language and its flexibility to adapt in the ever changing global market. Currently, the BPO is ranked as the third highest foreign exchange earner, it would not take long before it overtakes the dollar remittances of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW). BPO industry is expected to generate 170,000 new jobs and bring $ 20 billion in revenue in 2016.
Other than the BPO industry and OFW remittances, the tourism industry is becoming another economic key driver in bringing in foreign exchange revenues posting more than $ 4.64 billion in earnings this year and 8.24% growth rate. The Philippines is blessed with abundant natural resources. Of its 7,107 island, every single one has something to offer to everyone like pristine beaches, magnificent lagoons, stunning waterfalls and breath-taking mountains; but in whatever island you decide to take on you can always be sure that there is a smiling Filipino ready to welcome you and make you feel special. The Department of Tourism (DOT) with its “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign has been tirelessly promoting these wonders all over the world, and at the same time preparing different avenues to attract not just visitors but also future foreign investors that see business potential in these sector. Some of the visible fruits of these efforts are the development tourism-related infrastructures such as air and sea ports, improvement of roadaccess to key destinations and support in the growing hotel and hospitality industry.
Accounting to about 11.2% of the total trade or $ 14.4 billion in 2014, the United States remains to be the country’s oldest ally but also proves to be one of its top trade partners. Ranking third behind Japan and China, the United States continues to boost the economy through exports mostly in Electronic Products and Articles of Apparel worth a total of $ 4.4 billion, and imports also led by Electronic Products with Cereal and Cereal Preparation valued to a total of $ 3 billion. These numbers are primarily driven by the steady performance in the manufacturing industry as well as consumption of the buying population. The ever growing numbers in consumption is a good indicator of the increasing purchasing power of the Filipino consumer and a stable dynamics of the local market which also reflects the robust economic structure of the country.
The country is experiencing an economic boom through its strategic location, young and globally competitive workforce, renaissance of the manufacturing industry and sound financial management; it continuous to be one of the best performers despite global economic instability in recent years. Opportunity and progress are underway as both public and private sectors work together to further improve the conditions of doing business in the country.