MANILA, Philippines - Gone are the days when the Philippines would 'beg' for investments.
In his speech at the 40th anniversary of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the President said investors now come to the Philippines to ask for its consideration in buying products from them.
Mr. Aquino recounted his recent conversation with a major investor who visited the Philippines. The group requested that the country consider their products and services not on the basis of price alone but of quality.
"Noong presidente ang nanay ko, pumunta ako sa bansa nila, nakausap ko itong parehong organisasyon na ito, at halos lumuhod ho akong makiusap na puwede ho ba kayong mag-invest sa Pilipinas? Ngayon ho, sila ang nakikiusap sa ating tangkilikin ang mga produkto nila. Parang bumaliktad na ang mundo [When my mother was president, I spoke to the same organisation and I almost went down on my knees to beg them to invest in the Philippines. Today, they are the ones requesting that we consider buying their products. The world has turned upside down]," Aquino said.
The lesser evil
In his recent trip to Davos in Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF), President Aquino said that most of the anti-corrruption measures being suggested and planned by other countries are already being done in the Philippines.
The President also said that his WEF trip became an opportunity for him to meet with businessmen based in the Philippines who expressed their optimism in the economy.
But the President said that despite all these positive developments, he admitted challenges still remain and some problems still linger. He made a joke out of it.
"Pag dumating ang punto na naubusan tayo ng problema—iyon po ang problema. Dahil magiging boring ang buhay natin [When the time comes when we run out of problems, that will be a problem because life will become boring]."
Then he turned serious. Some problems are easier to solve than others, he said.
"Mas maganda na ‘yong uri ng mga problema natin ngayon, tulad ng ‘pag kinakausap natin ang Bangko Sentral: kailangan naman daw nating ma-absorb ang dollars na nasa sistema natin para mabawasan ang pressure sa piso. Sabi ko nga, mas maganda naman yatang problema ‘yan kaysa naghahanap tayo ng dollar para mag-angkat ng krudo (The kind of problems we have now are better. The BSP said we need to absorb dollars from the system to ease the pressure on the peso. This is a better problem than looking for dollars to buy oil)," he said.
Growing the economy is one of the challenges that the NEDA faces as an institution. The President said this is why it's important for all the employees to continue in doing their job and doing it well.
He said NEDA's role is critical, even if it is often in the background. Aquino said the agency leads the economic planning and development for the entire country, making sure that no Filipino is left behind.
The President said this is what the NEDA has done in the past few months when the economy experienced more good news than bad. One of the biggest good news that the President shared at the WEF was the 6.5% average economic growth in the first three quarters of 2012.
"We have much left to do, and NEDA will become an even more important partner in the years ahead," he said. - Rappler.com
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