PH still 'attractive' despite Zambo, pork scam

MANILA, Philippines - Inverstor confidence remains high among local and foreign players amid current political and security challenges in the country. 

This was one of the sentiments that stood out among key business and government personalities who attended the bi-annual Philippine economic briefing on Tuesday, September 17.

The elephants in the room were the on-going probe on the P10-billion pork barrel scam and the blood shed at the Zamboanga stand-off. 

“The very positive thing is that we have a government that is very much dealing with the pressing issues of the nation and that makes the Philippines a very good place to invest," Nestle Philippines Chairman and CEO John Martin Miller said. 

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima cited the investigations on the lawmakers involved in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scandal as proof that the good governance of the Aquino administration is at work.

”The fact that we have been candid shows the maturation of democracy and institutions and this is well for the good governance of the administration,” Purisima said.

The clamor to abolish the PDAF and prosecute those involved in the misuse of the said fund shows that the Filipinos are now working with the government to fight corruption in the country, the finance secretary highlighted.

“A sign that our people is becoming active — a partner in governance in the country — and this is the best, “ Purisima added.

These events are "disruptive," admitted Budget Secretary Florencio Abad. 

"We must recognize that the people's outrage is beyond pork barrel. Our people are standing up against wrongdoing. We must not waste it. The Aquino government is promoting transparency...[and working to] sustain growth," he said in his speech.

These local challenges are on top of two major ongoing global events: the end of the stimulus fund in the US and the Syria crisis.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco stressed that monetary officials are looking out for their impact on the Philippine economy. 

These have made a dent on other emerging markets, like neigbors India and Indonesia. 

OPTIMISTIC. Over 1,200 attendees of the bi-annual Philippine economic briefing tackle the elephants in the room: the Zamboanga crisis and the pork barrel scandal. Photo by Rappler

OPTIMISTIC. Over 1,200 attendees of the bi-annual Philippine economic briefing tackle the elephants in the room: the Zamboanga crisis and the pork barrel scandal.

Photo by Rappler

On track to achieve inclusive growth

Amid both local and global issues, the economic managers stressed that the country's strong fundamentals remain intact. 

Now is the best time to capitalize on the country’s strengths and seize the opportunity to attract more investments — especially those that generate jobs — they said.

Tetangco highlighted the Philippines' advantages: the economy has grown beyond government expectations, received 2 major investment upgrades while managing to keep prices of commodities low.

“The international recognition we have achieved so far is a show of faith in what Philippine has accomplished   and committed to achieve going forward,” Tetangco said.

Nestlé's Miller echoed government’s sentiments and said that the government’s strong economy and strong commitment to trickle growth to the poor catches the attention of investors.

“The competitive edge of the Philippines at the moment is that we have a government that is very much committed to inclusive growth. We have an economy which is growing at 7%, and most importantly we have a country which has a huge pool of talented people, “ he added.

Strong macro economic fundamentals and good governance the economic managers said will help government attract more investors that will bring in more jobs, but this will take time.

“China has been growing 30 years but they’re  still in poverty.We just started  started 3 years ago. We have to be patient,"  Bureau of International Revenue Kim Henares said. - Rappler.com