Top executives share insights on doing business under Aquino gov’t

Hear what the heads of the biggest companies in the Philippines have to say about the country's economy under President Aquino

MANILA, Philippines – With economic gains in the past two years likely a key message in President Aquino’s 3rd State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, July 23, we asked local players to look back and forward on how the economy performed.

Rappler asked top level executives of the country’s largest and most influential business groups how they perceive the Aquino government has steered the economy — thus, affecting their industries and own firms — in the past two years and what they think is at stake in the coming years.

LANCE GOKONGWEI, president and CEO of Cebu Pacific Air, the Philippines’ largest budget carrier:

The government has pursued a liberalization policy. This government in particular has two things going for it. One is good governance being associated with economic growth. That in itself means more income for people who are spending more and able to travel more. The second is the DOT (Department of Tourism), which has done a fantastic job of marketing the Philippines as a tourism destination. So we are very bullish not only in the airline industry but in the whole country. For tourism alone, we are investing in additional hotels, we built 4 this year. We will not do that unless we share the same vision with our political leader.

RAMON ANG, president and COO of San Miguel Corp, the country’s largest business group:

I think the government (under President Aquino) is doing well. The GDP is one of the highest in the region. I think I give the government more time and we will see more fruits coming.

ANTONINO T. AQUINO, president and CEO of Ayala Land, the real estate arm of Ayala Corporation, one of the Philippines’ oldest and largest conglomerates:

The foreign investments will continue to happen. We hope that more of the private public partnerships will continue to happen (too)…. People are seeing how well our economy is progressing. Today I’m so happy to see how well they perceive our country. I think on the part of Ayala Land we are also putting our money where our mouth is and making investments.

MANUEL V. PANGILINAN, Chairman of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, the largest telecommunications company in the country:

I think [President Aquino’s] reputation abroad is excellent. Perception of himself and the Philippine economy are excellent. It’s a feel good [economy]…. (But) I’m a business person. If we could increase our trade, increase investments, address tourism etcetera, those are the goals I would be looking at as a business person.”

TONY TAN CAKTIONG, chairman and CEO of Jollibee Foods Corp, the country’s biggest fast-food company:

We were lucky that the economic team of the government is doing quite a good job. In spite of this (European Financial) Crisis, I think the Philippines is one of the darlings of investments now, aside from probably Indonesia. In spite of this crisis I think people are still looking at the Philippines as an investment. I think we were quite lucky we had the right economic team doing all these effots.



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