Arangkada Philippines Forum: Moving twice as fast

Arangkada, a tagalog term, verb, which means as “to move fast” or “acceleration of motion” hence “umarangkada ka na” (go) or “umalis kana” (go now). And for the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce (JFC) who are here in the Philippines as investors and guests, they chose this term for the Economy of the Philippines to move as twice as fast hence the forum that was held at the posh Marriot Hotel at Pasay City last January 26, 2012 has this title; Arangkada Philippines Forum: Moving twice as fast. (maybe they think that the past administration is slow or they want to give a hint to the new one).

President Noynoy Aquino was the keynote speaker and gladly stayed for a few minutes to answer some questions, a must, with the high profile successful businessman, top investors and business leaders in the country who attended the event such as Environmental planner and development consultant Architect Felino Palafox, Governor of Ilocos Norte Imee Marcos Araneta and Tycoon Oscar Lopez not to mention the speakers like John Casey who is the president of the Australian- New Zealland Chamber of Commerce, Gloria Steele who assumed the duties as the Mission Director for USAID/Philippines last July 2010, Hon. Gregory Domingo of Department of Trade and Industry, John D. Forbes who is the Senior Adviser of the Investment Climate Improvement Project under the American Chamber of Commerce, Former Secretary of Finance Roberto F. De Ocampo who was the best speaker among the rest for his “ Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure “ words that even some speakers keep on repeating after his talk, Guilermmo M. Luz who is the Co- Chairman of the National Competitiveness Council, Hubert d’ Aboville who is the President of the European Chamber of Commerce among the distinguished speakers and participants from the forum.

In the forum, they discussed on how the Philippines will become competitive with the help of good governance, transparency and good laws that will not just change every minute. The seven key sectors that need to established and could provide the Philippine economy stability from the JFC point of view are:

    Agri- Buiness Enterprise
    Buisness Processing Outsourcing (BPOs)
    Creative Industries
    Manufacturinf and Logistics

As a member of Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs), the forum gave me a vision to attain higher than what we have achieved so far. The foreign and local movers and shakers of this economy right now are successful in their field and easy for them to talk about their experiences. To move twice as fast, the country must remove bureaucracy, red tape, corruption with streamlining and good governance that are a must not only for the foreign investors, but also for the whole Filipino people who are suffering from poverty because of those deficiencies.

Competitiveness is a must and to achieve one’s goal, education is the key. The Philippines has a higher demand for good education but quality is less among the educational system. To succeed , infrastructure is one of the best sector, according to the former Finance Secretary. If we have many good infrastructure such as railways, airports or manufacturing companies they could employ a lot of people and make us get work faster.

Roberto F. Batungbcal was the most articulate among the panelist. He is the chairman of AmCham manufacturing and Logistics Committee and the Philippine Country Manager from Dow Chemical Industry. According to him, the status of manufacturing in the Philippines are as follows:

Manufacturing is 21% of GDP, the largest economic sector in the Philippines

  • Estimated total revenue of US $ 121 Billion.
  • 83% of 2010 FDI is Manufacturing, 40% of 2010 Total Investment is Manufacturing and it grew by 102% in 2010 to US $ 5 Billion.
  • In first half of 2011, it grew again by 191%…US $ 3.3 Billion.
  • NSO’s Annual Survey of the Philippine Business and Industries states: manufacturing dominates the economy with the total revenue of US $74 Billion.
  • Philippine Econom is very diverse (semicon and electronics is only 14% of total revenues)
  • 86% of exports are manufactured good, rapid growth of non “high-tech” exports grew 29% in 2010, 18% in 2011 (led by wood products, chemicals, garments, machineries and transport equipment)

In Laguna, there are 26 Municipalities and 4 Cities. Those four cities basically get a high revenue because of the Technical and Science Parks where Industrial Manufacturing Companies are located such as Samsung, Fujitsu, Toyota Motor Philippines and First Sumiden. Manufacturing Companies employ thousands of employees that they even given transportation to reach the company. Majority who are working here are High School graduates as operators thus lack of education is one big problem in the country. Those employees without a college degree are earning more or less below the poverty line.

Recommendation of Engr. Roberto Batungbacal:

Create a Philippine manufacturing Strategy based on;

  • Integration of basic and manufacturing sector with the consumer markets including the enabling of infrastructure
  • Diversification and upgrading of industries, sectors and products.
  • Long term planning that creates linkages between export and domestic manufacturing.
  • Driven by innovation and sustainability
  • Leveraging on Government leadership and resources

For me, based on the current situation of the government, I agree with the solution to accelerate the Philippine Economy which are, removal of red tape and corrupt officials, increased transparency, streamlining and good governance. Without those diseases, The Philippines will gain more investors and the Filipinos will have a different mindset. The key always will come from the Leaders and right now, those we elected who are supposed to be the Filipino leaders must do something for the future of this country. Arangkada na!

The other panelist from the business sectors were Philip Soliven, Alfredo Ayala, Henry J. Schumacher, Micheal Raeuber, Dan C. Lachica, John Ridsdel, Aileen Clemente, Nobuya Ichiki, Avelino DL. Zapanta, Meneleo J. Carlos Jr., Daniel Chalmers,Rene SantiagoEnrico Basilio, Don Felbam, Ray Cunningham, Edward Chang, Donald De, Corazon Claudio, Vincent Lazatin, Jose Midas Marquez, Edgardo Lacson, Romeo Bernanrdo, Rommel Banlaoi, Kenneth Hartigan- Go, Ricke Jennings, Julian Payne with Marria Ressa, david Celdran and Coco Alcuaz as the moderators of the event that lasted for six hours.