(edited by Noemi Lardizabal-Dado)
This is my second time to attend Arangkada Philippines . This time around, there is the attendance of the Ambassador of the United States of America which is not a surprise because of the presence of big international investors like FedEx, Nestle, American, Korean, Japanese, European, Australian Chambers of Commerce and all kinds of industries in the Philippines and abroad. Congressman Erin Tanada, Former Finance Secretary Bobby De Ocampo, Congressman Sonny Belmonte and Former President Fidel Ramos graced this historical event. Last year, Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino attended the event and answered different inquiries from the audience. According to Arangkada organizers which means to accelerate in english, “A Business Perspective has a strategic purpose – to provide recommendations that lead to millions of new jobs for Filipinos and higher economic growth for the country. The study includes hundreds of recommendations for action by both public and private sectors in a great number of areas. Together they add up to an agenda for change to help policy makers and business leaders to enable the national economy to compete in a world increasingly interlinked and competitive. In this world, keeping up is an imperative, not a choice. For too many years and in too many sectors of its economy the Philippines has lagged, losing competitiveness despite the nation’s immense potential.”
This year, Department of Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez mentioned that the Philippines is expecting 10 million visitors within 2016 and that we need to be ready with our infrastructure. ” We are now at 90 percent done of agreements for air seats. we need air agreements to ensure connectivity.” Jimenez also told us that the government has a plan to add more airports to be ready with the international flights in the future because of the booming tourism we have right now.
Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo is very optimistic in his speech at the forum, he mentioned that exports have a good chance this year. Philippines is already the fourth biggest shipbuilding hub next to China, Korea and Japan and that investors are coming in. Secretary Domingo asked the foreign business groups to support the government in its initiative to promote economic growth and told the foreign businessmen that economic growth rests on the partnership of the government and the business community. “The success story will really depend on us. We don’t even have to make a larger effort this year to achieve big economic growth. My appeal to you is not to be negative, not to block it. Just let it happen,” he said.
According to it’s website, “Arangkada Philippines is a comprehensive advocacy paper intended to share recommendations leading to the creation of $75 billion in new foreign investment, 10 million jobs and over one trillion pesos in revenue for the Philippine economy within this decade. In an increasingly interlinked and competitive world, accelerating growth is an imperative, not a choice. The Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in the Philippines (JFC) estimates that, to achieve these results, the country must focus on more rapid development of the Seven Big Winner Sectors and move twice as fast!”