RP  TAKES  STEPS  TO  ATTAIN  STATUS  OF  'TRUE  ASIAN  REGIONAL  ECONOMY'

MANILA, September 29, 2004 (STAR) By Marianne V. Go - The Arroyo administration is implementing significant measures to transform the Philippine economy from a "jeep economy" to a "true Asian regional economy", Trade and Industry Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said yesterday.

According to Purisima, the Philippine economy is like a jeep that moves well during rough times. "During tough times, or rough roads, our economy goes at 40 kilometers per hour," Purisima said.

However, Purisima said, "but as we are already in the superhighway, meaning the global economy by now has recovered and is well on-track, our economy should likewise be attuned and move faster."

Purisima pointed out that major economies have recovered and are leaping towards growth.

The DTI chief elaborated that "when you look around the world, all of them are growing.

Japan is growing this year. The United States, the largest economy of the world, is growing at 4.5 percent and Europe is growing by 2.5 percent this year."

China, furthermore, Purisima said, is growing at an even faster pace of about 10 percent to 11 percent and is now trying to slow down its overheating economy.

The Philippines, Purisima assured, can graduate from being a jeep economy and transform into a regional economy.

President Arroyo, Purisima said, has put in place a 10-point legacy program with five buckets of reforms already identified.

Some of the reforms, Purisima said, are designed not only to solve fiscal issues, but also to create more jobs.

At the department level, Purisima identified DTI’s three pronged approach that would help drive the economy faster.

These approach include infrastructure development, small and medium enterprises development and investment and export promotion.

Purisima stressed that infrastructure is important in attracting business.

Without good infrastructure, he explained, "the country will have a hard time attracting investment, whether local or foreign."

Infrastructure, Purisima added, pays for itself.

The Government, Purisima continued, should also create the culture of entrepreneurship–encouraging its citizens to start their own business and become their own boss instead of being employees.

Lastly, Purisima said, the country needs to encourage more capital infusion from both domestic and foreign investors.

"If we can convince rich Filipinos to have faith in the economy and invest their money in the country, then private domestic sources alone could finance a critical mass of projects that will be necessary to jumpstart and sustain the country’s economic development."


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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