MANILA, JANUARY 12, 2012 (GAMNEWS TV) In a survey conducted by Pulse Asia last November, many Filipinos believed the economy was the same as it was a year earlier, but more Filipinos also believed the economy deteriorated in the 12 months from November than those who believed it improved.

The Pulse Asia survey showed 38 percent of respondents saying the economy deteriorated in the last 12 months and 18 percent said it improved.

Forty-five percent said it remained the same. "For 45 percent of Filipinos, the national economic situation remained unchanged over the previous 12 months — lower than the October 2010 figure (54 percent). Meanwhile, 38 percent of Filipinos believe that the state of the Philippine economy deteriorated over the past year while 18 percent express a contrary opinion," Pulse Asia said in its November 10-23 survey posted on its website only Monday afternoon.

Between October 2010 and November 2011, "the percentage of Filipinos saying the economy is better now declined by 12 percentage points while the percentage of those who observe a deterioration in the Philippine economy increased by 22 percentage points," the Pulse Asia survey noted.

The survey also showed big pluralities among small majorities (46 to 52 percent) in Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, the Visayas and Class E respondents noted the absence of any change — positive or negative — in the state of the Philippine economy over the past year. But for Mindanao respondents, the prevailing sentiment at the time of the survey was that the state of the economy is worse now than a year ago (57 percent).

Almost the same percentages of those in Classes A, B, C and D either shared this view (38 percent) or believed that the state of the national economy remained unchanged over the previous 12 months (43 versus 47 percent).

"Among those who say the Philippine economy is in a worse state now than a year ago, 66 percent were strongly affected by this perceived economic deterioration, 31 percent were somehow affected and only 3 percent did not feel the impact of the worsening economic situation in the country," it said.

Across geographic areas

Majorities across geographic areas (56 to 74 percent) and socio-economic groupings (55 to 72 percent) claimed to be strongly affected by the economic deterioration that they said took place in the country over the past year. On the other hand, most of those who feel that the economy is in a better shape now said they somehow felt the impact of this growth on their own lives (60 percent).

"This sentiment is shared by majorities in all geographic areas (51 to 71 percent) and Classes D and E (56 to 63 percent)," the survey said.

Among the Class A,B and C respondents, 44 percent were either strongly or somewhat affected a perceived improvement in the Philippine economy in the last 12 months from November 2011.

At the national level, 25 percent of those saying the economy grew last year were strongly affected by this growth while 15 percent were not affected at all.

The survey used face-to-face interviews with 1,200 representative adults 18 years old and above. It adopted a ± 3 percent error margin at the 95-percent confidence level. Subnational estimates for each of the geographic areas covered in the survey (Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) have a ± 6 percent error margin, also at 95-percent confidence level.

News developments

At the time the survey was conducted, the following developments dominated the news headlines: The Supreme Court's temporary restraining order (TRO) on the watch list order against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo; Acting on orders of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Immigration officials barred the former First Couple from leaving the country despite the TRO; The arrest of former President Arroyo on Nov. 18 on charges of electoral fraud surrounding the May 2007 elections; The murder of a son of former Senator Ramon Revilla Sr. and the alleged involvement of family members in the murder plot; The Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit attended by President Benigno Aquino III; The Philippine visit of US State Secretary Hillary Clinton and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak; The Bureau of Internal Revenue’s continued campaign against tax evaders; The commemoration of the second anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre; The hold departure order against retired Maj. Gen. Jacinto Ligot and his wife following the filing of tax evasion charges against the couple Government financial assistance given to several rebel groups; The Supreme Court decision mandating the distribution of the lands of Hacienda Luisita to about 6,000 farmer beneficiaries; The national budget was passed by the Senate Depreciation of the peso and higher prices of diesel and power rates.

Other developments during this period include: Saranggani Representative Emmanuel Pacquiao’s controversial win over Mexican boxer Juan Manuel Marquez; The appointment of Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista as new Philippine Army chief; The Palawan Underground River as one of the provisional winners in the search for the new seven wonders of nature. — VS, GMA News


Address high power rates, Philippines urged By: Amy R. Remo Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:46 am | Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

[PHOTO - This photo taken on April 18, 2011, shows a worker checking steel bars at the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) at a port in Manila. The Philippines can be the next investment hub being a low-cost country that is close to demand centers in Asia, according to Anand Kumar, Synovate's business consulting head for the Philippines. However, it has to address its high electricity rates, he says. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS

The Philippine government must address its steep electricity rates and come up with more incentives for companies to set up manufacturing hubs, if it wants to step up as the next favored destination in the Asean region.

Anand Kumar, Synovate’s business consulting head for the Philippines, said these moves will allow the country to immediately seize upcoming business opportunities, particularly the full advantages that are expected to come with the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta) agreement.

In a paper entitled “Developments in Asean markets—Assessing the risks and Opportunities,” Anand identified the Philippines as one of the most promising emerging growth markets next to the giants of India and China.

“The opportunity… may not be available in three to five years so it needs to be seized now,” he added.

Explaining the trend, Anand said that for the past 10 years, export powerhouses Japan and Korea have remained stagnant. The ones leading the growth in this side of the world are the other countries in the Asia-Pacific including member-nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“This is due to the combined exports of China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, India, Australia, Singapore, Philippines, and Thailand that have exceeded the exports of Japan and Korea. China and India have the largest GDP in Asia while Indonesia ranks first among Asean countries,” Anand explained.

He Added that with China ceasing to be attractive as a low-cost manufacturing hub for new foreign direct investments, other countries can vie for the post vacated by the “Awakened Dragon.”

“India and Indonesia’s double digit median household income growth eliminate them from the list of alternate low-cost countries. Vietnam, meanwhile, is plagued with problems of high inflation coupled with significant currency devaluation,” he said.

“This means other Asean countries, including the Philippines, can take advantage of this niche. But potential investors must be wary of negative factors such as poorly executed governance and contracts as well as simply pursuing an ineffective mode of entry into the market,” Anand added.

Having emerged as a low-cost country in terms of wages, plus its proximity to the demand centers in Asia (China, India and Indonesia), Anand believed that the Philippines can be the next investment hub. “Usually, when they say the Philippines, people think it’s relatively expensive but that’s not the case,” he said.

“If we were to do the differential equation for the Philippines, we will notice that there is a significant variance between developed economies’ average hourly wages against the Philippines’ wages,” Anand added.

Apart from wages, the Philippines also has an inherent advantage in cultural factors—the accent and general amiability of the locals are certainly attracting more investors to the country, and this is best evidenced in the establishment of more BPOs in the country.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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