PHILIPPINES CAPTURED THE WORLD'S ATTENTION - WEF OFFICIAL

MAY 20 -Dubbed the “rising star” of Asia, the Philippines has recently been turning heads with its unprecedented economic growth. Testament to that is the decision of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to hold its East Asia meeting in the country for the first time in 23 years. “It has definitely captured the attention of the global community,” Sushant Palakurthi Rao, WEF senior director and head of South East Asia, said of the country once called the “sick man of Asia.” The WEF has been touting the Philippines’ growth as “one of the greatest economic comeback stories,” claiming that it may soon be the strongest performing South East Asian economy. Rao said they have been paying attention to the country’s economic turn-around since President Benigno Aquino III took office. “Even from our own internal perspective, the Philippines is the best improved economy in the report, having moved up 30 places in the rankings since 2009,” he said, referring to the World Bank’s recent Doing Business survey. The WEF on East Asia is a three-day event that will be held on May 21 to 23 in the cities of Makati and Manila. It will include a number of conferences that tackle a wide range of topics, from economy to climate change. More than 600 delegates from 30 countries have started to arrive in the Philippines for the forum that has led the government to put its best foot forward. Aquino himself said it was the perfect opportunity to show other nations that “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy to Asean businessmen: Invest in Phl

MAY 22 -With reforms previously deemed impossible now in place, President Aquino is calling on top business executives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to invest with their hearts in the Philippines and be the country’s partners in building better lives for its people and for the region. Aquino made the appeal during the courtesy call yesterday of members of the ASEAN Business Club. He said the reforms have even transformed some of the country’s problems into opportunities that investors should explore. “When we started out, we really felt that there were so many problems that made me remember one of my father’s favorite songs, which was ‘The Impossible Dream.’ Everything that had to be done seemed to be so impossible. That was when we started,” he said. “Today, when we are confronted with problems, we tend to see the opportunities that those problems present before us,” he added. “Together, we Filipinos are spurring a virtuous cycle of empowerment and growth: Whereas more people are empowered to take hold of opportunities opening up in society, the engines of growth then shift constantly towards higher and higher gears,” he said. “This is the context in which your visit occurs: A government fully committed to service, a revitalized economy, and a people with renewed optimism and desire to take part in nation-building now and in the future – towards creating opportunities for all,” Aquino said.

ALSO: Aquino to WEF delegates: ‘Have fun in Phl, bastion of good governance’

President Aquino on Thursday urged delegates to the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia to have fun in the Philippines, which he said is now considered a bastion of good governance. In his speech during a dinner “cultural soiree” for WEF participants at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, Aquino said that for a long time, the Philippines has followed more advanced nations in various areas and learned from their experiences and best policies. “Now, we are proud to be able to take a role through this forum, and share with you the insights and lessons of the past four years – years in which we, as a country, made great strides,” Aquino said. “Indeed, the Philippines is now considered a bastion of good governance,” he added. He expressed hope that the delegates would have a good time and “be proof positive that it is fun or more fun in the Philippines.” READ MORE...

(ALSO) Vietnamese PM: Sea row may reverse global recovery

The territorial dispute between China and other Asian nations may reverse the course of the global economic recovery as the conflict affects shipping lanes vital to global trade, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said Thursday in his speech at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Makati City. "We ask China to observe the 1982 UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea)," Dung said, adding that Vietnam wants peace and friendship despite the row among countries in the region. Signed in 1982, the UNCLOS is a treaty that outlines issues including navigational rights, economic rights, pollution, conservation, scientific exploration, piracy and other activities in the world's seas. It also serves as a guideline for the exercise of governments' rights with respect to the world's oceans. Dung said about two thirds of Vietnam's trade passes through the South China Sea. China lays claim to almost the entire sea and territories within it through an expansive nine-dash line that overlaps with exclusive economic zones of nearby countries including the Philippines. China has recently established an oil rig off the coast of Vietnam and began a reclamation project in Mabini Reef claimed by the Philippines. Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chair, said the forum is not taking sides in the territorial dispute, adding that countries need peace and partnerships in the region. Dung's statement comes after President Benigno Aquino III welcomed heads of state and other participants in the WEF, which Manila is hosting until Friday. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Winner-take-all’ strategy won’t solve sea rows -US commander

The US military’s commander in the Pacific on Friday called for compromise in Asia’s worsening maritime territorial rows, cautioning against a “winner-take-all” strategy that some nations fear China is pursuing. US Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Samuel Locklear said the region had become the world’s “most militarized” amid rapid economic growth, deepening the importance of dialogue to ensure the disputes did not lead to armed conflict. “What’s going to underline that most important is a commitment to the rule of law, a commitment to international forums to solve problems and to solve disputes,” Locklear told a World Economic Forum meeting in Manila. “You can’t have a winner-take-all attitude. It will require compromise. It will require dialogue.” Locklear was speaking about the various territorial disputes in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea to Manila) and East China Sea that have endured for decades but worsened in recent years amid perceived rising Chinese assertiveness. China claims most of the South China Sea, even waters close to the shores of its neighbors and more than 1,000 kilometers from the nearest major Chinese landmass. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam, as well as Taiwan, claim parts of the sea, which is home to some of the world’s most important shipping lanes and believed to contain huge deposits of oil and gas.READ MORE...

ALSO: Manila concludes successful WEF hosting

Manila’s first hosting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia has finally come to end without any hiccup, and the government expects investors have noticed the country’s significant economic improvements. Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that the government expects many of this year’s WEF participants will return to Philippines soon to invest and provide employment opportunities for most Filipinos. “Having known that the Philippines has accomplished so much, it now opens their eyes to what kind of investment they can see here in the Philippines. For those who have already invested, it opens their eyes to the fact that they can gain more from their investments in the Philippines,” Lacierda said. During the three-day forum, more than 600 leaders from business, government, civil society and academia, representing over 30 countries, have participated and discussed some of the pressing issues the region is facing ahead of the ASEAN integration. The Aquino administration also particularly made sure that the Philippines’ economic turnaround through widespread reform and his government’s adherence to sound management principles will be highlighted during the event. Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said the Philippines shared to the rest of the world its remarkable comeback and strong macroeconomic fundamentals that have not only resulted in economic growth, but also in a more optimistic future for Filipinos. READ MORE...


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Philippines captured the world's attention - WEF official


OPPORTUNITY IN ASEAN INTEGRATION – Regional finance heads gather for the 10th ASEAN Finance Ministers’ Investors Seminar (AFMIS) at The Peninsula Manila, May 20, 2014, and discuss opportunities and challenges facing the region, leading to the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. In photo (from left) are: Dato Paduka Haji Ali Apong, Deputy Minister of Finance, Brunei Darussalam; Nguon Sokha, Secretary of State, Ministry of Economics and Finance, Cambodia; Bambang Brodjonegoro, Vice Minister of Finance II, Indonesia; U Win Shein, Minister of Finance and Revenue, Myanmar; Cesar V. Purisima, Secretary of Finance, Philippines; Dato Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah, Minister of Finance II, Malaysia; Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Transport, Singapore; and Truong Chi Trung, Vice Minister of Finance, Vietnam. AFMIS serves as the curtain raiser for the World Economic Forum on East Asia, which will be hosted by the Philippines for the first time on May 21–23, 2014.

MANILA, MAY 20, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Kristine Angeli Sabillo - Dubbed the “rising star” of Asia, the Philippines has recently been turning heads with its unprecedented economic growth.

Testament to that is the decision of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to hold its East Asia meeting in the country for the first time in 23 years.

“It has definitely captured the attention of the global community,” Sushant Palakurthi Rao, WEF senior director and head of South East Asia, said of the country once called the “sick man of Asia.”

The WEF has been touting the Philippines’ growth as “one of the greatest economic comeback stories,” claiming that it may soon be the strongest performing South East Asian economy.

Rao said they have been paying attention to the country’s economic turn-around since President Benigno Aquino III took office.

“Even from our own internal perspective, the Philippines is the best improved economy in the report, having moved up 30 places in the rankings since 2009,” he said, referring to the World Bank’s recent Doing Business survey.

The WEF on East Asia is a three-day event that will be held on May 21 to 23 in the cities of Makati and Manila. It will include a number of conferences that tackle a wide range of topics, from economy to climate change.

More than 600 delegates from 30 countries have started to arrive in the Philippines for the forum that has led the government to put its best foot forward. Aquino himself said it was the perfect opportunity to show other nations that “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.”

Regional outlook

The senior director said the World Economic Forum, an independent international organization, has been holding annual meetings to engage political, business and civil society leaders and seek solutions to the world’s overarching problems.
Best known for its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Rao said, the issues tackled there are brought to different parts of the world “put them under the microscope of the regions” to understand the views and approaches of local leaders.

“And that’s very much a reflection of our strategy to engage with the interests of our members and our communities in the forum but also to reflect the geo-economic and geo-political interests and development that we get as inputs from our communities,” he said.

The WEF is composed of 1,000 officials from the world’s top corporations and global enterprises.

Rao said their meetings are more than just conferences “because the participants reflect top decision makers, not only from the economic sectors but also from policymaking, from civil society.”

Aside from business leaders, WEF also invited non-government organizations, spiritual leaders, social entrepreneurs and young leaders.

Personalities and groups not likely to meet in normal circumstances are gathered by WEF for their sessions.

“This breaks the silos (divisions) and allows these leaders from different walks of life, different parts of the world, with different experiences and expertise to come together and give a very holistic approach to addressing these challenges,” he said.

As with all of their regional meetings, Rao said they expect to “move the needle forward on a wide range of issues.”

FROM PHILSTAR

Noy to Asean businessmen: Invest in Phl (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 22, 2014 - 12:00am 8 141 googleplus0 0


President Aquino welcomes members of the ASEAN Business Club led by Ayala Corp. chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (right) and Dato Sri Nazar Razak of Malaysia during a courtesy call at Malacañang yesterday.

MANILA, Philippines - With reforms previously deemed impossible now in place, President Aquino is calling on top business executives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to invest with their hearts in the Philippines and be the country’s partners in building better lives for its people and for the region.

Aquino made the appeal during the courtesy call yesterday of members of the ASEAN Business Club.

He said the reforms have even transformed some of the country’s problems into opportunities that investors should explore.

“When we started out, we really felt that there were so many problems that made me remember one of my father’s favorite songs, which was ‘The Impossible Dream.’ Everything that had to be done seemed to be so impossible. That was when we started,” he said.

“Today, when we are confronted with problems, we tend to see the opportunities that those problems present before us,” he added.

“Together, we Filipinos are spurring a virtuous cycle of empowerment and growth: Whereas more people are empowered to take hold of opportunities opening up in society, the engines of growth then shift constantly towards higher and higher gears,” he said.

“This is the context in which your visit occurs: A government fully committed to service, a revitalized economy, and a people with renewed optimism and desire to take part in nation-building now and in the future – towards creating opportunities for all,” Aquino said.

He told the businessmen to make the most of their time in the country, whether as delegates to the World Economic Forum or in meetings among themselves.

“This is the time to expand your connections and forge stronger relationships with your Filipino counterparts,” he said.

He said the success story of the Philippines is proof that “we can reach greater heights” through cooperation and dedication to work.

“May I invite you then to consider joining us – working with us even more – in harnessing the opportunities and potentials in our country today,” he said.

He maintained that with the Philippines on an economic upswing and with the integration of ASEAN on the horizon, “we are poised on the edge of even more meaningful progress – progress that we can realize today, in this visit, and in what I trust will be many more visits to come.”

More interactions

He also told the ASEAN businessmen that greater interaction among executives, businesses and government people is important in an “increasingly globalized milieu.”

“I believe we can all agree that our operations function more smoothly when we are given the chance to interact and work together – to exchange best practices, and even coordinate efforts – towards achieving inclusive and sustainable prosperity and progress,” he said.

He stressed that as captains of industry, businessmen should also be motivated by the need to improve the condition of employees, their consumer base and even communities where they operate.

“After all, you would not have reached such success today without understanding the truth that your business growth has always relied, and still relies, on the millions of people that you interact with,” Aquino said.

He stressed that his administration is always quick to remind those praising the Philippines that the country’s success was a collective achievement, built on the shoulders of a people determined to undertake the difficult task of reform together.

He said this began in 2010 when Filipinos stood up against corruption and impunity by voting him into office and giving him the mandate to initiate reforms.

“Every single step government has taken has been for the welfare of the Filipino people,” Aquino said.

Aquino also said his administration’s commitment to good governance had already borne fruit, citing as examples the Philippines’ record of consistently bucking the global trend, with economic growth remaining high and even surpassing targets.

He explained this was partly due to the country’s being inured to external volatility and subdued global demand since the Philippines is neither resource-dependent nor export-oriented.

Thus, the information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) sector continues to be a strong driver of growth.

Strong domestic demand is another potential that investors see in the Philippines – on top of his administration’s commitment to good governance, strong macroeconomic fundamentals and the credit-rating upgrades, he said.

“No longer are we the sick man in Asia; we are now Asia’s bright spot – a viable destination for investments and tourists,” he said.

Aquino said Filipinos are experiencing the benefits of good governance in their lives and, in turn, are supporting the government in pursuing further reforms.

“It is likewise because of the Filipino people’s solid backing that we were able to pass politically complex legislation that had languished in Congress for far too long. It is because of them that a just and lasting peace in the southernmost part of our country is finally within our grasp – fostering greater stability across the entire archipelago,” Aquino said, referring to the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Senators’ appeal

Senators, meanwhile, urged the administration to speed up efforts to make the country more competitive in terms of economy and infrastructure in the region and the rest of the world, as the country hosts WEF.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, along with Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Loren Legarda and Grace Poe, all agree that the event is an opportunity to showcase the Philippines’ economic achievement.

While the government highlights the country’s economic gains, Drilon said the government should not lose sight of the fact that much more needs to be done for the Philippines to attain inclusive growth.

“We need to create more jobs for our people and ease poverty,” Drilon said.

He cited the country’s impressive economic performance, underpinned by its investment grade status, improved rankings in global competitiveness surveys and the overwhelming confidence of the international community in the economy.

He noted that the economic figures could have been higher had it not been for natural calamities like Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Angara said the Philippines’ hosting of the WEF proves that the country “is ready to engage with the rest of the world in the economic sphere.”

Angara, chairman of the Senate committee on ways and means, said “there are several good business opportunities in various areas that the rest of the world didn’t know existed.”

“In order to be more competitive we should look at our investment and tax laws to measure how we stack up against other nations in the region and we should likewise make sure our infrastructure and our institutions are up to par and world class,” he explained. – Aurea Calica, Christina Mendez

‘Have fun in Phl, bastion of good governance’ By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 24, 2014 - 12:00am 1 5 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino on Thursday urged delegates to the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia to have fun in the Philippines, which he said is now considered a bastion of good governance.

In his speech during a dinner “cultural soiree” for WEF participants at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, Aquino said that for a long time, the Philippines has followed more advanced nations in various areas and learned from their experiences and best policies.

“Now, we are proud to be able to take a role through this forum, and share with you the insights and lessons of the past four years – years in which we, as a country, made great strides,” Aquino said.

“Indeed, the Philippines is now considered a bastion of good governance,” he added.

He expressed hope that the delegates would have a good time and “be proof positive that it is fun or more fun in the Philippines.”

“This hope, in particular, is for Dr. Schwab,” Aquino said, referring to WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab.

After shunning the Philippines since his meeting with former President Ferdinand Marcos a long time ago, Schwab finally returned here not only for the WEF on East Asia hosted by the country but also to enjoy Amanpulo, an exclusive island-resort in Palawan.

“During our first meeting in Davos, he shared with me that he traveled to the Philippines during the dictatorship many decades ago, and after meeting with our dictator, he resolved never to come here again,” Aquino said. “I certainly understand why, Dr. Schwab. Neither my countrymen nor I want to repeat the experience of being under a dictator.”

Aquino attended the WEF in Davos, Switzerland in January last year.

“However, I have been told, Dr. Schwab, that you spent a few days in one of the most famous resorts in the Philippines: Amanpulo in Palawan. I am glad that you found another reason to return to the country – and that, as it appears, you have not missed out on all the fun that our country has to offer. Of course, this includes the warm and friendly nature of the Filipinos you have met recently,” Aquino added.

The President invited Schwab to either extend his stay or return to the Philippines “many, many more times in the future” so that he could explore the rest of the cultural and historical attractions, beaches and even diving sites that had all contributed to making the Philippines the most fun country in the world.

“This invitation goes out to everyone here as well,” he said, noting that Thursday night’s soiree would be a good start in that endeavor.

Aquino said it took some convincing from his economic team before he agreed to attend the WEF Leaders’ Retreat in Davos because there were so many issues and concerns here that needed his attention.

However, Aquino said at a time when the world was increasingly taking notice of the Philippines, he could not possibly turn down an opportunity to tell leaders of nations, industry and civil society the turnaround the country had been experiencing – all because of a commitment to good governance.

Aquino said the guests could even enjoy the sweltering heat as against the chilly weather in their home countries.

“My first attendance to WEF was a unique one. Not only was I given the chance to share the story of our country, I was also heartened to see that others were increasingly taking notice of our efforts to promote good governance and inclusive growth all across the world. On a lighter note, my delegation and I proved our fortitude against the howling iciness of the Davos winter, which was truly unforgettable,” Aquino said.

He said in jest he was proud to welcome the WEF delegates to a “slightly warmer setting” than Davos.

Aquino noted the gathering was taking place in the context of an increasingly prominent Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the comeback of the Philippines.

“Here, we continue the conversation: how to foster inclusive and sustainable growth together, in overcoming whatever uncertainties and challenges the future may bring. With the wealth of knowledge and experience that all you participants bring to the table, I am certain that the sessions have been meaningful – just as I am certain that, after WEF, you will all return to your professions and countries full of ideas on how to make a positive impact on the lives of others,” he said.

Vietnamese PM: Sea row may reverse global recovery By Jovan Cerda (philstar.com) | Updated May 22, 2014 - 5:37pm 7 282 googleplus0 0


Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, right, gestures as he walks beside Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, left, during the latter's visit at the Malacañang Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines Wednesday, May 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila,POOL)

MANILA, Philippines - The territorial dispute between China and other Asian nations may reverse the course of the global economic recovery as the conflict affects shipping lanes vital to global trade, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said Thursday in his speech at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Makati City.

"We ask China to observe the 1982 UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea)," Dung said, adding that Vietnam wants peace and friendship despite the row among countries in the region.

Signed in 1982, the UNCLOS is a treaty that outlines issues including navigational rights, economic rights, pollution, conservation, scientific exploration, piracy and other activities in the world's seas. It also serves as a guideline for the exercise of governments' rights with respect to the world's oceans.

Dung said about two thirds of Vietnam's trade passes through the South China Sea. China lays claim to almost the entire sea and territories within it through an expansive nine-dash line that overlaps with exclusive economic zones of nearby countries including the Philippines.

China has recently established an oil rig off the coast of Vietnam and began a reclamation project in Mabini Reef claimed by the Philippines.

Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chair, said the forum is not taking sides in the territorial dispute, adding that countries need peace and partnerships in the region.

Dung's statement comes after President Benigno Aquino III welcomed heads of state and other participants in the WEF, which Manila is hosting until Friday.

Aquino boasted the reforms implemented by his administration which includes running after former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona and other government officials allegedly involved in the corruption and misuse of government funds.

Aquino also boasted the Philippines' rapid economic growth over the past years, the investment grade ratings the country received from various credit-rating agencies, and the Philippines' improvement in various international rankings of competitiveness and ease of doing business.

"At the end of the day, however, we recognize that the power behind all our efforts— whether in pursuing inclusive economic growth, improving competitiveness, food security, or disaster risk management— comes not from any individual, but from our people. This is why inclusive growth is not just a mantra for us; it is the yardstick by which we measure any government undertaking," he said.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is attending WEF for the last time as a head of state, also attended the event's plenary session and lauded the Philippines's economic achievements in his speech. He is stepping down in October to make way for a successor.

"The selection of the Philippines as WEF host is a solid vote of confidence," he said.

Yudhoyono said Indonesia is looking at reducing its poverty rate by half from 18.6 percent to 9.3 percent, and invited WEF business leaders to invest in his country which has made an economic turnaround in recent years.

Meanwhile, Myanmar Vice President U Nyan Tun talked about the country's achievement in cutting down poverty from 32 percent to 26 percent in 2010. He said Myanmar's goal is to reduce poverty to 16 percent by next year.

"It's a long way to go, however, we are moving forward," he said.

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

‘Winner-take-all’ tack won’t solve sea rows May 23, 2014 11:12 pm


Admiral Samuel Locklear

The US military’s commander in the Pacific on Friday called for compromise in Asia’s worsening maritime territorial rows, cautioning against a “winner-take-all” strategy that some nations fear China is pursuing.

US Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Samuel Locklear said the region had become the world’s “most militarized” amid rapid economic growth, deepening the importance of dialogue to ensure the disputes did not lead to armed conflict.

“What’s going to underline that most important is a commitment to the rule of law, a commitment to international forums to solve problems and to solve disputes,” Locklear told a World Economic Forum meeting in Manila.

“You can’t have a winner-take-all attitude. It will require compromise. It will require dialogue.”

Locklear was speaking about the various territorial disputes in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea to Manila) and East China Sea that have endured for decades but worsened in recent years amid perceived rising Chinese assertiveness.

China claims most of the South China Sea, even waters close to the shores of its neighbors and more than 1,000 kilometers from the nearest major Chinese landmass.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam, as well as Taiwan, claim parts of the sea, which is home to some of the world’s most important shipping lanes and believed to contain huge deposits of oil and gas.

The disputes have for decades been regarded as a potential trigger for military conflict, and those concerns have risen amid the rising tensions between China and some of its neighbors, particularly the Philippines and Vietnam.

China sent a deep-water oil drilling rig into contested waters in the sea this month, sparking violent protests in Vietnam in which at least four Chinese were reported killed.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said on Wednesday that China’s decision to deploy the oil rig had “seriously threatened peace.”

Locklear also defended US efforts to build up security alliances in Asia, including with countries having territorial disputes with China, following criticism by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

He said these alliances, some going back to the end of World War II, had “generally underwritten security” in the region.

“Things that we’ve done here have helped our economy, have helped the global economy and I would say it have helped China as [they] had helped everybody in this region as well,” Locklear added.

Xi voiced concern also on Wednesday at a Chinese-run security forum in Shanghai over the United States deepening its military alliances in Asia, indicating China felt it was being targeted.

“To beef up an entrenched or military alliance targeted at a third party is not conducive to maintaining common security,” Xi told regional security forum.
AFP

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Manila concludes successful WEF hosting May 24, 2014 (updated)

Manila’s first hosting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia has finally come to end without any hiccup, and the government expects investors have noticed the country’s significant economic improvements.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that the government expects many of this year’s WEF participants will return to Philippines soon to invest and provide employment opportunities for most Filipinos.

“Having known that the Philippines has accomplished so much, it now opens their eyes to what kind of investment they can see here in the Philippines. For those who have already invested, it opens their eyes to the fact that they can gain more from their investments in the Philippines,” Lacierda said.

During the three-day forum, more than 600 leaders from business, government, civil society and academia, representing over 30 countries, have participated and discussed some of the pressing issues the region is facing ahead of the ASEAN integration.

The Aquino administration also particularly made sure that the Philippines’ economic turnaround through widespread reform and his government’s adherence to sound management principles will be highlighted during the event.

Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said the Philippines shared to the rest of the world its remarkable comeback and strong macroeconomic fundamentals that have not only resulted in economic growth, but also in a more optimistic future for Filipinos.

“[Participant] have initiated meetings and discussions that will result in increased investment and interest in the Philippines. In the following months, we expect discussions to turn into plans that will turn into tangible jobs and improvement in the lives of our countrymen,” Purisima said.

Filipino billionaire Enrique K. Razon also described Manila’s hosting of WEF on East Asia as a big success not only for the Aquino administration but mainly for the country as a whole.

“The Philippines got a very much higher profile. It gives us more credibility, exposes us to the rest of the world and that will benefit us all,” Razon, who is the chairman and chief executive of International Container Terminal Services Inc., said.

For his part, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad said WEF gave business decision-maker across the world the opportunity to personally witness the Philippines’ unprecedented progress in many fronts, the economy included.

“This event serves as an inspiration to the public, business leaders, civil society, and governments across the Pacific and the globe. We are now Asia’s Bright Spot. We hope that our economic comeback story encourages everyone to take this opportunity to invest, and ride the momentum of meaningful progress with us,” Abad said. (Chino Leyco)


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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