Despite global slowdown, PHL seen to perform well

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THE Philippines is expected to become one of the top economic performers in the Asia-Pacific region despite the projected slowdown in global economy this year, according to the Department of Finance (DOF).

At the luncheon hosted for President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Philippine chief executive officers (CEOs) in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday, Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno disclosed they project the country’s economy to still grow by 6.5 percent this year thanks to promising economic indicators.

“And that’s still one of the highest if not the highest growth projection in the Asia-Pacific Region,” Diokno said.

Among the factors which will make the country “resilient” from external headwinds are its “bustling manufacturing sector” as shown by the Volume Production Index (VoPI) last November, he said.

In that period, the VoPI increased by 5.9 percent from just 5.3 percent in October.

Diokno said the low unemployment rate, which slowed down to 4.3 percent, was also a good sign that the economy is performing well.

Both factors, together with the “resilient banking system,” Build, Better, More infrastructure agenda, and public-private partnerships will ensure the country hits its economic growth target this year, according to Diokno.

Diokno said Marcos’s ongoing participation at the 2023 World Economic Forum will also help in the country’s “economic transformation.”

Philippine delegates

Aside from Diokno, Marcos is accompanied by House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, former President and current Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Sen. Mark Villar, Rep. Ferdinand Marcos III, Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Special Assistant to the President Antonio Lagdameo Jr. and Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista.

Also part of the Philippine delegates at the WEF are some of the country’s top business tycoons: Sabin Aboitiz of Aboitiz; Kevin Andrew Tan of Alliance Global; Jaime Zobel de Ayala of Ayala Group; Lance Gokongwei of JG Summit Holdings; Ramon Ang of San Miguel Corp.; Teresita Sy-Coson of SM Investments; and Enrique Razon of the International Container Terminals Services Inc.

Aboitiz, also the lead convener of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC), said their inclusion in the Philippine delegates at the WEF provided them the opportunity to enter into partnerships with firms from other countries.

“You know the amount of money we need is quite a large sum for the country to build the infrastructure projects that we want—the roads, the ports, the airports—so we are going to need a lot of funds to come to us,” Aboitiz said in a recorded interview posted by Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) in its Facebook page.

“So we are going to need a lot of the funds and expertise from countries around the world, and also for us in the private sector we can partner with the best of the world,” he added.