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PIA Press Release

PGMA: We are charting a new economic course

Cebu, Philippines (19 September) -- "We are charting a new economic course," says President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her speech during the Electronics Strategic Forum for the Philippines held in Manila recently.

The President said that the Philippines is the best value for investment in Asia as it has broken the back of fiscal responsibility with its improved revenue and investment policies.

She noted how strategic the electronics industry is to the economy as it accounts for two thirds of the country's exports and employs about half a million people, directly and or indirectly in well-paying jobs.

"Nothing beats the IT sector, call centers, BPO and electronics in creating millions of jobs in the country," the President said.

The Philippines indeed has become an increasingly competitive location for manufacturing, services and high-skilled jobs along with the booming call center business. Three global suppliers in the country -Fujitsu, Toshiba and Hitachi produce and supply 50% of the world's requirements for 2.5" hard disk drives and 10% of the 3.5" HDD.

Texas Instruments (TI) on the other hand manufactures 100% of the Nokia digital processors and 80% of Siemens' and Ericsson's and it is expanding its factory in Baguio and it has started to construct a new $1Billion facility at the Clark Freeport Zone, the President added.

Aside from TI, President Arroyo reported that a number of international companies have recently invested heavily in our country in electronics and other industries. "Electronics investments for the first 8 months of 2007 posted more than a hundred percent growth compared to the same period last year, from $360M last year to $763M this year," she said.

According to the President other industries are expanding their operations in the country; Korea's Hanjin has built a billion-dollar ship in Subic and is already looking for a site where it can make its expansion.

Last year, Marubeni and Tokyo Electric Power purchased power plants in the country for some $3.5B and announced another $350M to expand its facilities in Pagbilao.

The American power company AES recently won the bid for the Calaca Power Plant at $930M and are poised for another billion-dollar expansion in that plant.

"These, aside from electronics investments, are validation that our strategy is working. We also hope to increase the industry's exports earnings through wireless applications such as mobile phones, MP3s and ipods, personal computers and consumer electronics such as plasma TV, not just the assembly but also the design," Mrs. Arroyo added.

The President is writing a new chapter in RP economic history through the use of tight fiscal controls complemented by targeted investments in people and infrastructure.

Because revenue is now on track and the country's deficit is down the President said that for the first time in decades, "less of our revenue is being used to service debt and more towards investments in our country's infrastructure and social services including health care and education." (PIA-Cebu/MBCN) [top]

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