Commentary: Philippines no longer "sick man of Asia"
Tacloban City (5 December) -- Judging from the positive stories we hear over the airlanes and read in the broadsheets which continue to catch the eyes and ears of everyone, Filipinos, investors, foreigners alike, the Philippines is no longer the "sick man of Asia."
The Overseas Filipino Workers' remittances are estimated by World Bank to hit $12 B. Patriotic Filipino workers in all corners of the world are bolstering the economy tremendously. But this does not mean that the government will become complacent in addressing fiscal deficits and low productivity growth. The government has a clearly laid out economic plan that is being implemented within schedule. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has time and again, proven how focused and determined she is in realizing the country's development agenda.
The fearless implementation of the RVAT bolstered the confidence of the foreign businessmen to put some investments in the Philippines. It was a tangible manifestation that the current leadership has the political will to pursue changes that will redound to the betterment of the country and its people.
Everybody welcomes the more solid peso and vigorous stock market capped with higher demands for RP bonds. More welcomed is the submission by the Department of Labor and Employment of the proposed non-wage benefits for minimum wage earners. If and when this is approved, countless Filipinos will surely have reason to smile this Christmas and this coming new year.
The filing by the Department of Justice of tax evasion cases against actress Judy Ann Santos and the continuing pursuance of the P25 B tax evasion case against business tycoon Lucio Tan, show that the government is serious in its pursuit of the tax evaders.
Indeed, the Philippine economy is being propelled by overseas remittances, external confidence and domestic productivity. The net profit in the future will be more high-paying jobs which will mean that talented Filipinos need not leave home anymore.
Filipinos should also take comfort in the fact that the 4.6% growth in the country's Gross Domestic Product is above the independent forecast on economic growth rate for Asian countries including India and China.
Worth mentioning is the fact that the Filipino athletes are leading in the current SEA Games where in the past they have always been the "weeping team." As the Filipinos cheer for them, the unity and solidarity as a nation continue to be strengthened. And to top it all, the administration persists in extending a hand of reconciliation with all the detractors and requests every Filipino to work together for the sake of the country and its people.
In the Region, Secretary Defensor of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, after meeting with the bishops of Eastern Visayas, bowed to the demand of the people and said his agency will not allow the resumption of logging on the island to protect the rich biodiversity of Samar. If there is one thing that this action shows, it is the truth that the government is never deaf and is always ready to listen to the voice of the people.
Indeed, with the country's tough economic and social reform measures, it is safe to declare that the Philippines is no longer the "sick man of Asia" and is on the runway for a strong economic take off towards a "first world nation in 20 years." (PIA 8) [top]