PGMA sees big increase in RP's electronics exports next year
Manila (7 October) -- Despite the turmoil buffeting the US financial market, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sees a "very big increase" in the country's electronics exports in 2009 as returns on new investments in the sector, led by Texas Instruments, start trickling in next year.
In her speech during the 10th Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, Inc. (SEIPI) CEO Forum in Malacanang yesterday, the President noted that the electronics industry, which produces two-thirds of the country's total exports, struggled with a minus 22 percent growth in 2001.
Amid projections of a flat growth this year, she reminded the SEIPI leaders of their industry's minus 22 percent growth in 2001 in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, and "how you recovered, and you will recover even more now because we can see investments that are under gestation."
"Texas Instruments," she added, "will formally open in January and with their market of $3 billion a year, we can expect that by yearend, we will have a very big increase in the electronics exports not to mention those new industries that (Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila) is nursing, or those new factories that Peter is nursing for them to locate here in the Philippines."
Summing up the pluses and minuses of the global financial situation, President Arroyo stressed that "against the gale force winds of the global economy, we remain bullish in our country and your industry. We are optimistic about our future, your future, and we're deeply committed to be a force for the good of your industry which is good for our people."
Thanks to the electronics industry, the Philippines has registered an 18 percent share of the global electronic market since 2006, she said. The sector gives direct employment to almost 500,000 Filipinos, about the same number of employees in the payroll of the Department of Education (DepEd), the government's biggest single employer.
Under the President's administration, the electronics sector has invested $5 billion, the latest investment being that of Texas Instruments' Clark operation involving $1 billion.
On the part of the government, the President said her administration has been addressing the concerns raised by the electronics sector in 2001 regarding the upgrading of the country's infrastructure facilities.
She cited the government's push for the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), the Alabang Viaduct -- now 83 percent completed - to ease the flow of traffic from Calabarzon towards the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
The Batangas Port, which was completed last December, services some of the electronics companies. "The SCTEX has been completed also for the convenience of the factories located in the northern part of the Luzon Urban Beltway," she added.
Similarly, her administration, through the PEZA, now offers reduced power rates for locators, she said. Hopefully, the open access program will be implemented and thus power cost down some more, the President added. (PIA-MMIO) [top]