As the Philippines currently indulge its current economic achievement, being included for the first time in the top 50% of world ranking, it makes me ask the question, why only now? What took us too long to be globally competitive?
According to Guillermo Luz, the co-chair of the Philippine National Competitiveness Council (NCC), the Philippines registered improvements in 11 out of the 12 categories, from the aspect of government institutions, infrastructures, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training; goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.
It felt like a breath of fresh air! From all the news of bus hostage tragedy, unresolved issues in the RH Bill, China in Spratly’s and the recent impeachment of the Chief Justice Renato Corona, a new positive and uplifting headline was shown to our television screens and newspapers. It’s a great indication that despite of all the negative issues that we deal with everyday, there is still some delightful news that proves that our country is still determined to be placed on top along with our neighbor Asian countries like Singapore and Hongkong.
The Philippines’ competitiveness is improving significantly in some aspects of our economy. We can say that businesses around the world are more confident now in investing in our country. Kudos to the people in the government who are truly exerting efforts to provide us with more tangible results rather than the blah blah promises we used to hear every day.
But despite of this current triumph, I totally agree to what Ramon Del Rosario Jr., (Chair of the Makati Business Club) has said, that there is still a lot of work to be done to help ensure that the Philippines reach its new goal to be included in the upper third rankings in 2016. This recognition would show that though we are improving in some areas, there are still a lot of weaknesses that are waiting to be focus on. Examples of these are the infrastructures, floods during rainy season, rights to education for the less fortunate, health problems such as dengue and HIV, unemployment, graft and corruption and a lot more. So are we Really improving? How can we brag that we had improved our economic competitiveness and yet feel that our countrymen are still deprived and poverty-stricken?
As a business student, it felt good knowing that the performance of our economy is much better from the past two years. From a double digit improvement in ranking since then, it makes me think that if this trend goes positively, I will have a bright future in my chosen career.
But in behalf of a lot of Filipinos currently living, striving and struggling to have a better life in this country, this improvement may not be as convincing as it ought to be. One basis for this would be that the lives of the Filipinos two years ago were not that different from what it is today, and such progress is rarely seen and felt. In addition to this, the only “development”(?!) that Filipinos had felt from the two years that has passed was the increase in prices of pandesal and jeepney fare. And yes, I’m sorry, that is sarcasm.
I also agree to Mr. Ernie Cecilia, that quality human resources can drive global competitiveness. We have different views from the quality human resources who are leaving our country, brain drain anyone? That we didn’t realize that, our own people, is the MAJOR factor that can help our country to do better. Knowledgeable and competent Filipinos are leaving the Philippines to work abroad in search of greener pastures. But no one can blame them! Their stumpy salaries are not sufficient to provide for the ever growing desire to improve the quality of life of their families. They leave the Philippines because of poverty, and the Philippines remain in poverty because they all left. It’s a vicious circle that will never end, like a dog chasing its own tail. It won’t conclude until it straightens up its act and chose the right way.
Mr. Cecilia’s approach is really informative and I got to learn a lot of things. But I just to want to express my disagreement on his snarky remark that while Singapore sells anything and everything and Japan and Korea sells high value items, we sell bananas. It astounds me for a second… then asks, what’s wrong with that?! Is there something wrong in selling bananas? Or exporting mangoes, durian, coconuts, woodcrafts and furniture’s? It may amaze him if he knew that even dried fish have a great demand in the international market. These are our countries major exports and while other countries can sell a lot of things, we have our own uniqueness and advantages in exporting our own products too. It may not be as big as petroleum, diamonds, and heavy machineries but a little bit of something is much favorable than nothing at all.
In conclusion, and to relate this topic to the lessons that I have learned in the four corners of my classroom in Management 8, I have realize that the Philippines is just like large conglomerate. Like a multinational corporation, it needs the proper structure, competent people and clever strategies to achieve its mission, vision, objectives and goals. It needs to line its strategies according to the changing demands and other factors to attain satisfaction and improvement. Our country, like a corporation needs to analyze its strengths and use them to compete in this fast changing world. Identify its weaknesses and address it, turn threats to opportunities, and maximize the opportunities for greater prospects, not only to improve its current status but also to uplift the life of its people.
We may be far from being number one; we may not know where we’ll be next. But with every little step forward goes a long way. It may take us too long, but with determination, proper administration and guide from Above, I know we will get there.