PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III considers the holding of the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) Conference in Cebu “a good sign,” saying it means the international community recognizes Filipino talent and ingenuity.
In a message to CACCI members read by Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras, President Aquino highlighted the country’s 6.6 growth and its jump by 12 places in the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Report as achievements that his administration has worked hard for and were not attained through “mere luck.”
He added that Cebu is a good place to showcase how well the country’s economy has done, citing the six manufacturing zones with 278 locators exporting $3.5 billion in goods last year and the 139 outsourcing companies that have employed 95,000 workers.
Eliminating corruption and instilling a culture of justice he said, have been “a most essential step” his administration had to work for to bring hope to the country.
Aside from the CACCI, the Philippines will host other international meetings like the World Economic Forum next year and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in 2015.
Almendras, for his part, said no government can make a good economy on its own without the private sector. He admitted leftist groups have accused him of acting as a protector for the interests of the business community because of his background before entering public service. Still, he acknowledged that chambers of commerce have a big role to play when it comes to economic growth.
“The CCCI (Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry), indeed, has a significant role in how this city has grown,” he said.
Almendras assured that the Cabinet gives importance to the private sector when crafting its policies.
While the Philippines has relied on strong consumption to fuel its economy, he said the administration has identified the agriculture and tourism sectors as key sustainable growth engines for the country. Though he believes the country will continue to grow, he noted that sustaining it is a challenge and that it needs to be done in the next two to three years.
“I think the question is no longer whether the Philippine economy can grow but whether it can sustain that growth,” he told reporters after the keynote address.
He noted that by 2016, majority of the country’s population will be the younger and productive age. He explained that they want to take advantage of this demographic by picking industries that can capture this growth.