It’s not just more fun to invest in the Philippines, it is also profitable, says President Aquino

SEOUL, South Korea, (PNA) — President Benigno S. Aquino III said it’s not only more fun to invest in the Philippines but it’s also “profitable.”

The President made this statement in his speech during the luncheon with the Korean business community at the Grand Hyatt Hotel here.

“The promise of the Philippines as an investment destinationn goes far beyond linguistic consideratiom. Since my administration took over in July of 2010 my country has seen a large scale turnaround in its fortune —from being called the ‘Sick Man of Asia’ to being referred to as the ‘New Asian Tiger’ or as ‘Asia’s Bright Spot’,” the President said.

He pointed out that the drastic transformation is anchored on a simple idea, “the same idea that our people voted for in the 2010 election — If we eliminate corruption, we can end poverty.”

The President noted that the causality between good governance and good economics “is presicely what we have taken to heart and practised these past three years,” he said.

“A lot of our ASEAN neighbors continue to send their students to our universities and research institutes to learn about agriculture who then grow their own agricultural sectors so much that up to a few years ago we wound up importing our rice from them,” he added.

“We have since refocused our energies into improving our agriculture sector. Three years into our term we are almost 100 percent rice sufficient. Our farmers now grow enough rice to feed the nation —this after productivity was incentivized, infrastructure was built, and funds were channeled into endeavors that actually had positive impact instead of merely benefiting those who had the connections to secure importation contracts,” the President further explained.

“On top of our intensifying battle to clean up the system and hold erring officials to account,” President Aquino said his government continues to do the day-to-day work of making government work for everyone.

He also told the businee leaders present that his administration is reducing red tape and fixing a cumbersome bureaucracy adding that the government has put up the Philippine Business Registry, a one-stop-shop for essential documents for businesses.

The President said the whole spectrum of his governance efforts —”be it investing in human capital, reforming the system or going after crooks seeks to empower our citizens so that growth is not limited to a privilege few but is instead as inclusive as possible, where everybody will be given the opportunity to improve their lot in life.”

According to the President the international community has taken note of the country’s transformation.

“The World Economic Forum for example, has bumped our country up 26 places in its yearly competitiveness rankings over the course of three years —from 85th to 59th,” he noted.

In 2015, the President said the Philippines will enter a demographic sweet spot with the bulk of the Filipino people hitting working age—a professional, loyal English speaking working force that can surely contribute to the growth of investors.

“This situation, one that is conducive to business, will remain for the next 40 years,” he stressed.By 2019, the President said the country will enter another spot.

“GDP per capita will hit around 6000 dollars. This middle income sweet spot means a more empowered consumer base, as proven by other countries that hit an inflection point in the buying power of their citizens,” he noted.

The President emphasized that many Koreans know how blessed the Philippines is with both natural gifts and people who are friendly, loyal, and a delight to work with.

“Those of you who have not been to the country can ask the more than one million tourists who visited the Philippines in 2012, or those who have chosen to stay in the Philippines and build their lives there. Many of them can probably attest that truly it’s more fun in the Philippines.

He likewise told the business leaders the Korean companies who found success in the Philippines and can truly say that it’s not just more fun in the Philippines, it is also more profitable.