President Aquino rebrands PHL as “Asia’s New Darling”

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

MANILA, Oct. 30 (PNA) — Upon being elected as the “Salesman-in-Chief” of the Philippines in 2010, President Benigno S. Aquino III has conducted an aggressive marketing campaign to revamp the old brand of the Philippines, from being known as “the Sick Man of Asia” into “Asia’s New Darling.”

In his remarks during the 17th Asia Pacific Retail Convention and Exhibition (APRCE) on Thursday at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, the President shared that the Philippines had once been among the least performing countries in many aspects as the country was “plagued” by “rampant corruption and impunity” in the past.

“Establishing a new brand is already a challenge. A different one altogether is reworking an “old brand”—rejuvenating and reviving the image of something that may already have negative associations with its name,” said Aquino.

The Aquino administration had to revamp the system, undertake radical reform, and effect transformation so that “the Philippines was once again open for business under new management.”

Some major overhauls done by the current administration include instituting transparency and accountability, pursuing after the corrupt, leveling the playing field, and investing massive resources into the Filipino people, among others.

“Our campaign has been extremely successful. We did not only revamp our image, we also effected true change,” Aquino said.

“Since 2010, we have climbed the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Rankings: When we started, we were at 85th; now, we are at 47th and we have every intention of being ranked even higher in the near future,” he added.

Aside from the leap in rankings, the country’s GDP growth has been one of the region’s fastest with a 6.2 percent average over the last five years.

Furthermore, the country also broke its record for the largest ever net foreign direct investments in 2014.

“Now that we have so many successes under our belt, now that we are realizing our aspirations, we cannot allow ourselves to backslide. This is the time to work even harder, and even more closely with one another, to build on what we have achieved,” Aquino noted.

The APRCE is a major activity of the Federation of Asia Pacific Retailers Association (FAPRA), which is composed of 18 member economies including China, Japan, Korea, Turkey, New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam, India, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mongolia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, and the Philippines.

This biennial event, slated Oct. 28 to 30, is considered the largest and longest running retail industry event in the Asia Pacific and has attracted over 3,000 foreign and local retailers and executives throughout the region.

Also present during the occasion were Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) President and Chief Operating Officer of Duty Free Philippines Lorenzo Formoso, PRA Overall Chairman Frederick Go, FAPRA Chairman Melmet Nane. (PNA)