The Philippines 2

The Philippine Advantage – Aired April 2010

A globally competitive environment for investors, the Philippines is Asia’s new business hotspot. Long overshadowed by its neighbors in terms of economic growth and socio-political development, Asia’s sleeping tiger is slowly waking up.

A cluster of over 7,000 islands, the Philippines is the second largest archipelago in the world. It defies geographic convention, divided into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The capital city is Metro Manila.

Its strategic location makes it a critical entry point to the 500 million people in the Southeast Asian market. The Philippines offers vast trade opportunities and is an ideal base for business.

Amidst its problems, the Philippines is a survivor. Culturally cast away from the rest of Asia through its past links with Spain and the United States, it is a nation that is unique and carefree. It is also home to the friendliest and happiest people in Asia. Filipinos are proud of what is quite possibly the continent’s only true democracy.

The government’s main thrust of making Philippines a competitive country in the global environment through various investments has been successful, and there is no better time to know the Philippine advantage.

The Philippine economy grew in 2009, supported by the continued expansion in overseas workers’ remittances, a resilient business process outsourcing industry, and fiscal stimulus efforts. While GDP growth was was stunted by the global financial crisis and weather-related loss of agricultural output, the future looks bright.

INDUSTRY

Manila. Manic, chaotic, and alive. A passion play and an urban jungle in overdrive mode. This is where over 12 million Filipinos gravitate to, and the heart and soul of a nation in flux.

For businessmen and investors, Manila is a corporate nirvana. The business district of Makati rivals the business districts of Singapore and Hong Kong in its capitalist buzz. It is where many of the country’s financial companies and multinational corporations are based, as well as some of the best shopping and nightlife in all of Asia.

The Philippines is one of the most aggressive players in targeting the outsourcing markets of the USA, Europe and neighboring Asian countries. The Philippines has rapidly emerged as India’s main rival in the business-process outsourcing, or BPO. Its positive track record in back office services , and a fluency in the English language, has unleashed the nation’s best-kept secret: it’s human capital.

The Filipino workforce has become one of the country’s biggest exports, a new breed of world-class service professionals. All over the world, from the United Arab Emirates to Hong Kong, Filipinos are in demand. It is Filipinos’ intrinsic nature to care for their families and provide for them even if they are thousands of miles away.

The money Overseas Filipino workers send back home through remittances are crucial to the economic growth of the country.

As Filipino workers become global, so do Filipino companies. More than ever, strong private enterprises are making a name abroad, bringing into light the strong work ethic and entrepreneurial expertise that the country is well-known for.

7,107 islands. 7,107 opportunities for investment. The Philippines is rich in natural resources, and projects have been underway for decades in the privatization of state-owned industries, particularly in the energy sector.

The growth of the energy sector has mirrored the solid performance of the economy, and 2010 promises to be a banner year for the privatization of the country’s remaining generation assets, with hydro-electric power holding the key.

TOURISM

One of the Philippines’ stumbling blocks in its road to development in a road and communications infrastructure highly in need of modernization. But with the help of the private sector, things are slowly changing.

The Philippines welcomes tourists from all over the world coming for their medical and leisure needs. The Philippines has been growing as a tourist destination of choice for health and vacation because of its world class physicians, modern technology, and a uniquely Filipino brand of caring and compassion at great values for money at a fraction of the cost in developed countries.

Look at the beautiful Filipino people and you will see the physical traces of its Asian, American and Latin heritage. While most medical specialties address physical health, cosmetic surgery is unique in the way it uses physical improvement to benefit psychological health, and is a booming industry in the country.

The Philippines is now one of Southeast Asia’s leaders in cosmetic surgery, hastened by advances in medical technology and a sensitivity to the needs of Asian clients.

Filipinos are some of the happiest people on earth. How can a country with extreme poverty and prone to daily struggle produce such optimistic people? The secret lies in Latinasian idea that all things shall pass, and that life should be lived. And the concept of family as the basic unit of society is evident everywhere, which is why shopping malls and theme parks are always full of them.

Adventure tourism is also on the rise. For something beyond the ordinary, the Philippines doesn’t disappoint.

And if it’s resorts you are after, then look no further than the island of Boracay, the nation’s most famous beach island and magnet for travelers, where international hotel chains are changing the landscape and raising the bar of standards in luxury tourism.

World of Wonders. This is the slogan for the Department of Tourism.

A strategic location in Asia. Quality human resources. Reliable business infrastructure support. And a liberal economy open to foreign investment. This is the Philippine advantage.