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Friday, 12 November 2004
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IN ORDER TO IMPLEMENT THIS PRO-POOR EMPOWERMENT AGENDA, FOUR REFORM PACKAGES HAVE BEEN CRAFTED :

    * Job Creation and Economic Growth

    * Energy Independence

    * Anti-Corruption through Good Government

    * Social Justice and Basic Needs

    * Education and Youth Opportunity

THE PHILIPPINES HAS SEEN SOME ROUGH TIMES SINCE THE MARCOS YEARS.   DOMESTICALLY, WE FACED NUMEROUS OBSTACLES WHICH AT TIMES SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE TO OVERCOME, YET WE MANAGED TO OVERCOME THEM AND MOVE AHEAD.  THE EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT HAS ALSO NOT BEEN VERY CONDUCIVE FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH – THE SERIOUS FINANCIAL CRISIS IN 1997, THE THREAT OF TERRORISM AFTER SEPTEMBER 11, THE WEAK GLOBAL MARKET, WAR IN IRAQ AND THE OUTBREAK OF THE SEVERE ACUTE RESPIRATORY SYNDROME (SARS) – ARE JUST SOME OF THE MORE RECENT EVENTS WHICH HAVE THREATENED THE WORLD ECONOMY AND UNDERMINED GROWTH PROSPECTS.

SO YOU MAY ASK, HOW IS THE PHILIPPINE ECONOMY TODAY?   LET ME CITE SOME DATA FOR LAST YEAR, 2003 :

    * OUR GNP GREW 5.5 PERCENT, EXCEEDING THE GOVERNMENT’S FORECAST OF BETWEEN 4.5 TO 5.4 PERCENT GROWTH

    * DESPITE NUMEROUS THREATS, OUR GDP GREW BY 4.5 PERCENT 

    * GROWTH WAS BROAD-BASED, THE TOP THREE SECTORS BEING SERVICES (5.9 PERCENT), AGRICULTURE, FISHERY AND FORESTRY (3.9 PERCENT) AND INDUSTRY (3 PERCENT)

    * INFLATION REMAINED AT 3.1 PERCENT  FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS (2002-2003) 

    * JOB CREATION WAS BOOSTED ACROSS ALL MAJOR SECTORS

    * TOTAL TRADE AMOUNTED TO US$ 73.198 BILLION , UP 3.6 PERCENT FROM 2002.  TOP PHILIPPINE EXPORTS FOR 2003 WERE ELECTRONICS 67 PERCENT, GARMENTS 6 PERCENT, MACHINERY/TRANSPORT EQUIPMENT 5 PERCENT, PROCESSED FOOD 2 PERCENT, COCONUT PRODUCTS 1 PERCENT, AND PETROLEUM PRODUCTS 1 PERCENT.  

THE ELECTRONICS SECTOR HAS COME A LONG WAY SINCE 1976 WHEN IT COMPRISED ONLY 3 PERCENT OF TOTAL PHILIPPINE EXPORTS.   THE INDUSTRY CURRENTLY ACCOUNTS FOR 10 PERCENT OF THE WORLD SUPPLY OF SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING SERVICES.  MAJOR GLOBAL INDUSTRY PLAYERS ARE IN THE PHILIPPINES : INTEL PHILIPPINES, TEXAS INSTRUMENTS PHILIPPINES, TOSHIBA PHILIPPINES, PHILIPS, TEMIC, AND HITACHI LTD, AMONG OTHERS.

In its annual mid-year economic briefing with the business community and media HELD ON 8 September THIS YEAR, the Government’s economic team reviewed the current state of the Philippine economy :

    * GDP grew by 6.3 percent in the first half of 2004

    * Growth was driven by strong demand from both domestic and external markets pushing exports to grow by 13 percent, and contributing to a recovery in investments, which grew by 7.2 percent

    * Japan is currently the country’s leading export market

    * Electronics and semiconductors comprise the largest share of 45.2 percent in the country’s export base

    * BOI and PEZA-approved investments rose by 590.2 percent, exceeding the approved investments for 2002 and 2003 taken together

    * 37,604 jobs are expected to be generated from the 216 projects approved within the next 18 months as these companies begin their operations

    * Foreign investors accounted for 87.5 percent of total investments (P123.3 billion), an 866.2 percent increase over 2003 levels

    * Investment commitments from local sources grew by 130.2 percent, accounting for 12.5 percent of total approvals

    * 78 percent of the approved investments were related to energy projects

    * The peso’s volatility remains highly manageable