At a time when skyrocketing inflation is presenting economic challenges within the country, and an increasingly tricky global politics posing difficulties, Philippine competitiveness is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. As a country that has been experiencing double-digit growth in the past few years, earning the nickname ‘Asia’s Rising Tiger’, much is at stake.
Former Secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Albert F. del Rosario, who has been integral in the country’s economic development in his term as ambassador to the United States, had long been an advocate of good governance, believing it to be the key to sustain the country’s growth as a developing economy.
“To maintain our momentum as an emerging global player, we need to put political will in developing and executing our programs on improving national competitiveness,” he said in a previous interview.
Mr. del Rosario throughout his career had played a part in the country’s development by helping secure $1.2-billion US funding assistance for the Philippines — investments that eventually bolstered the country’s now-booming business process outsourcing (BPO) industry — and acquiring greater access to the US market for Philippine exports.
Serving as DFA chief, he underscored the economic role of the foreign affairs department and revitalized it through the successful promotion of Philippine trade, investments, tourism, and official development assistance (ODA), in cooperation with its partner agencies. During his time, more than 205 economic agreements were signed, covering labor, trade, education, tourism, and air services from 2010–2016.
Prior to his work in government, Mr. del Rosario was an accomplished corporate executive whose business career included work in various industries: insurance, banking, real estate, shipping, telecommunications, consumer products, retail, pharmaceutical, and food. Many, if not all, of his achievements were accomplished through his belief that strong, dynamic government action is the key towards creating a lasting influence in the country’s development.
“The Philippines continues to rise towards competitiveness as reflected in the results of various global competitiveness reports,” he said.
To sustain this remarkable performance, he said the government must continue to address the primary issues that are crucial for the country’s competitiveness and long-term growth. He identified these primary issues as the development of the country’s human capital and infrastructure, the promotion of peace and order and human security, institutionalization of coherent regulatory policies and systems; and the promotion of policies and strategies on disaster mitigation, preparedness, and management to address the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters.
Such critical problems, particularly inadequate infrastructure and inefficient government bureaucracy that is slow in implementing widespread institutional solutions, should be prioritized by the current administration if Philippine competitiveness were to continue to develop. The country, as it stands, currently is in a good position to carry out significant, far-reaching reforms that could secure the economy’s sustained growth for years to come.
“The Philippines has registered continuous GDP growth despite global economic slowdown. The outstanding performance of the Philippine economy coupled with its strong fiscal position have allowed the government to invest in major public infrastructure that would enhance mobility of goods and people within the country,” Mr. del Rosario said. — Bjorn Biel M. Beltran