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Philippines Prepared to Face Economic Crisis
« on: October 11, 2008, 07:26:58 PM »
By Perla G. Lena
Philippine News Agency

The administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ably prepared the Philippine economy to face the effects of the economic slowdown that is happening in the United States at present.

"The Philippines is better prepared to face the turbulence," Dr. Emil Antonio Jr., president of the Center for Research and Communication Foundation, Inc. and former dean of the School of Economic of the University of Asia and the Pacific, during an economic briefing here Friday.

Speaking before hundreds of participants in the briefing dubbed as ‘Challenging Times, Discovering Opportunities,’ Antonio stressed that the national saving rate has improved, the private sector has incurred surplus and the government has a lower deficit.

“The economy is in a better position definitely to cope with the difficulties. It has good cash position, it spending less than what it’s earning and it has beginning to have access to other funds,” he said.

At present, he cited that the peso-dollar rate is moving up again and if it will continue to grow up again it will ‘probably correct the imbalance.’

However, he warned the public to prepare for "more stupid statement about the possibility of collapsed of the Philippine economy especially some people are positioning for 2010."

“Keep your cool. Forget politics for the moment and focus on your business,’ he said. “Don’t lose focus on your business; the economy can still expand even with the difficulties.”

He cited the growing business process outsourcing (BPOs) as one of the areas for opportunity as well as the health and the education sector.

At present, he explained that the BPO industry is still in its stage of growth as only four percent of its market has been tapped.

The opening of opportunities in health and education sectors, which he called as recession proof, would mean that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the US will not be affected because majority of them are into these two sectors.

“The lesson is focus on the growth sectors and dissociate yourself from those that are lagging behind,” he said.

Antonio likewise dispelled fears that the country’s export industry will suffer because of the slowdown in the United States economy because the Philippines is "a small seller in a very, very huge market."

He stressed that the country can sell as much as it wants provided that the goods are sold at the prevailing price and are of good quality.

“This is not demand problem, it is a supply problem. The key here is competitiveness in terms of production cost and quality. If we think that our export is slowing down because the US economy is slowing down, think again,” he cited.

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