Can the Philippines become an ASEAN economic ‘tiger’?

Posted in News | Posted on 29-09-2011

By Alexander Villafania
September 29, 2011

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA – This year’s ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) 100 Leadership Forum focuses on two aspects: the potential of the Philippines to become an economic tiger, as well as updates on ASEAN’s activities to meet its 2015 goals.

During a press conference, Dato Timothy Ong, the founder of Asia Inc Forum that organizes the ASEAN 100, stressed that there are questions regarding concept of the Philippines becoming an economic tiger.

However, Ong believes that the country has all the elements of becoming one, considering that there are hopes under the administration of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III.

Ong highlighted five reasons that make the Philippines a potential economic tiger: first is the commitment of President Aquino to fighting corruption; second is the Philippines having among the most talented people; the creation of unique brands; the presence of the business process outsourcing industry; and the country rising in the recent Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012, showing the Philippines placing 75th, up 10 places from the previous report.

“If the question is asked again, “Will the Philippines be an economic tiger?,” I would say yes but it won’t be easy. It will take goodwill and tenacity of the Filipino to commit to this goal,” Ong said.

On the ASEAN goals, Ong said each member state has to further strengthen their economies, thereby improving the Southeast Asian region’s own economic stability.

According to him, the ASEAN is composed of 10 independent countries that while represented as an organization but still has yet to become truly a single, coherent institution much like the European Union or the G7.

Ong explained that the ASEAN could easily become one of the top economic regions in the world, providing many unique products and services for offshore buyers, and could become a major consumer market.

“ASEAN integration is viable and the way to move forward is to put the region’s interests ahead. By getting all member institutions to work together to commit to our goals, the ASEAN would become an economic powerhouse,” Ong said.

Ong added that in the scheme of globalization, all countries are required to work together. However, in the case of Southeast Asia, only a few have the capacity to commit to the requirements of globalization.

He also stressed that without fostering stronger ties from within the region, ASEAN could be beat by current economic giants of Asia, notably the People’s Republic of China and India.

“It’s important to make the ASEAN accountable for its promises. It is not yet one as an economy but it has to be if it is to strengthen each country,” Ong said.


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