Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Antonio A. Morales spoke before some 40 officials of the APEC Secretariat, including Program Directors of the APEC Economies, on April 08 at the 4th Floor Conference Room of the APEC Secretariat in Singapore. Ambassador Morales briefed the officials on basic facts about the Philippines and provided an overview of the Philippine economy.
In his presentation, Ambassador Morales noted the unprecedented growth trajectory of the Philippine economy beginning in 2010 until 2014. He emphasized that last year, the Philippine economy grew by 6.1 percent, second to China. He attributed this sharp growth pattern to various factors, such as the Philippines’ very large but young population, the various anti-corruption measures that have been instituted by the current administration, as well as the structural changes taking place in the economy as a result of good economic fundamentals.
He emphasized that “according to UN population projections, the Philippines will hit, in 2015, a ‘demographic sweet spot’ that will approximately last for the next 35 years. Countries in such conditions post an average yearly growth of 7.3 percent.”
As a result of the favorable economic conditions, the Philippines “can no longer be labelled the sick man of Asia,” but is currently enjoying an unprecedented level of confidence from the international economy, said Ambassador Morales. “For the first time in the country’s history, the Philippines is ranked investment grade by the major credit rating outfits— Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch. In the latest World Bank-IFC Ease of Doing Business Report, the Philippines jumped to 95 out of 189 countries worldwide, an improvement of 13 places from a rank of No. 108 last year,” he added.
However, Ambassador Morales also noted that the Philippine government “is aware that while the economy is growing, there are still a lot of areas that need improvement.” “We still need to address poverty and try to make the economy more inclusive and sustainable in the long term,” he added.
Towards the end of the presentation, a video clip on Boracay Island was shown. Incidentally, Boracay will be the host city for the second APEC Senior Officials Meeting(SOM2) and several other meetings in May. The audience were also treated to a traditional Filipino merienda of suman (rice cake) and cassava cake.