Corruption ‘not obstacle to dev’t’-A A +A
Monday, September 2, 2013
IF ECONOMIC policies are in the right direction, corruption will not be an obstacle to economic development, said economist Bernardo Villegas.
Villegas, a professor at the University of Asia and Pacific, said neighboring countries like South Korea emerged as a first world economy despite widespread corruption.
He said the current pork barrel scam is an opportunity for the Aquino administration to prove its sincerity in the fight against graft and corruption.
“The pork barrel scam is an opportunity for President Aquino to send more corrupt government officials to jail,” said Villegas.
But despite the controversy over the pork barrel scam that has implicated a number of legislators, Villegas is optimistic the Philippines is poised to grow stronger in the coming years.
According to The Wider World in 2050 report by the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corp., the Philippines is projected to be the 16th largest economy in 2050, ahead of Indonesia, Austria, Argentina and Egypt.
To achieve this, Villegas said the Philippine economy has to accelerate its growth rate in gross domestic product (GDP) from seven to nine percent in the next 10 years.
He is optimistic that the country will continue to log stronger growth given the economic reforms of the Aquino administration.
He said the introduction of reforms such as the K+12 curriculum will give young Filipinos the opportunity to land jobs in sectors that don’t need college diploma such in the information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) industry.
The country’s economy recorded a 7.5 percent growth in the second quarter this year, beating the analyst’s median forecast of 7.2 percent growth. The country’s first quarter growth stood at 7.8 percent.
“We remain the fastest growing economy among emerging economies in the Asean region,” the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) said in its press release. “The 7.5 percent growth, which is the same as that of China, surpasses the growth rates of our Asian neighbors.”
Neda said that coming from a consumption driven economy, the country has moved to becoming “investment-led and industrialized, with the ability to provide higher quality jobs for Filipinos.”
Business leaders in Cebu said the growth rate is a “welcome development” given the volatility in the global market due to the unrest in some parts of the Middle East.
According to Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Lito Maderazo the second quarter growth encourages the industries to grow further given the strong economic fundamentals of the country.
Given the strong growth, he hopes the country would not just be able to increase its foreign portfolio but attract foreign direct investments to pump-prime infrastructure projects.
For Philip Tan, president of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the strong second quarter growth is a reflection of resiliency of the country and trust and confidence among its people and the investors.
“The challenge now is how to sustain this strong economic growth such that if there would be untoward conditions, our economy as well as the trust and confidence of the investors will not be affected,” said Tan.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 03, 2013.