Politics ‘overrated’ as destabilizer-A A +A
By Mia A. Aznar
Friday, September 17, 2010
IF THAILAND is to be made an example, a country’s political situation will not affect its economic growth, a top banking official said.
Instead, First Metro Investment Corp. president Francisco Sebastian said the key is infrastructure First Metro Investment Corp. is the investment arm of Metrobank.
Sebastian noted that despite Thailand’s political turmoil, its growth has surpassed the Philippines.
“The key is not politics. For me, the issue is overrated. The key is infrastructure.
Build them and business grows, politics aside,” Sebastian said during the the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cebu Thursday.
He said that many Filipinos feel they have been “unlucky” with their leaders.
Sebastian cited that in Thailand’s political scene, they had to close their airport for two weeks leaving many foreign tourists stranded while their shopping district was also affected by political protesters.
He noted that their economy should have suffered severe blows, but instead, Thailand’s economy rose 12 percent in the first quarter and nine percent in the second quarter.
In the Philippines, particularly Cebu, Sebastian said there are many opportunities as long as businesses “embrace globalization.”
“It is a trend that is here to stay,” he explained.
To be globally competitive, Sebastian said Cebu should offer products that other countries do not.
Also, he said Cebu must prepare for the new world order.
While most firms have been concentrating on the US and European markets, Sebastian said the economies of China, India and the Asean region are showing the best growth in the world.
He added that China is said to have $2 trillion US in deposits and consumes a lot of commodities.
And with the surge of the business process outsourcing (BPO) and the increase of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), Sebastian said there are opportunities in consumer consumption, services and manufacturing.
With BPOs sprouting all over the country, he said businesses can participate by providing for the domestic local demand in terms of food, retail, housing, transport and construction materials.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 18, 2010.