Kim Henares’s role-A A +A
Friday, September 28, 2012
THE Philippines today is the 44th-largest economy in the world,” says HSBC, and should its growth continue it can leap to No. 16 by 2050. It seems like everything looks bloomy for the Philippines: its stock market is among the most vibrant in Asia and the peso has risen against the US dollar.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported a surplus of US $582 million in August 2012, pushing the eight-month surplus to US $5.08 billion. With its newfound fiscal strength, the Philippines pledged $1 billion to the International Monetary Fund to help struggling economies of Europe, including our once upon a time colonizer, Spain.
While not outrightly saying that the country can do without remittances, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) through Rosemarie Edillon noted that even with the reduction of remittances from overseas Filipinos for three consecutive years, the Philippine economy continues to grow.
She declared that, "Zero dependence on remittances is probably very ambitious. In reality, overseas remittances are a significant part of a country’s economy, whether developed, developing or at any stage of economic development."
There is no secret about the rebound of the Philippine economy. It has to do with revenue collection, and the exemplary performance of BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto Henares has much to do with this. The agency is tasked with delivering two-thirds of state revenue, and it takes more than idealism to overturn the corrupt culture that has infected the bureau for 106 years.
She said, “I believe that it’s a make or break time for the Philippines. It’s either we make it or we break it. We should take this opportunity and we should give it our 101 percent. All of us should help. That’s the reason I took the job.” And by the looks of it, she has delivered.
The increasing revenue has helped in covering up the reduced remittances of OFWs; and there is truth to Edillon’s claim that the downtrend will likely continue. While in the past, Filipinos who worked abroad usually involved either the husband or the wife, a number of countries needing overseas workers have offered permanent residencies to families.
This policy favors the host countries, as overseas workers will not only become taxpayers, but also will spend most of their earnings in their adopted country. They will spend for education, housing, food and other necessities, leaving little for remittances back to their native land.
What the Philippines need are technocrats in the mold of Kim Henares. If they flourish, so will the Philippines.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 29, 2012.