CLOSE on the heels of the 7th Sun.Star Economic Forum held at the Parklane Hotel Thursday was the report that business executives in the Philippines are worried that their operations, by force of economic necessity, may be moved to other countries.

The matter should be considered a threat to our domestic economy since it would mean not only loss of jobs but also loss of potential revenues and the well-being of local businesses.

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Yet in the same breath, I read in this daily various stories that implied favorable economic indicators in the coming months of the year.

There was the Bangko Sentral ng Pili-pinas report, for instance, that bank lending in the country rose by 7.7 percent in recent months. On top of this is the story about a corresponding decrease by 3 percent in bad bank loans in May, meaning borrowers were paying long overdue accounts.

Then consider the $3,23 billion balance of payment (BOP) surplus noted in the last six months. The BOP is the difference between the country’s dollar outflow and its dollar inflow.

In June alone, the net foreign exchange inflow was reported at $502 million. But from January to May, the BOP went up by nearly seven percent, from the $6.98 billion in the same period last year. This would account, I think, for the reported expansion of the money supply in the domestic money stream by 10.7 percent last month.

Against these indications of favorable economic conditions in the coming months, the 7th Sun.Star Economic Forum has come up with feasible directions toward which new businesses may be explored in the small and medium enterprises (SME) sector together with business process outsourcing (BPO).

At least one speaker in thursday’s event claimed that there “is room for at least a thousand more SME and BPOs or possibly $5 billion more in revenues on top of the $7.2 billion…generated in 2009.”

The German president of the Asia Pacific Projects, Ludwig Rieder, suggested the development of community-based tourism (CBT) and linking communities “ to the tourism value chain.” He said there are more tourists who are interested in the culture of other places.

Setting up of CBTs would somehow disperse the visitors to the small communities rather than be highly concentrated in large resorts. He said local residents may invite tourists to “discover local habitats and wildlife and observe local traditions.”