DESPITE the weaker global economic outlook and uncertainties brought about by the impending elections, the Philippines’ growth forecast will remain rosy and bright, said an economic professor of the Ateneo Economic Research Department yesterday.
Economist Maria Christina Bautista, in a press conference, sees no slowing down of the country’s economy in the next three to four years, as the country’s growth is backed by its strong economic fundamentals. She said the country is in a healthy state despite the weak global environment.
“Interest rates abroad are falling. Investors’ money has to go somewhere it will earn. That’s why money is here. Money comes in a country that is seen as stable and with good credit ratings,” said Bautista, who was the keynoted speaker of the economic briefing organized by the Ateneo Graduate School of Business-Cebu Campus.
The Philippines ended 2015 with a 5.8 percent growth. Among the major developing countries, the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) reported that the Philippines was likely among the fastest next to India, the People’s Republic of China and Vietnam.
Neda is sticking to its seven percent growth forecast this year.
Asked if the country’s election could affect foreign investments to come in, Bautista said investors would be on a wait-and-see mode.
However, she is optimistic that with the lineup of political leaders seeking office, the country’s economy will continue to do well.
“Either way, (whoever is elected in office) would be able to establish confidence in the market,” she said.
She added it would also be a plus factor among foreign investors if we will be able to execute peaceful, honest and fair elections.
Cebu’s growth, on the other hand, is expected to flourish.
“You have all the factors that bring money in,” she said. She cited he region’s tourism sector, which is a big contributor in terms of investments and revenues.
Bautista also cited Cebu’s international ports, which could become potential hubs for the cruise ship market and exports. What needs to be ironed out though are the policies that govern the free flow of goods to help Cebu introduce its export-quality products to the rest of the world.
Another critical factor for Cebu’s growth is the sustainability of its products, particularly in tourism. Bautista emphasized that Cebu should get its act together in maintaining the balance between an improved lifestyle and its responsibility to the environment.
She said that while Cebu gets to enjoy a huge influx of tourists annually, it should focus on the protection and proper management of its beaches and natural attractions.
Cebu attracted some 4.5 million arrivals last year, up by 10.46 percent, according to the initial data of the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7.