Martes, Marso 13, 2012

Analysis:Why the Philippines is poor?

By MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

 I felt bad every time I saw on TV the celebration of the anniversary of the EDSA Revolution. Since that historic date in 1986, the economic stocks of the Filipinos went to the dogs.
We remain poor while people in neighboring Mainland China, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam have experienced economic growths catalyzed by their government led pro-business environment. Before EDSA Revolution, according to the United Nation data the Per Capita Income/ Gross Domestic Product (PCI/GDP means an approximation of the value of goods produced per person in the country, equal to the country’s GDP divided by the total number of people in the country ) in current U.S dollar prices in 1987 of these countries were the following: China ($308), Malaysia ($1,965),Thailand ($929), and Vietnam (No record), and the Philippines ($645). In 2011 or 24 years after the revolution, these countries have the following bigger and fast growing PCI /GDP: China ($4,354), Malaysia ($8,373), Thailand ($4,613) and Vietnam ($1,183). The Philippines has an anemic $2,140 of PCI/GDP as based on the PCI/GDP growth of these leapfrogging countries except Vietnam. But with Vietnam’s $1,183, it would not take some years before this former backwater but fast growing” communist” country that embraces 100 percent foreign business ownership on her shore to catch up with us.
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What’s wrong with the Philippines? Here are my answers: 1) “We have the most expensive power rates in the world now,” quipped former congressman Mark Cojuangco when I bumped into him at the office of Mayor Bobom Perez in Urdaneta City recently. With the most expensive electricity in the world, investors continue to shun us (Last year, we were No. 4, and No. 2 in the world and in Asia, respectively, with the most expensive power rates) as their business hub. Who would be in their right mind to invest here when their profit is gobbled by the cost of production? Thanks to the skyrocketing power rates! 2) Blame the ambivalent and incompetent national leadership during their more than two decades of mismanaging the demography since EDSA — where the free use of contraceptives by our people was dealt like plague. This happens because our national leaders fear that their re-election bid would be jeopardized by the parochial thinking catholic priests who use their pulpits to “demonize” politicians who don’t toe their lines. 3) Low investment and population that breeds like rabbits explode like wildfires that turn this country into glaring poverty, staggering unemployment, and wanton criminalities. 4) While these neighbor countries economically surge, our constitution continue to limit foreign investment’s equity to only 30 percent ownership of business like infrastructures, 40 percent ownerships of educational institutions and manufacture of products, and the onerous zero percent ownership on mass media, medical and allied professions. Result: Very expensive goods and services that could not compete with products from other East Asian countries. How can we have infrastructures like harbors, airports, bridges, and highways to draw investors abroad to fund them through Public Private Partnership (the former Build Operate & Transfer) when our Constitution deters foreign investors? 5) To erase our reputation as the Sick man of Asia as seen by people in and outside the Philippines, we should amend pronto our antiquated constitutional provision that limits foreign equity. If these neighbors –countries like communist China and Vietnam have done these and become successful economically, why could we, a self-proclaimed disciple of capitalism, not do it, too? 6) With an unhampered flow of capitals from foreign investors, we would have a stable economy that could mitigate our reputation as the most expensive place to do business. With the free flow of foreign capitals through PPP, power plants like coal, wind, hydro, geothermal, or nuclear power becomes ubiquitous thus lowering the rates of power in our country.
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 This stability is of course buttressed by a real peace & order particularly in Mindanao, judicious Supreme Court that does not change its decisions in the midstream that concerns the confidence of foreign investors who chose to invest in our country, and the absence of bureaucratic red tapes that discourage their counterparts abroad to come here.
(Send comments to totomortz@yahoo.com)

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