Cartoon by Roni Santiago
Cartoon by Roni Santiago

Recent news headlines declared: “PSEi (Philippine Stock Exchange index) closes at record high;” “Domingo sees 7% GDP growth;” “External debt servicing declines 16.5%;’’  “Aquino sees higher foreign direct investments;’’ and ‘’Peso continues to gain strength against the dollar.”

In the last six months or so, similar news reports were regularly published in the Philippine media. These reports indicate rosy economic prospects for our homeland this year.

And because of these encouraging reports, some government officials and reputable Philippine companies are saying the country is now on its way to becoming Asia’s next economic tiger.

No less than President Aquino has expressed hope for a much improved economy in 2013.

On investments, Aquino said that the country expects bigger inflow of foreign direct investments this year. He noted that more investors from Australia, United States and Europe have visited the country to look into investment opportunities.

The Chief Executive said in a recent radio interview that the Philippines remains globally competitive in attracting foreign investments.

He reported that foreign companies inaugurated last year their factories in the Philippines. These include B/E Aerospace that manufactures galleys in airplanes, seats, lavatories, etc.

Aquino also reported that “Austal, a ship-building company based in Australia, is expanding its facilities in Cebu.

The President noted that Nestle, a consumer goods company, is likewise putting up another plant in the country. Nestle inaugurated its third plant in Cagayan de Oro City.

Furthermore, Aquino observed the exponential growth of the country’s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

He noted that Excel, a BPO firm based in New York, is expanding its third site in Cebu, saying the BPO industry is expanding not just in the urban centers of Manila and Cebu but throughout the country.

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At present, there are some 700,000 direct employees of BPO companies in the Philippines. Aquino expected that by 2016, the number of BPO employees would be 3.6 million.

The optimism for a vibrant economy has resulted in investors’ confidence in the country. This is reflected in the bullish performance of the Philippine Stock Exchange in the first three weeks of this month.

The PSE index breached the 6,000-point mark for six consecutive days in the second week of January as foreign investors went on a buying spree that jacked up the prices of the shares of top Philippine companies. The PSEi continued to rise in the succeeding days, setting all-time high records.

Business analysts say that if all the economic indicators keep their upward trends, the Philippine economy could chalk up growth much higher than those of the other Asian countries this year.

Filipinos feel humiliated whenever we hear foreigners call the Philippines the “sick man of Asia.’’

But with the current economic trends, there is now hope that our homeland is on its way towards prosperity.