Cartoon by Roni Santiago

Recent Manila news reports about the economy and a new system at the country’s premier airport paint a glowing picture of the Philippines.

The report about the economy gives credence to the assertion of the Aquino administration and the private sector that the Philippines has been getting economically stronger. The economy was greatly boosted by remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in 2013 with the total reaching a new record high of $25.1 billion, up by 7.6 percent over that in 2012, the same report stated.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), in last December alone, total remittances of OFWs soared to an unprecedented level of $2.4 billion, higher by 12.5 percent than that in 2012. It was the ninth consecutive month last year that personal remittances exceeded the $2-billion mark.

The BSP reported that cash remittances from land-based workers in the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Canada, and Japan accounted for more than three-fourths (77.1 percent) of the total.

Cash remittances accounted for 8.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The remittances have been steadily increasing due to a robust demand for skilled Filipino manpower abroad, particularly in the Middle East.

The solid growth of remittances in 2013 is a huge boost to the country’s economic activity.

Another glowing news report is about the results of a survey on the country’s private-sector outlook about business profitability.

The survey, which was conducted by the Global Research Team of the London-based Standard Charter Bank in Manila on Feb. 17-18, 2014, showed that 80 percent of the respondent-businessmen aired optimism that the economy will perform well this year as it did in 2013.

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Cited as among the reasons for the bright business prospects this year are the strong economic fundamentals.

Still another positive news report is about a new system introduced recently at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The new system resulted in the elimination of the irksome long lines of arriving travelers waiting for their turn to go through the immigration counters.

Under the system, only foreigners and Filipino passport holders with immigrant visas are required to fill out immigration arrival cards. Filipino passengers are required to fill out only departure cards.

Arriving Filipinos are not required to fill out immigration cards, and so they avoid the hassle of going through the immigration counters. (Read related story on Page 2.)

All the positive reports seem to have neutralized the negative effects of the daily news stories about rampant graft and corruption. And these also lend credibility to claim that the Aquino administration is on target with its programs to improve the economy and image.

Propelled by these positive developments, the Philippines is seen to speed up this year its strides towards progress and prosperity.