President's Message
Atty. Benedicta Du-Baladad Message from the President:

Benedicta Du-Baladad


To FINEX members and friends,

PRESIDENT’S REPORT
November 2017 Issue

We are now on the final stretch of 2017. This year has been one of the busiest and exciting for both FINEX and the country.

Earlier this month, our country was once again placed in the limelight as we hosted this year’s ASEAN Summit. The summit provided us to showcase what our country can share to the world and the creativity of the Filipino people. Indeed, the recent hosting of the ASEAN summit placed our country

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Will RP Fit in the Integrated ASEAN Mold?
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Zoilo By: Zoilo "Bingo" P. Dejaresco III

BUSINESS MIRROR (FINEX Free Enterprise)
December 13, 2017

Will RP Fit in the Integrated ASEAN Mold?

Finex Free Enterprise is a rotating column of members of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines appearing every Wednesday & Friday in BusinessMirror, banking & finance Section.

THERE HAVE BEEN REAL TRIUMPHS during the ASEAN Meeting in Manila. Sometimes, Filipinos pinch themselves if these are indeed sustainable?

The ASEAN with 600 million people and with the highest regional GDP growth rate-necessarily- attracts many seller-nations and investors. But with the ASEAN integration- with tariffs down among the ASEAN nations- this would ensure ASEAN should be for ASEANs, first.

We copied that from you, Donald Trump.

There are those who maliciously wish that the ASEAN will fail for their own selfish reasons. For instance, they say unlike EU (European Union) where most nations are steeped in western liberal democracy and trained spiritually by the thoughts of Martin Luther King -the ASEAN is a strange animal.

Some nations in the region are Buddhists, others Muslims, Christians and what not -many are democracies but some are militaristic and fascistic. That we are apples and oranges.

That culturally- ASEANs are weak because they seek consensus and are not confrontational in resolving issues. That is why they skirted the issues of China's imperialism in the China Sea, Myanmar's oppression of 600,000 Muslims in Rojinya, the military rule in Thailand and if one insists, EJKs in the Philippines. Do you agree?

But let us count at least four real blessings.

One, from now on 212,000 Filipino OFWs in the ASEAN will have protection from harassment in member nations with the ASEAN Migrant Workers Protection Law. Two, Japan inked a subway project crossing Manila to be finished by 2027 -which is the only solution to the maddening traffic costing P2-B a day in losses.

Three, China agreed to, at last sign, a Code of Conduct, in the disputed China Sea which will govern any and all acts, hereafter. It seems Beijing also assured all nations of free maritime navigational use of the China sea corridors for trade and commerce.

Four, Philippine banks are considered the most stable in the region -due to its quality assets born out of a strict BSP. Although the three largest Philippine banks in assets combined are only equal to the No 1 Bank in Singapore- quality, not size matters, per new BSP governor Nestor Espenilla.

But the biggest hope for Filipinos was the deliberate effort to discuss the issue of inclusive growth in ASEAN. Not just of big corporations helping the small and medium industries but also the richer ASEAN nations towing the weaker ones to prosperity.

"Go Negosyo" founder Joey Concepcion called this the three M's needed for inclusive growth and development: of Mentorship, Money, and Market. The AMEN (ASEAN Mentoring of Entrepreneurs Network) is one of the best things that evolved in the ASEAN Meet.

Super-gurus in entrepreneurship in the ASEAN will teach our 500 or so national mentors to understand the bigger ASEAN market. New hybrids of cooperatives made of workers will begin to own a significant number of shares of corporations.

The theory being the new-found prosperity of some will be good for the prosperity of all.

On the money side, business leaders were one in saying, in effect, we must not reward laziness through the P70-B Conditional Cash Transfer. " Teach them to fish not give them fish" is the theme and where 20% of the P70-B CCT budget they want to be converted into livelihood opportunities.

Finally, large corporations were urged to make smaller entrepreneurs part of their supply chain or support their industries and be part of their wholesale suppliers. And so on.

Fernando Zobel de Ayala, whose Ayala Corporation , has penetrated the overseas market of water supply, retail goods and microchips for cars, thinks we cannot always rely on a consumption-dependent GDP growth- otherwise, we stay at the 6% GDP growth level.

He feels a 7-9% GDP growth is what will lift many to Middle-Class status as long as this growth is investment-not-consumption-led.

The call was for government and private sector to join hands in "build build build" infrastructure to attract foreign investments and create jobs in the next 4 years. But we have to do something about the "ease of doing business" here where RP recently dropped several points downwards in the international classification.

Due to the high cost of power, corruption and the general bureaucratic red tape here, RP has one of the lowest Foreign Direct Investments in the ASEAN.

Consider Vietnam which was torn asunder by years of civil war but is now a more attractive investment haven than the Philippines. There is a place there called "Samsung City" filled with related factories and peopled by 40,000 Vietnamese workers, That's how big Vietnam has become as a country of choice for investors.

Here in the Philippines- town mayors ask the investor to line up his office first and discuss "deals made in Hell". And we have a Bureau of Customs which kills local industries by abetting smuggling of goods.Stop wondering -then- why so many of our fellow Filipinos are still languishing in poverty- jobless or underpaid because of lack of investments.

If the Philippines wants to have a country-comparative advantage in the ASEAN, the time to change ourselves is now. Doing that when the ASEAN would be fully integrated in 2025-would be a trifle too late, Watson.

(Bingo Dejaresco, a former banker, is a financial consultant, media practitioner and book author. He is a Life Member and Chair of the Professional Development and Broadcast Media of Finex. His views here, however, are personal and do not necessarily reflectthose of Finex. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

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