Article No. 2
The Positive Outlook on the Philippines
by Undersecretary Gregory L. Domingo, Dept. of Trade & Industry
Filipinos (including the press, business people and myself) tend to dwell too much on the negative side and this affects the perception of foreigners even the ones who have lived here for awhile. The negative perception of the Philippines is way disproportionate to reality when compared to countries like Columbia, Egypt, Middle East, Africa, etc. Let us all help our country by balancing the negative with the positive specially when we talk to foreigners whether based here or abroad. Looking back and comparing the Philippines today and 1995 (the year I came back), I was struck at how much our country has progressed physically.
Consider the following:
1. The great telecoms infrastructure that we have now did not exist in 1995. 1995 was the year telecoms was deregulated. Since then billions of dollars have been invested in both fixed line and cellular networks producing a system with over 5,000 kms of fiber optic backbone at a world competitive cost. From a fixed line capacity of about 900,000 in 1995 we now have over 7 million. Cellular practically did not exist in 1995 now we have over 11 million lines capacity.
2. The MRT, many of the EDSA flyovers (including the Ayala Avenue flyover), the SKYWAY, Rockwell and glorietta 4, the Fort, NAIA terminal 2 and most of the new skyscrapers were not yet built in 1995.
3. If you drive to the provinces, you will notice that national roads are now very good quality (international quality asphalt roads). I just went to Iba, Zambales last week and I was impressed that even a not so frequently travelled road was of very high quality.
4. Philippine exports have increased by 600% over the eight years. There are many, many more examples of progress over the last eight years.
Some additional tidbits to make you prouder.
1. Intel has been in the Philippines for 28 years. The Philippines plant is where Intel's most advanced products are launched including the Pentium 4. By the end of the year, the Philippine operations is expected to be Intel's biggest assembly and testing operations worldwide.
2. Texas Instruments has been operating in Baguio for over 20 years. The Baguio plant is the largest producer of DSP chips in the world. DSP chips are brains behind cellphones. TI's Baguio plant produces the chip that powers 100% of all NOKIA cellphones in the world and 80% of Erickson cellphones.
3. Toshiba laptops are produced in Laguna.
4. If you drive a Benz, BMW, or a Volvo, there is a good chance that the ABS system in your car was made in the Philippines.
5. Trend Micro, makers of one of the top anti virus software PC-Cillin (I might not have spelled this correctly) develops its "cures" for viruses right here in Eastwood Libis. When a virus breaks in any computer system in the world, they try to find a solution within 45 minutes of finding the virus.
6. By the end of this year, it is expected that a majority of the top ten U.S. call center firms in the U.S. will have set up operations in the Philippines. This is one area which I believe we are the best in the world in terms of value for money.
7. America Online (AOL) has 1,000 people in Clark answering 90% of AOL's global e-mail inquiries.
8. Proctor & Gamble has over 400 people right here in Makati (average age 23 years) doing backup office work to their Asian operations including finance, accounting, HR, and payments processing.
9. Among many other things it does for its regional operations here in Manila, Citibank also does its global ATM programming locally.
10. This is the first year ever that Philippines will be exporting cars in quantity, courtesy of Ford Philippines. Next time you see business associates tell them the good news. A big part of our problem is perception and one of the biggest battles can be won simply by believing and by making others believe.
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