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Education, manufacturing and tourism are key growth drivers, says CEO of JG Summit



Education, manufacturing and tourism are key growth drivers, says CEO of JG Summit

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By means of Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, News reporter

THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE The sector should leverage the potential of education, manufacturing and tourism, which are critical to economic growth, the CEO of JG Summit Holdings, Inc. said. Wednesday.

The state should serve as a “key enabler” by simplifying the cost and ease of doing business, while private companies must continue to invest, create jobs and wealth to improve lives, said JG Summit President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lance Y. Gokongwei said in a speech on Business‘s economic forum in Taguig City.

“Underlying these three critical areas is of course the importance of both physical and technological infrastructure that will support and further accelerate the growth of our human capital, manufacturing and tourism sectors,” he added.

Mr. Gokongwei said young Filipinos must have skills that will help them keep pace with an economy driven by technology, while teachers need to be upskilled and retrained in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

He added that with an adequately equipped workforce, government and business “conFsimilarly trying to convince global capital to pitch their tents in our country based on the undeniable resources we possessFfer.”

Mr Gokongwei said revitalizing the manufacturing sector would also boost the economy.

“Our industrialization depends on the government and the private sector jointly identifying and agreeing on the manufacturing industries we need to develop, supported by enabling policies and incentives,” he said.

The drive to become a manufacturing economy also depends on the country’s ability to equip its workforce to meet the demands of the emerging industrial and technological landscape.

Mr. Gokongwei added that both direct and indirect tourism revenues should be part of the Philippines’ economic growth plans.

“Our natural wonders, our kind-hearted people and our ideal location – these are the perfect ingredients to make us a tourism powerhouse with a significant contribution to our gross domestic product,” he said.

The Philippine economic outlook remained bright despite the risks and challenges, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said in a separate address at the forum.

“The outlook for the Philippines remains bright and amid current projections we are working hard to maintain it our foundations are sounding,” he said.

“Despite some of the greatest challenges we have ever faced, we remain committed to achieving our short-term goals. We aim for no less than socio-economic transformation in the medium term,” he added.

Mr. Balisacan cited the need to make economic growth more inclusive as poverty statistics have improved in recent years.

“We need to improve access to quality employment and market opportunities, strengthen social protection, reduce poverty to single digit levels and improve the overall quality of life,” he said.

The economy grew 5.7% in the first quarter, slower than expected and below the state’s 6-7% target for the year.

George I. Royeca, CEO of mobile motorcycle app Angkas, said informal workers can contribute a lot to the economy.

“The challenge for us is how to create a platform for informal workers, how to provide financial services and how to increase financial literacy,” he told the forum. “I really hope that we can boost the informal sector and make it really flourish.”

He added that the country needs to adopt innovative strategies in various industries.

Vice President Emmanuel L. Estrada of Globe Telecom, Inc. said it is necessary to bridge the digital divide.

“Digital connectivity has now become fundamental to economic progress,” he said at the forum. “We need not just connectivity, but universal and meaningful connectivity.”

Jesus C. Romero, chief operations officer and senior executive vice president at Converge ICT Solutions, Inc., said the local broadband industry still has a lot of work to do to increase capacity and reduce costs.

“There is no one-size-fits-all internet for all situations,” he told the forum. “There will be people who are better off with mobile and people who are better off with fiber.”

Miguel G. Belmonte, president and CEO of BusinessWorld Publishing Corp., said public-private coordination is needed to attract investment and create more jobs.

“What strikes me about these growth engines is the inspiring synergy between the government and the private sector, which is a key driving force for the country in driving investment, innovation and job creation,” he said.

“The private sector employs more than 60% of the workforce and contributes a major share to the Philippine GDP,” Mr. Belmonte said. “With crucial industries such as energy, telecommunications and infrastructure having given enormous potential to the private sector, the opportunities for the country are truly bright.”