Press Release
September 9, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged the government to boost infrastructure development to help sustain the Philippines' improved global competitiveness ranking.

The Philippines posted one of the biggest improvements since its inclusion in the World Economic Forum (WEF)'s Global Competitiveness Report in 1994. The latest 2011-2012 report shows the Philippines climbing to 75th spot out of 142 countries, a big leap from last year's 85th among 139.

The WEF report said that improvement in credit rating, government debt management, interest rate spreads and inflation management were instrumental to the Philippines' improved ranking.

"Our macroeconomic environment is strong. We should capitalize on this strength to enhance our infrastructure network and reduce corruption--our two perennial weaknesses," said Angara.

According to the WEF, the Philippines has much work to do in the areas of corruption, physical security, weak institutions, quality of seaport, quality of airport, infrastructure, inefficient labor market, and quality of primary education.

"Clearly, these should be the administration's most urgent priorities. The administration ought to start by avoiding underspending. Leaving public funds idle is a tremendous waste of resources--and opportunity," said Angara, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance.

"The government should stimulate growth, investments and job generation by building roads, seaports and airports. Such infrastructure will help bring development into far-flung provinces yet unreached by technological and medical innovation. This will also generate jobs in these remote areas and help boost the overall economy.

"Ultimately, building infrastructure is a key step toward improving the state of health, education and labor in the country," stressed Angara.

He called on the government to avoid being complacent and to continue enhancing the country's competitiveness because the Philippines remains third from the bottom among nine Southeast Asian countries.

"Cambodia, which is below us in the rankings, improved by 12 places this year. It is now only 22 notches below us--a large gap still but one that it can close fast if it is able to sustain rapid improvements.

"We must also focus on improving our ranking vis a vis our neighbors'. Vietnam is now only 10 spots ahead of us. Our goal should be to outperform our neighbors every year as they are our closest rivals in attracting foreign investments," said Angara. (30)

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