|Former president Fidel V. Ramos in a crunch contest with the author|
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
As we sailed on a river cruise at the tranquil and pristine Dawel River in Dagupan City recently, I asked former president Fidel V. Ramos if the Philippines still has a chance to be a newly industrialized country (NIC).
“Foreign Direct Investors are vigorously putting shops in Mainland China, Vietnam, and Indonesia while our government contends itself to satisfy with a trickle from these investors . Is there a chance for as to be industrialized?” I posed.
The still athletic 83 year-old alumnus of the United States Military Academy, who just beaten me hands down in a crunch exercise, told me in the affirmative.
“My answer has always been very clear. You read my last five issues at the Manila Bulletin on (its) Sunday (edition),” he stressed.
When I read his “Asia, Latin America emerging markets” (October 9, 2011), I thought I stumbled with the innovative and consequential strategist Albert Wohlstetter of the U.S based think-thank Rand Corporation .
I was awed how the former president gathered the suggestions to perk up our economy in the EMF forum in Warrenton, Virginia last September 25-27 September 2011 he attended with 110 global personalities including former leaders and experts from the IMF, World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank executives, plus incumbents from the Asian Development Bank, Latin American Development Bank, and UN.
He said that for this country to become an NIC she should do the following:
A. Strengthen governance and democratic institutions against organized crime, drug trafficking, and corruption; B. Ensure stable, level, and transparent macroeconomic environments; C. Improve competitiveness based on human development and provision of dependable finance, infrastructure, and energy systems; D) Reduce costs/time for doing business with minimum bureaucratic red tape; E) Implement inclusive policies that bridge disparities) Consolidate positions as competitive players in the regional/ global economy.
My five-cent worth suggestions
My five-cent worth additional suggestion to the formula of the perceptive former president and his group is we should amend the inequitable 60-40 percent, 70-30 percent, and even the 100 percent proprietary ownership of running a business in this country.
If this lopsided equities favor tremendously the smaller capital Filipino investors, it drives off the financially bigger foreign investors who have the entire wherewithal to pour in the country.
If Hong Kong and Malaysia have enjoyed the multiplier effects of foreign investments because of their policy of 100 percent ownership for everybody, why can we not emulate them to buttress our sluggish economy?
How can we stimulate jobs creation at the face of these lopsided business ventures sharing where mass media and medical and allied professions are 100 percent Filipino owned, construction of locally and expensively funded public works and advertising are 75 percent Filipino owned, ownership and establishment of educational institutions and manufacture of products are 60 percent Filipino owned?
If we have amended these vicious practices when the Constitutional Commission hammers the 1987 Constitution we should be probably enjoying the $8,700 (or Philippine peso’s equivalent of P365,400 a year salary) per capita income (PCI) the Thais enjoy today as based on the 2010 figures of the World’s Fact Book.
In that year the Philippines got a pathetic U.S $3,550 (P149, 100 a year) PCI
I will discuss in my next column how to solve the face-off our country faces with Mainland China and other claimants at the West Philippine Seas as based on the nuggets I found on the columns of President Ramos.
(You can read my selected intriguing but thought-provoking columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com. You can send comments too at firstname.lastname@example.org).