Following three informative speakers and an engaging panel, excitement permeated the Bohol convention center, as FMAP members and guests eagerly awaited the 2016 keynote speaker. Mr. Paul Joseph Garcia, member of FMAP’s Board of Senior Advisers and BPI Asset Management & Trust Group’s Head of Institutional Business, pumped up the crowd as he introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas, CPA, PhD. As soon as Dr. Villegas stepped on stage, a certain wave of optimism spread throughout the hall, as his first sentence was “The economy will cruise along 6-7% in the next 3-5 years regardless of the next administration.”
FMAP members and guests eagerly listened to Dr. Villegas, as he addressed the Convention’s theme– “Transformative Leadership towards Inclusive and Sustainable Growth.” In his speech, he highlighted three key engines of growth for the Philippines. First, he reiterated the domestic consumption led growth the Country currently enjoys. He believes that this consumption-driven growth will sustain the Philippines’ positive economic growth trajectory. He believes that this domestic consumption story is predicated on the growth in OFW remittances, which he expects will continue growing by 3-5% year-on-year for the next 3-5 years. Furthermore, he does not expect sluggish global growth given weak commodity prices will lead to a drop in said remittances.
The second engine of growth according to Dr. Villegas is the growth in the Business Processing Operations sector of the Philippines. Before the boom in the BPO industry, Dr. Villegas already identified this as a key engine of growth for the Country. He believes that the growth in the BPO industry is far from over considering a fairly young population, growing talents, and undeveloped resources in the Country. Immediately following this, Dr. Villegas identified the third engine of growth, which he believes will be key towards unlocking the true potential of the Philippines– elections. He believes that the Philippines has trillions of Pesos worth of assets that need to be unlocked. Without mentioning any particular candidate in mind, Dr. Villegas said that he hopes the next President will be full of Grace Poe’s optimism when she said that she plans to bring up infrastructure spending to 7% of GDP. Moreover, he believes that the Philippines will continue growing around 6-7% until the next President will listen to the recommendations of the private sector. In addition to that, he said that another way for the Philippines to unlock value is for the next President to appoint the proper cabinet members to which he expressed a short-list of cabinet members he has to share with the next president.
Following Dr. Villegas’ in-depth presentation was an open forum facilitated by Mr. Garcia, discussing the potential implications of the 2016 elections to the Philippine economy, the implications of current global market volatility to the Philippines, and the effect of low commodity prices to the Country.
by: Celine Montalla