Business leader confident PH can achieve 6% economic growth

Philippine Tribune
Philippine Tribune

CANDON CITY, Ilocos Sur – A prominent business leader expressed optimism that the country can still achieve a six percent economic growth in 2023 despite a global slowdown.

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AMBASSADOR Francis Chua (left), chairperson of the Bank of Commerce, with Pandesal Forum moderator Wilson Lee Flores.

Ambassador Francis Chua, chairperson of the Bank of Commerce, said that the investment promotion efforts of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and the country’s excellent economic managers led by Finance Secretary Ben Diokno and Bangko Sentral Gov. Eli Remolona Jr. would contribute to the projected economic growth this year.

Chua, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) chairperson emeritus, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII) honorary president, and Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) director, speaking at the Pandesal Forum of Kamuning Bakery Cafe in Quezon City on Saturday, September 30, strongly agreed with National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balicasan who said the country could still achieve a six to seven percent economic growth especially if government spending accelerates in the third and fourth quarters this year.

Chua said that he also expects continuing strong revenues coming from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs), and Philippine export industries like mining.

He urged the country to invest more and expand export industries.

Chua added that he is also optimistic about continuing friendly relations and strong economic cooperation between the Philippines and the country’s biggest trade partner China despite recent tensions in territorial disputes.

Expressing confidence in the future of Philippine agriculture, Chua said that in his recent conversation with Chinese Ambassador to Manila Huang Xilian in a social event, the envoy assured him that China shall remain a big market for Philippine agriculture exports like bananas, mangoes, and durian.

“In our policies or reforms on agriculture modernization, we, the private sector and government, should give priority to the welfare and better livelihood opportunities for our farmers,” Chua said.

On sustaining robust Philippine economic growth in globally tumultuous times, Chua urged all sectors of society “to unite and work hard to support government efforts and reforms for the sake of a better Philippine economy and for creating more jobs.”

“I’m appealing to all sectors to lessen politics, conflicts, and negative sentiments, unite and work harder to strengthen Philippine economic development and the country’s good relations with all our neighbors whether Singapore, ASEAN, China, or other countries,” he said.

“The Philippine banking system now is even stronger than the American banking system, due to our growing economy, the strict supervision of the Bangko Sentral and Finance Department,” he added.

Chua cited as an example of private sector investor confidence in Philippine economic growth the big-scale infrastructure and industrial projects of San Miguel Corp. CEO Ramon Ang such as the new Manila International Airport under construction in Bulacan.

To achieve faster growth and development of the country’s economy, Chua proposed that the Philippines should undertake a high-speed railway project starting from Aparri in Northern Luzon, passing Cebu, all the way to Davao in Mindanao.

He said his proposal is inspired by the recent successful modern railway projects built by China in ASEAN countries Indonesia and Laos, the 142-kilometer Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train, with a proposal to extend it to by more than 700 kilometers across Java island to Indonesia’s second biggest city Surabaya, and the 1,035-kilometer China-Laos Railway connecting Kunming City to Vientiane City. 

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