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

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

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

By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

THE PHILIPPINE government and private sector should harness the potentials of education, manufacturing and tourism, which are critical to economic growth, JG Summit Holdings, Inc.’s top executive said on Wednesday.

The state should serve as a “key enabler” by facilitating the cost and ease of doing business, while private companies should continue to invest, create jobs and wealth to improve lives, JG Summit President and Chief Executive Officer  (CEO) Lance Y. Gokongwei said in a speech at BusinessWorld’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 hasten the growth of our human capital, manufacturing sector and tourism industry,” he added.

Mr. Gokongwei said young Filipinos should have skills to let them keep up with an economy driven by technology, while teachers should be upskilled and reskilled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

He added that with an adequately equipped workforce, the government and business can “confidently woo global capital to pitch their tents in our country based on the undeniable resources we offer.”

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

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

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

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

“Our natural wonders, our kindhearted people, and our ideal location — these are the perfect ingredients to make us a tourism powerhouse with significant contributions to our gross domestic product,” he said.

Philippine economic prospects remained bright despite risks and challenges, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan told the forum in a separate speech.

“The Philippines’ prospects remain bright and amidst current projections, we are working hard to keep our fundamentals sound,” he said.

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

Mr. Balisacan cited the need to make economic growth more inclusive amid improving poverty statistics in recent years.

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

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

‘SYNERGY’
George I. Royeca, chief executive officer of motorcycle ride-hailing mobile app Angkas, said informal workers have a lot to contribute to the economy.

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

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

Globe Telecom, Inc. Vice-President Emmanuel L. Estrada said there’s a need 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 in boosting capacity and cutting 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 those who are better off with fiber broadband.”

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

“Among these growth drivers, what stands out to me is the inspiring synergy between the government and the private sector, which is a major driving force for the country in spurring investment, innovation and job creation,” he said.

“The private sector employs over 60% of the labor force and contributes a large chunk to Philippine GDP,” Mr. Belmonte said. “With critical industries like energy, telecommunications and infrastructure having given a huge potential to the private sector, the possibilities for the country are truly marvelous.”

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