By: Ang Paglilitis Editorial Team
The government should clean up corruption now otherwise the country would miss a very good opportunity to finally grow with the rest of the booming economies in Southeast Asia, a business columnist said.
“Let’s face it, now we rank no. 75 sa competitiveness ratings worldwide in the world Economic Forum. And one of the things that is really dragging us down is corruption. Kaya ito talaga yung intinidihin ng government,” Andrew Masigan, business columnist, told the Ang Paglilitis Special Forum aired by the People’s Television Network (PTV-4).
Masigan, who writes a column for the Manila Bulletin, said anti-corruption initiatives such as the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona sends a signal to the international community that the government is serious in curbing out corruption.
He said the international community’s perception of the country must be improved to attract the foreign direct investments needed to generate more jobs for Filipinos.
“It’s all about country imaging. The way the world perceives us is directly proportional to how much they would invest in the country,” he said.
According to Masigan, data from the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas would show that the country realized in the first two months of the year investments amounting to $5 billion from abroad. This figure is five times the $1.15 billion foreign direct investments the country received for the whole year of 2011.
“Impeachment is a positive move. Nakikita ng buong mundo that our democracy is working at nakikita ng buong mundo na ang ating pangulo ay talagang intent at determined to stamp out corruption. And that’s a big thing. Like I said earlier, it’s all about perception,” he said.
“What I said earlier, various journals and rating agencies have validated this. We have finally gotten our act together in terms of stamping corruption, but more importantly sa pamamahala ng ating finances. Because of that, our credit ratings are going up. Our economic indicators are improving because of that,” he added.
Masigan said that if the government would succeed in wiping out corruption, the Philippines would sustain economic growth.
He said that the Philippines was identified as part of a Next 11—11 countries identified by Goldman Sachs investment bank and Jim O’Neill as having a high potential to become the world’s largest economies in the 21st century—and that the conditions now are perfect to achieve the level development expected by the investment giant.
The N-11 included Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey, South Korea, and Vietnam.
“This is such an opportune time because everyone is looking at us. Lahat ng conditions tama, If miss this boat, we miss it again for another generation. Once there is a new moral standard, the world will say, ‘wow, the Philippines has gotten its act together.’” he added.