The Philippine is back in business as the smaller contraction of its economy in the third quarter indicated that “the worst seems to be over” for the pandemic-hit nation, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

During a virtual business forum hosted by the Philippine Embassy in Washington, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, said that additional improvements in the economy are expected in the coming months as business activities progressively reopen.

dominguez - Dominguez to US investors: PH is back in business
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The Duterte administration is clearing the way to a strong bounce back in 2021, the government’s chief economic manager assured.

As the government makes headway in strengthening the country’s health system to prevent a surge in COVID-19 infections, Dominguez said “the government intends to continue finding more ways to help revive the domestic economy.”

With the economy back in business, Dominguez said “we see many areas for cooperation between the US and the Philippines” in assorted opportunities for American investments such as in digital technology, agriculture, manufacturing and medical research.

 “Next year, we expect the Philippine economy to post a strong rebound. We hope that the Philippines’ strong fundamentals, fiscal stamina and effective governance will continue to make us a promising investment destination and a growing market for US investors,” he said.

 “While strengthening our health system, we intend to continue finding more ways to revive the domestic economy. We see many areas of cooperation between the US and the Philippines on this front,” he added.

For instance, he said, the government is turning the coronavirus-induced global crisis into “an opportunity to boost the competitiveness of our manufacturing and agriculture sectors.”

“We are pushing the use of digital technologies to transform Philippine agriculture into a dynamic, high-growth sector. With the US being one of the world’s greatest food producers, we see immense potential benefit in having American investments in this area,” Dominguez said.

 “Manufacturing is another key sector that we will revitalize in the post-pandemic era. This is a good time for the US firms that are looking to diversify their supply chains to see the Philippines as a viable source of intermediate products and services,” he added.

The finance chief also noted that while some of the country’s closest neighbors grapple with ageing populations, “the Philippines has a very young workforce.”

“We have invested a lot in preparing our youth for the competitive world that lies ahead. There is a great talent in our market ready to be unleashed. In particular, we have an extensive pool of highly skilled workers to assist in the development of the US manufacturing and innovative industries,” Dominguez said.

 “We also see great potential in partnerships with US companies as we accelerate our move to a digital economy,” he said. “The COVID-19 crisis is also a time for renewed cooperation between our nations in the area of medical research.”

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