Gov’t to make economic growth more inclusive, responsive
Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - December 5, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The government is determined to make economic growth more inclusive and responsive to the needs of every Filipino, President Aquino told a gathering of stock market players and officials.

Speaking at the 20th anniversary of the Philippine Stock Exchange Inc. Monday night, Aquino said he was expecting the stock market to break the 6,000 index “perhaps in the next 28 days.”

“The entire world has begun to train their spotlight on us. Let us prove to them: we are not yet done, we have more to show, and we will build even greater things on top of the foundations we have already laid down,” the President said.

“It is up to all of us to harness our potential and steer the economy towards inclusive growth that satisfies the pursuit of profit, promotes equal opportunity, and elevates the standard of living of every Filipino,” he said.

In his speeches, Aquino would say the government is very careful about spending because it wants gains felt sooner rather than later – such as in quality of education, provisions of basic needs through conditional cash transfer program, electricity and water to every household.

He said it won’t be long before ordinary Filipinos feel the effects of the record 7.1 percent growth in the third quarter, the robust stock market performance, as well as credit rating upgrades.

“While we certainly have much to be thankful for, I have always believed that every achievement must not only be cause for celebration, but must also motivate us to work even harder. After all, the record highs, increase in equities, and outstanding GDP growth are symbols of the potential we have to create a broader and more dynamic Philippine economy,” Aquino said.

“Perhaps, more than anyone, you understand the need to be forward looking – that everything we do today must be calculated and measured if we are to reap benefits in the future. Investors, after all, are prospective. So, while you know that each all-time high signifies the continued confidence of investors, you also understand that, in order to sustain this confidence, we must bolster it with concrete action,” he said. “There is no better way to do this than to show prospective and active investors alike that the Philippines is open for business under new management: management that is putting an end to backroom deals and suspect transactions, so that business, trade, and investment can flourish in an honest and level playing field,” he said.

“The brightest of futures is ours for the taking. But we must be reminded that every time the bell rings, every time we close another trading day with an all-time high: there are levels still to breach, and that everyone, whether in the government, private sector, or civil society, must do their part to ensure that we sustain the confidence of the world,”  Aquino further said.


Sales pitch

Aquino said he was taking all opportunities to promote the Philippines as an investment destination and that it was good the PSE also undertook measures to protect its integrity.

He cited a recent meeting with the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, during which he asked the Norwegian leader to increase investment in the country.

Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global actively seeks places to invest in.

“Norway has quite a significant investment here already, and because they invested in our blue chip stocks that are performing so well, it was so easy to elicit a smile from them when we were inviting them to expand these investments,” he said.

“In many ways I am the salesman-in-chief of the country; and I must congratulate you on being a part of why it is that much easier to invite investments to our shores. Being bullish on the Philippines is increasingly contagious because our success is based on real fundamentals and not merely snake-oil salesman fantasies,” Aquino said.

The President urged the PSE to continue its reform measures as average daily turnover had climbed to P7.61 billion from P4.95 billion in 2010.

PSEi’s performance has never been better, Aquino noted, with 56 record highs in the past almost two and a half years and coupled with the 7.1 percent GDP growth for the third quarter.

“Growth that surpassed all expectations shows us that the Philippines has come a long way since then,” he said.

Aquino said the government, through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has already put in place a number of reforms – such as setting up an Investor Protection and Surveillance Department specifically to guard against insider trading and other illegal investment schemes.

Just last October, the department – along with partner agencies – ordered Aman Futures Group Philippines Inc. to stop its unregistered securities as well as its public solicitation of investments, which had already victimized so many people who did not heed the warnings, Aquino said.

The President said the SEC was also finalizing a Capital Market Development Blueprint to improve and expand the Philippine capital market, including proposals to strengthen investor education, through an integration of various programs already offered by the SEC, PSE, and other similar entities, and to improve the equity market by promoting online trading, among others.


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