Philippines up 7 notches in global competitiveness index
Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - September 3, 2014 - 12:22pm

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines moved seven notches higher in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index 2014-2015.

In the report released on Wednesday, the Philippines ranked 52nd out of 144 economies this year, up from its 59th spot among 148 countries in 2013.

The WEF report noted that the country's gain of 33 places since 2010 is the largest over the period among all countries studied.

"The results suggest that the reforms of the past four years have bolstered the country's economic fundamentals," said the report, which measured measure productivity and competitiveness based on over 100 factors grouped into 12 pillars.

For the Philippines, the report showed that the trends across most of the 12 pillars are positive and in some cases "truly remarkable."

Good governance, technological adoption

In the institutions pillar, the key marker of governance, the Philippines is now ranked 67th, leapfrogging by 50 places since 2010. Despite the pork barrel scam and the Disbursement Acceleration Program controversy, the WEF said the efforts made against corruption are now starting to bear fruit.

"The recent success of the government in tackling some of the most pressing structural issues provides evidence that bold reforms can yield positive results relatively quickly," the report said.

In terms of ethics and corruption, the country moved from 135th in 2010 to 81st this year. It also improved in government efficiency (69th) and the protection of property rights (63rd).

The Philippines also made significant strides in terms of technological adoption, rising eight notches to 69th, place.

"The country is one of the best digitally connected developing Asian nations, close behind Malaysia (60th) and Thailand (65th)," the WEF reported.

Poor infrastructure, labor market, security

The Philippines, however, still lags in infrastructure, which remains "poor" at 91st place. The country is ranked 108th in airport infrastructure and 101st in seaport infrastructure.

The situation is just as worrisome in the labor market, the WEF report said, as the country suffers from "rigidities and inefficiencies."

"The Philippines ranks a mediocre 91st in this dimension and almost no progress has been made since 2010," the report said.

Security also remains an issue (89th), in particular in terms of costs that the threat of terrorism imposes on businesses (110th).

Southeast Asia

Despite its gains in some pillars, the Philippines continued to fall behind its more developed neighbors in Southeast Asia.

Singapore (2nd) was the most competitive in the region, followed by Malaysia (20th), Thailand (31st) and Indonesia (34th). Behind the Philippines were Vietnam (68th), Laos (93rd), Cambodia (95th), and Myanmar (134th).

For the sixth straight year, Switzerland remained the most competitive in the world, followed by Singapore, the United States, Finland, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Sweden.

The countries at the bottom of the list included Angola, Mauritania, Yemen, Chad and Guinea.

Palace: Philippines more open for business

Malacañang said the Philippines' higher competitive ranking proves that it is "indeed more open for business than ever before."

"[I]n our region, for example, the Philippines is considered one of the brightest spots, and is the second fastest growing economy among major Asian countries for the second quarter, tied with Malaysia," Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.

"This has been made possible by the Filipino people who, imbued with a positive, can-do attitude, are going from strength to strength in terms of governance and the economy," he added.

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