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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        25  March 2011

Good governance is key to Philippine growth

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The Philippines can sustain its strong economic growth if it addresses the corruption and the lack of transparency in legal institutions, which have hampered private investment in the country, according to Moody’s Analytics.

In a report, the research firm owned by Moody’s Corp. said the disaster in Japan will pose a temporary setback for the Philippines.

Japan is the Philippines’ top export market, as well as the source of about a third of official development assistance (ODA) going Manila’s way, and of five percent of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) remittances.

“While the disaster will subdue Japanese demand, once rebuilding starts, Japanese demand will surge. This is similarly the case for Philippine remittances. Remittance flows from Filipinos working in Japan could ease given the widespread business disruption. Nonetheless, when rebuilding begins, employment demand will increase,” Katrina Ell, the author of the report, said. “With Japan’s natural disaster, aid may decline and investments in the Philippines’ infrastructure development may stop as Japan pulls back foreign aid in order to focus on its own situation. This could temporarily push back the Philippines’ economic development goals,” she said.

Despite Japan’s difficulties following this month’s record earthquake and tsunami, the Philippines will draw strength from demand in other Asian emerging markets as well as in the US, according to the analyst.

But “[i]n order to assure strong and sustained growth ahead, the Philippines needs to focus on creating a more favorable business environment to allow private investment to prosper,” she said. Ell said the Aquino administration’s public-private partnership (PPP) program, which is meant to boost private investment in the Philippines, is gaining support in Europe and the Middle East.

“However, the government needs to address the cause of traditionally low private investment in the country in order to sustain higher growth and ensure the PPP initiative has a lasting effect. In order to draw funds into the country, institutions and the legal system must improve accountability and transparency and address the rampant corruption,” she said.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd has made good governance the centerpiece of his administration’s policy, and has endorsed the impeachment of the Ombudsman for her alleged failure to act on official corruption

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