Koko: Filipino businessmen bullish

Sen. Aquilino 'Koko' Pimentel III

The Philippines ranking highest among Southeast Asian nations in terms of economic outlook in 2019 is a sign that the Duterte Administration “is on the right track” and that the country’s economic managers should continue the programs and reforms that have buoyed the spirits of Filipino businessmen.

Senate Trade and Commerce Committee Chair Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III issued the statement on Thursday in reaction to the latest Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR).

Based on a survey of business executives in the country, the report found that the positive outlook for the Philippine economy was highest in Southeast Asia, with a net 66 percent, followed by Indonesia at net 61 percent and Vietnam and Malaysia with 38 percent.

“When it comes to the economy I believe it makes sense to listen to those in the private sector who are serious about growing successful businesses in the country. If they expect greater revenues this year, it means the government is doing something right,” said Pimentel.

According to the IBR, 70 percent of Filipino business executives surveyed expect their business’ revenue to increase in 2019.

Data from the IBR also showed that in 2019, 52 percent of respondents expect to increase their exports, 62 percent plan to employ more people, and 65 percent hope to increase the wages of their employees.

“These are very positive signs for the economy and bode well for Filipino workers. A dynamic, optimistic private sector that wants to provide more jobs and offer better pay for our workers is the partner for change our government needs to expand economic opportunities for our growing population,” said the senator.

Government, said Pimentel, “must proceed with its efforts to establish the kind of environment that will continue to encourage our businessmen.”

Pimentel said the passage of measures like the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 (EODB Act), enacted last July during his tenure as Senate President, “showed that the government is serious about making it easier for businessmen to open and operate businesses in the country.”

“Pinakita natin na ang administrasyon na ‘to ay kikilos agad para ang ekonomiya natin ay tuloy na uunlad (We showed that this administration will immediately act to ensure that our economy continues to thrive.),” he said.

Pimentel added that the full operationalization of the Anti Red Tape Authority and issuance of the implementing rules and regulations of the EODB Act “will allow the government to work on further improving conditions for the business sector.”

Pimentel is co-chair of the Congressional Oversight Committee tasked to monitor the implementation of the EODB Act.

Section 28 of the law mandates the creation of a Congressional Oversight Committee on Ease of Doing Business (COC-EODB) to be composed of “five members from the Senate.

The COC-EODB shall include the chairpersons of the Senate Committees on Trade and Commerce and Entrepreneurship; Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation; and Economic Affairs. It shall also be composed of five members from the House of Representatives, including the chairpersons of the House Committees on Trade and Industry, Civil Service and Professional Regulation, Government Reorganization, and Economic Affairs.