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On PH investment ranking – “Sick man of Asia” nearing “full recovery”

MANILA, Philippines – The skyline of the nation’s capital glows with bustling urban vibrancy signifying a dynamic economy and sustained development, in this nightscape taken 30 June 2017. A recent poll of 6,000 business decision makers released by a US publication gave the Philippines high scores on its economic outlook, elevating it as “the best country to invest in.” Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

On the heels of a glowing report which crowned the Philippines as the “best country to invest in,” Senator Win Gatchalian on Tuesday asserted that the country’s dubious distinction as the “sick man of Asia” will soon be a thing of the past.

“Over the past few decades, the Philippines came to be known as the ‘sick man of Asia’ due to its disappointing economic performance in comparison to its Asian neighbors. Fortunately, international recognition of the country’s vibrant economic outlook through rankings such as these indicates that the sick man of Asia is nearing full recovery,” he said.

The senator was referring to the Best Countries 2018 report, a comprehensive ranking released by U.S. News & World Report in cooperation with Y&R’s BAV Group and the prestigious Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Under the Best Country to Invest In category, the Philippines earned the top score among 80 countries.

According to the U.S. News website, the ranking was generated from the input of more than 6,000 “business decision makers,” who scored their perceptions of each country regarding eight attributes: “corrupt, dynamic, economically stable, entrepreneurial, favorable tax environment, innovative, skilled labor force and technological expertise.”

Gatchalian, who serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, expressed optimism that the economic policies of the Duterte administration would “keep our economy moving in the right direction” – especially the government’s PHP 9-trillion “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, which the senator highlighted as a “crucial driving force” in strengthening the country’s investment climate.

The senator also mentioned that the committee has already begun deliberations on measures to further boost foreign direct investment in the country. One such bill is Senate Bill No. 1639, principally authored by Gatchalian, which seeks to removal barriers to entry for foreign firms hoping to invest in the domestic retail trade sector.

“We have to make the most out of this opportunity to really kick foreign direct investment into overdrive by implementing the proper legal reforms,” he said.