By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
The business community yesterday painted a brighter domestic economy that will sustain a 7.0 percent growth over the next decade.
Ms. Alegria Bing Limjoco, newly-elected chairperson of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said at the Pandesal Forum in Kamuning that a higher GDP growth this year would be made possible with the on-time release of the ₱4.1 trillion 2020 national budget.
“The ₱4.1 trillion national budget will be signed on Monday and plus the ₱400 billion left from the 2019 budget. That means more blessings in 2020,” said Limjoco, the first lady president elected as PCCI chairperson.
Limjoco explained that with the early passage of the national Budget, there will be no more delays in the implementation of government projects. It could be recalled that the enactment of the 2019 budget was delayed due squabbles in both the Senate and Lower House on the issue of pork barrel insertions.
Government expenditure accounts for the biggest boost in the local economy.
Foreign remittances from overseas Filipino workers also contribute big portion that helped fuel domestic consumption.
Limjoco said that if the 2019 GDP will settle at 6.3 percent, growth rate this year could hit close to 7 percent or a more optimistic 7.5 percent.
Aside from the economic boost from the huge budget to be spent for the “Build Build Build” projects, Limjoco cited the booming tourism sector.
“The Philippines is the rising star in Asia and this is a decade of growth in Asia,” said Limjoco noting that otther developed economies like EU are not growing.
“We are growing 7 percent this year and the next decade. We are in the center of growth,” she said.
Last year as president of PCCI, Limjoco said she received more than 50 courtesy calls from various foreign business groups exploring opportunities in the country.
“Sometimes, I received three courtesy calls a day. These groups want to invest here particularly in agriculture,” she said.
Henry Lim Bon Liong, president of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., said the economy is well poised to hit 7-7.5 GDP this year.
Aside from the budgetary boost, he cited the influx of Chinese tourists. Last year, there were more than 2 million Chinese tourists or a fourth of the record-high 8 million tourist arrivals in the country in 2019.
In addition, FFCCCII Vice-President Cecilo K. Pedro cited the continued economic growth.
He, however, pushed for the passage of the CITIRA bill to remove the cloud of doubt in the minds of investors.
Limjoco also echoed for the passage of the bill to ensure investors will choose the Philippines over other Asean countries.