* This is an edited press release
The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) of the Philippines pushes for "A Bolder and More Inclusive Decade" in its 5th Arangkada Philippines forum, which will happen on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at the Marriott Grand Ballroom, Pasay City.
The forum’s theme highlights the JFC’s focus on identifying the needed reforms so that the Philippines can achieve sustained economic and inclusive growth over the next decade.
Arangkada Philippines, which was launched in 2010, is the major advocacy of the JFC to increase investment and employment in the Philippines by September 2016. It is backed by a $1 million grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and is facilitated by the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc.
Improving, but challenges remain
Since Arangkada Philippines launched five years ago, the JFC has seen great strides in terms of the Philippines' economic growth, in part due to its growing BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), manufacturing, and tourism sectors, and its improving credit ratings.
However, the JFC points out that many challenges still remain, which the next administration should address. One of the leading challenges is strengthening both the agriculture and mining sectors, which the JFC sees would be instrumental to inclusive growth in the country.
Infrastructure also remains a challenge, especially in public works and telecommunications. The JFC attributes traffic and urban congestion to the lack of available infrastructure that can meet the growing needs of the public. The poor quality of broadband services in the country also needs to be addressed as part of the next administration's infrastructure program.
Pushing for bold reforms
Arangkada Philippines’ program will feature different panels which will discuss and develop policy reforms to achieve six major developments for the next decade. First of which is to increase total investment in the Philippines to above that of the ASEAN-6 average (the ASEAN-6 being Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines, considered the older and more economically-advanced members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations).
Possible policy reforms to reduce unemployment and underemployment levels in the country to below that of the ASEAN-6 average; reduce poverty; modernize infrastructure; raise the country's competitiveness ratings even further; and minimize bureaucracy and promote good governance will also be discussed in the panels.
These developments are all hinged within the framework of what the JFC calls the "7 Big Winner Sectors," namely Agribusiness; Information Technology-Business Process Management; Creative Industries; Infrastructure; Manufacturing and Logistics; Mining; and Tourism, Medical Travel, and Retirement.
Over 45 speakers, panelists, and moderators will share their boldest ideas for policy reforms during the 5th Arangkada Philippines. Headlining the event is Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who will speak about a faster and fairer justice system in the Philippines.
Other confirmed speakers and panelists are Senator Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV; Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales; former Finance Secretary Roberto de Ocampo; and renowned economists Benjamin Diokno, Gerry Sicat, and Cielito Habito.
The JFC has also invited the presidential candidates of this year's national elections to share their platforms and other bold reforms which can accelerate economic growth in the next decade.
Recommendations made during the forum will be collated in a report that will be shared with the candidates for national office and other key stakeholders, in the hopes of implementation during the next administration.
Interested parties can still register until March 1, 2016. To register to this event, visit arangkada.teamasiaevents.com.