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Philippines fastest growing yet still poor

December 8, 2013

Asean 5, which is composed of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, is expected to be the key growth driver in the greater Asia-Pacific region.

FEATURE

By Arno Maierbrugger

MANILA: The Philippines, although now the fastest-growing member of Asean, however remains the poorest among the five major economies in the group. This was disclosed by its National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) recently.

NSCB secretary-general Jose Ramon Albert, citing the 2012 Asean community progress monitoring system report, said after growing by a better-than-expected 6.8% in 2012 and by 7.6% in the first half of 2013, “the Philippine economy is now the fastest growing among the five largest economies in Asean.”

Asean 5, which is composed of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, is expected to be the key growth driver not only in Southeast Asia but also in the greater Asia-Pacific region.

Albert said while the country outpaced the economic growth of its peers last year and in the first half of 2013, “the Philippines still has the lowest per capita GDP [in purchase power parity terms] of US$4,339 (RM13,027). ”

Meanwhile, it turned out that the Philippines remains one of the poorest in terms of overall infrastructure quality within its peers in Asean.

The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2013 said the Philippines ranked fourth out of five countries.

Philippines scored 98, just above Vietnam’s 119, which ranked more poorly.

The Philippines ranked the worst in quality of sea port and air transport infrastructures with scores of 120 and 112, respectively.

Malaysia led the group with a score of 29 in overall infrastructure quality, followed by Thailand and Indonesia with scores of 49 and 92, respectively.

Eight ports as gateway

Meanwhile on a related matter, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and the Department of Tourism announced that it had identified eight ports as tourism gateways that could become international hubs for cruise liners.

InterAksyon quoting PPA reported that the ports were in Davao, Bohol, Boracay, Cebu, Metro Manila, Puerto Princesa, Subic, and Zamboanga.

The authority said developing cruise ports is vital considering now that the Philippines has become one of the major cruise destinations in Asia.

Last month, Star Cruises-owned Super Star Gemini had its inaugural launch at Pier 15 Super Terminal in South Harbour, Manila.

Star Cruises operates from Xiamen, China, while South Harbour is operated by Asian Terminals Inc.

Several cruise calls have been recorded since March 2010 that included a German cruise ship docking at the Port of Iloilo, Portugal’s MV Princess Danae at the Port of Davao, and Royal Carribean’s Legend of the Seas at the Port of Puerto Princesa as part of the cruise ship’s seven-night “Borneo Explorer Cruise.”

“The Philippines welcomes this growing interest in cruise tourism in various strategic locations in the country,” PPA general manager Juan C. Sta. Ana said .

Given this, PPA has lined up various port development programmes for cruise terminals, he added.

“These include the ports of Puerto Princesa, Currimao in Ilocos Norte and Catagbacan in Bohol.”

This report first appeared in http://www.investvine.com


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