Good news for the Philippines: the country has been named as the current best performing economy in Southeast Asia, according to the Oxford Business Group.
This was announced during the launch of the group's latest investment outlook for the country. Oxford Managing Editor Paulis Kuncinas revealed that investors no longer asked them why, but where to invest in the Philippines.
In less than ten years, foreign direct investments (FDIs) have tripled. Francisco Sebastian, the Vice Chairman of Metrobank, says that
According to the Business Group, investors are attracted by the young English-speaking labor force, a solid private consumption, and the stable government committed to fighting corruption.
In order to attract even more investments, business leaders urge the government to work on relaxation of foreign ownership restrictions, and to commit to infrastructure investments, because the congestion caused by current infrastructures is a drain on the economy.
They also encouraged the government to work for peace in Mindanao. The instability within the region has been a significant and constant obstacle to spreading development to some of the poorest places within the country - the places that need it the most.
Investors believe that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has a solid shot at solving the problem. ICCP group chairman Guillermo Luchangco believes that Duterte can easily relate to the issue because of his roots in the far south.
It is still extremely early, but investors are optimistic about his term. The Davaoeno has stayed true to his description of himself as a "man of action", and has already formed economic teams in preparation for his presidency.
The goals outlined by the Business Group fall neatly into Duterte's outline of economic policies. However, despite the reform momentum, businessmen urge the government to exercise caution, noting that a lot of policies from the Aquino administration brought the Philippines to where it is now, and such policies shouldn't be scrapped simply for the sake of change.