JFC Holds Fifth Arangkada Philippines Forum for More Inclusive Growth Through Bolder Reforms in the Next Decade


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On March 1, 2016, the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) of the Philippines will host its Fifth Anniversary Forum with the theme “A Bolder and More Inclusive Decade” at the Marriott Grand Ballroom.

Continuing the previous forum themes of Move Twice as Fast (2012), Realize the Potential (2013), More Reforms=More Jobs! (2014), and Invest NOW for Inclusive Growth! (2015), the JFC has selected the theme A Bolder and More Inclusive Decade for 2016 to highlight the importance of focusing on the future Philippine economy and identifying bold reforms that can over the next decade achieve high, sustained, and inclusive growth.

Over 45 speakers, panelists, and moderator will share their boldest ideas, discussed within the framework of 7 Big Winner Sectors (Agribusiness, IT-Business Process Management, Creative Industries, Infrastructure, Manufacturing and Logistics, Mining, and Tourism, Medical Travel, and Retirement).

The program features six dynamic panels which will develop bold reforms to: (1) increase total investment to above the ASEAN-6 average, (2) reduce unemployment and underemployment to the ASEAN-6 average, (3) sharply reduce poverty, (4) modernize infrastructure, (5) raising Philippine competitiveness to even higher ratings, and (6) minimizing bureaucracy and maximize good governance.

Supreme Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will speak about faster and fairer justice and outgoing Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan about the new “Filipino 2040” plan. Other confirmed speakers and panelists include Senator Bam Aquino, Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, BDO Capital President Ed Francisco, former Finance Secretary Roberto de Ocampo, former Education Secretary Jesus Estanislao, COA Chairperson Aguinaldo, PPP Center Executive Director Cosette Canilao, prominent economists Benjamin Diokno, Gerry Sicat, and Cielito Habito, and many other business and government leaders. The JFC have also invited President Aquino and 2016 presidential candidates to also share their ideas for bold reforms to accelerate economic growth and make it more inclusive in the next decade.

The fifth annual Arangkada assessment will be released. Reflecting inputs from almost 20 experts, the assessment updates the extent of implementation of recommendations made by investors in Arangkada Philippines: A Business Perspective report published in December 2010. Since the First Anniversary Assessment in 2011, the JFC has seen active (started, substantially progressing, and completed) recommendations increase from 51.44% to 74.22% in 2014. The Arangkada 2010 document can be accessed through mailto:http://www.investphilippines.info/arangkada/report/

As a preview to the forum and release of the assessment, the JFC would like to highlight the substantial increase in FDI in the Philippines, the business and economic reforms of the 15th and 16th congresses, and increased levels of infrastructure spending, all of which were recommended in the original Arangkada paper.

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Since the launch of Arangkada five years ago, the JFC has seen great progress in the Philippines in higher economic growth, growing BPO, manufacturing, tourism sectors; higher credit ratings, improved international recognition, growing middle class, and other significant areas.

However, the JFC joins the many commentators discussing the recent progress in the Philippines in pointing out that many challenges remain, which the next administration will be responsible in addressing. Among the leading challenges is the weakness of the agribusiness and mining sectors and congestion where demand for infrastructure exceeds available supply (e.g. NAIA, Manila traffic). Another critical infrastructure area is telecommunications, where the poor quality of broadband service disadvantages the consuming public.

With these achievements and shortcomings, the JFC hopes the succeeding administration will address these constraints.

Recommendations from panel discussions and speeches at the forum will be collated in a report to be shared with presidential and other candidates for national office and for other key stakeholders. We are optimistic that the implementation of most of the expected recommendations will lead to higher levels of economic growth, FDI exceeding 10 billion annually, substantial increase in new jobs, reduced poverty and more inclusive growth.

About Arangkada Philippines Project

Arangkada Philippines is the major advocacy—launched in 2010—of the JFC to increase investment and employment in the Philippines until September 2016. These goals are contained in its main policy document Arangkada Philippines 2010: A Business Perspective. Arangkada is funded by a US$ 1-million grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and is administered by the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc.

About the Joint Foreign Chamber

The JFC is a coalition of the American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese, Korean chambers and the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Headquarters, Inc. We represent over 3,000 member companies engaged in over $230 billion worth of trade and some $30 billion worth of investments in the Philippines. The JFC support and promote open international trade and increased foreign investment, especially in infrastructure, and improved conditions for business to benefit both the Philippines and the countries our members represent.

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