MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino on Wednesday said the Philippine economy is on the "right path," amid grim warnings of an global economic slowdown from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Aquino said IMF managing director Christine Lagarde gave "very dire predictions or prognosis about the world’s economy" during a meeting with world leaders at the APEC Summit in Vladivostok last weekend.
"Madam Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, made references to external pressures and factors that can impede, and have already impeded, the progress of some global economies—but at the same time, these factors can also open up new prospects for others," he said, in a speech at the IBM Think Forum in Makati City.
The President believes the Philippines can take advantage of opportunities in these challenging times. "For example, with instances of capital outflow from more developed, but troubled economies, emerging markets like the Philippines are given the opportunity to make the most of their competitive advantages and become prime locations for investment. We all need to take advantage of opportunities like this."
Aquino noted the Philippine economy's strong performance in the second quarter, growing by 5.9%, on track to achieve the full-year GDP target of 5-6%. He also cited the 44 record-highs of the Philippine Stock Exchange, as well as the fact that the Philippines is just one level below investment grade according to 2 credit ratings agencies.
"The Philippines is truly on the right path. Everyone — from our countrymen and tourists, to leaders of industry both in the country and beyond its shores, to organizations and other governments — shares our optimism. And this has allowed us to succeed: to regain our confidence and make the most of even more opportunities to achieve inclusive growth for all Filipinos," he said.
The President also mentioned the Philippines' significant improvement in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2012-2013. The Philippines jumped 10 spots to rank 65th out of 144 economies, compared to 85th spot in 2010.
"That is, in total—for those less challenged in math—a 20-place jump in rankings since we took office; and allow me to emphasize that this is the first time we have broken into the top 50 percent of countries, I’m told, since 1994, the year the Philippines was first included in the report," he said.
Aquino ended his speech by saying that it is not just the government that acted on these opportunites but an "empowered citizenry." - With report from Nina Corpuz, ABS-CBN News