Young & migrant workers drive optimism for PH future, says Marcos

John Gabriel Agcaoili, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2022 06:15 AM | Updated as of Sep 20 2022 02:53 PM

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MANILA—Young workers and migrant laborers are key reasons to be optimistic about the Philippines' future, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said, as he wooed American business leaders and investors for investments back home.

During his visit to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Business Forum early Tuesday morning (Manila time), Marcos said the Philippines' labor and economic manpower is the country's "greatest asset".

"It is something we have seen succeed ... first of all, with our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), but also in the development of more sophisticated businesses that have gone to the country," he said during an interview with NYSE vice chair and chief commercial officer John Tuttle.

He said the Philippines has the youngest population in Asia, saying this gives the country an advantage over other nations in the region. 

"They are ready to take up the cudgels, they are ready to work for the country, they are ready to do what needs to be done to bring the country forward," he said.

Marcos said the Philippines' young population is likely to continue the country's notion of the US as an economic ally.

"That sentiment remains and will, I think, be further fostered if we are able to show ... some immediate successes in this (Philippines-US) partnership. That will galvanize our young people in that direction," he said.

Marcos earlier boasted of the Philippines as "Asia's fastest rising star" in Singapore, owing to a steady post-pandemic recovery and a "robust economic expansion."

He had said his administration will be implementing an 8-point socio-economic agenda that focuses on job creation, digital infrastructure expansion, and promotion of research and development in the country.

In July, Philippine inflation hit its highest level since 2018, with supply issues hurting Filipino consumers.

Currently, the country’s economy is relying heavily on the remittance of OFWs and revenues from the Business Processing Outsourcing sector, the Department of Trade and Industry said.

Officials have warned that the trade deficit is likely to widen in the coming months due to the continued infrastructure spending and construction import.

But Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the investments put in place would result in improved competitiveness.