HOUSTON, Texas – Recent Philippine government data show that the Philippine economy grew by 5.7 percent in the first quarter as the effects of Super Typhoon Yolanda continue to linger in the country.
But Philippine government officials maintain that the Philippines is still the third fastest growing economy in Asia in the first quarter, next only to China and Malaysia.
Officials predict that the Philippines’ economic growth by 7.5 percent last year could even expand to up to 15 percent in the next decade.
Members of the Philippines Investment Roadshow have been meeting with Filipino-Americans in key cities all over the US, not only to share the good news on the Philippine economy, but to encourage people to invest there as well.
The meetings are part of “The Philippines: Asia’s New Emerging Tiger” business forum participated in by economists and the private sector.
At a recent meeting with Filipino-American business leaders in Houston, Texas, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia Jr. encouraged the community to spread the good news on the Philippine economy to American companies.
“They knew very little about the Philippines and they were very pleasantly surprised to hear the good story about the Philippines and the potential to do business in the Philippines,” Cuisia said.
“What happened during the Typhoon Haiyan, that’s over,” Loloy Reyes of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Texas added. “What we can do is move on, promote tourism and maintain the peace and order so we can win the trust of the American businesses.”
For some American companies, investing in the Philippines is not only a good opportunity to expand their business. It is also chance to help a country in need.
“Very much we are looking forward to the opportunity of working with the Philippines because this meeting has shown us that the perception out there is very wrong the way that the country is affected by those natural disasters,” John Higgins, president and CEO of Neutex said.
President Benigno Aquino III has big plans for the Philippines. He plans to lure more than $22 billion of investments in highways and ports to improve infrastructure and create jobs, an undertaking that may become even more successful with the help of Filipinos abroad.
By JV Villar, ABS-CBN North America Bureau