January 7, 2017

Philippines in Year 2017: Improving Infrastructure & Technology

Makati Skyline By j_0_n [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Development in the infrastructure and technology are two ways of connecting people; and connecting people creates development opportunities.  For this year 2017, this will be two of the main keys to open the doors of Philippines development (and other developing countries).

It is very clear that Philippines is a developing country - which means that there are lots of economic challenges that need solution. Developing infrastructure specifically in the transportation, energy, and telecommunication sector are essential to fast track economic development. Infrastructure development in transportation, for example, will result to higher mobility (more movement) in goods, services, and people. Moreover, improving energy infrastructure (such as renewable energy plants) can lower the cost of energy and would be crucial for addressing long term economic development.  Lower energy cost could result lower price of goods, which could increase the purchasing power of the people, and in turn could encourage investment in the country.

On the other hand, improvement in the telecom infrastructure will speed-up internet, which means faster activity or productivity in the internet. Previous years have seen how internet have shape the lives of millions (more than 10 million) of Filipinos. Filipinos socialize shop, communicate, book rides & flights, work & create, and study using the internet. Thus, it would be an added value if communication infrastructure will be improved.

On the other side of the fence, these developments have cost and involve money investment. While the stakes are high, it should be put in mind that the cost of these projects should not be shouldered by the public. It is assumed that there are government funds which could be used to finance these projects. Furthermore, putting the burden to the public will result to lower purchasing power in general, since majority of the population comprise low income earner. Thus, the inclusive utilization (usage) of planned infrastructure can be encouraged by lowering the cost of usage which could help enhance the purchasing power of the public. As others ask, what is the purpose of development if only few can use and benefit from it?

Security & Mobility

Last year show case the effectiveness of the campaign of Philippine National Police (PNP) against war against drugs. This is a sign that Philippines security is improving, even thou there are still lot of things to be done.

Security is very important for a mobile society; people need to feel safe while walking or roaming around the street; while socializing and doing business in the corner; tourist will not tour the islands of the Philippines if it is not safe, thus, will affect the income of tourism industry.  Last year was a good year for the PNP, hope this will continue and further improve in 2017.

Tourism & Environment

Philippines tourism is a game changer for the country. Tourism can create jobs and small businesses that can benefit marginalize member of the society.  For year 2017, it is seen that tourism industry will continue to generate more income for the country; yet, the benefit of this low hanging fruit depends on the tourism promotion in the international arena.

The competitive advantage of visiting and living in the Philippines is that people can do more and visit different provinces and see different places at a lower cost compared to developed countries; plus, the unmatchable Filipino hospitality.

Relatively, improving the environment (e.g. thru pollution control especially in the mega cities) would be an added factor in enhancing tourism; as the slogan says "you plant a tree you save the economy".

There is a big optimism for year 2017 as people continue to increase spending (as of Dec 2016, inflation is 2.60%), this is a sign of growing economy but has its own consequence. For example, traffic jams have increased due to increased in purchase of private vehicles. To support Philippines economic growth, right infrastructure must be put in place and proper policies must be implemented.

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