Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Philippines, Booming?

All news from all sectors are great. Good credit rating and upgrade, building and construction boom, lower employment rates, lower interest rates, reform in government, jailing of corrupt officials, highest ever international reserves, influx of investors, low interest rates among others. These are all from news papers I read online about the Philippines.

Construction boom of hotels and others infrastructures are mostly found in big cities like Manila, Quezon City, Cebu and others - and are not easy to miss as you can see and spot them.  So I decided to go on field. I visited Tacloban City, Philippines. A sleepy lowly City in the Eastern Visayas, Central Philippines, to find out if the "boom" is widespread and includes even lower tiers cities far from the capital Manila. It is the capital of the Philippine province of Leyte, and is the largest city in terms of population in Eastern Visayas. The region hardest hit by Typhoon Yolanda in November 8 last year.

The real change I saw was in the field when I almost reach my destination . Along the way, I saw people falling in line to withdraw money from the CCT. A few new classrooms, new books, a new health center in the barrio, and construction of real nice houses owned by OFWs and those married to foreigners - and an atmosphere of optimism among the people. Based on my interviews and casual talking with the community and some beneficiaries, imo, CCT is a great program worth pursuing as this ensures that kids are going to school, parents are made responsible, it takes care health issues, malnutrition, child labor, illiteracy and many other social ills etc. etc. - a post, or even a 500 page report would not suffice to describe the social benefits this program will hopefully provide - only an impact evaluation and thorough study after a few years of implementation we would find out "if the investment was worthwhile" - but for now, it is looking not just good, but great! I know this is a very costly social engineering program by the government - a real one that is reaching the grassroots and changing the lives and economies of communities.


Optimism in farming communities is not enough. The methods of farming, the technology employed that would increase farm production WAS ABSENT, if there was an improvement, I did not saw it. My guess was that production levels and technology used by farmers was the same as 20 years ago!!!!

So, my advise to the President - if he has to make a huge investment next year - he should invest more on agriculture and farming technologies, equipment's, tractors, irrigation, a law prohibiting idle lands, animal and food production etc.etc. etc. because by increasing the productivity of the "base, the ground, the farmers and communities, the majority of the people"  he can fast tack the progress of the Philippines -  and most people would feel it through cheaper prices of food. He should tell all the 'agricultural schools and universities" in the country to go out to the farm communities and transfer modern farm technologies. Period.

I hope I am making sense.


If you are an investor, here is an interesting advice and  news for you, from

Investors should start betting on the Philippines because values of peso-denominated assets are expected to jump once the country’s widely expected credit rating upgrade to investment grade materializes. This was according to Omar Cruz, president and CEO of bancassurance firm BPI-Philam, who said that now is the most appropriate time to invest in peso-denominated assets because the country’s leap to investment status may be imminent. “It’s just a matter of time when the next notch of increase in the country’s credit rating will happen and bring us to investment grade. If you are not in the market early enough, and you come in when [the upgrade investment grade] has already happened, you will have lost a lot of [income] opportunity,” Cruz said.

Photo above is courtesy of