The Philippines, five years hence, forecast at SERDEF forum

Melito S. Salazar, Jr., SERDEF Trustee and Vice President for Marketing of Manila Bulletin, drew a scenario of what is ahead for the country five years from now at a Knowledge Sharing Exercise held last November 12 at the UP Institute for Small-Scale Industries (UP ISSI).

He predicted that good results are forthcoming in the next five years as the Philippine development plan is pushed, foreign and domestic investors keep pumping money into new business ventures and as the public-private sector partnership program finally takes off.   He attributes these positive developments to the new confidence in the government seen to be more pro-active and serious in shedding off the old culture of corruption.

He quoted SGV & Company and Asian Institute of Management founder Washington Sycip as saying:  “Come, invest in the Philippines. We now have an honest president.”

Other factors that would catapult the country to new economic levels include:  the expected improvement of the global economy (with US President Obama’s re-election), the anticipated amendments to the economic provisions of the Constitution after the local elections, and the upsurge of infrastructure projects, telecom, health and educational services.

The growth sectors Salazar identified were:  business process outsourcing, mining, agriculture, real estate, and tourism.

Salazar used to be a member of the Monetary Board and director of the UP Institute for Small-Scale Industries (UP ISSI).

Other speakers during the forum were SERDEF president Paterno V. Viloria and SERDEF executive director and UP ISSI director Nestor Raneses.

Viloria talked about the Building An Enterprising Society Today (BEST) project of SERDEF, an entrepreneurship education program for children at grade-school level which seeks to develop materials and tools for integrating entrepreneurship concepts and values into the K to 6 curriculum and pilot-run these in two schools in Metro Manila.

The premise of the project is that entrepreneurship is best learned in the early formative years, when young minds are at their most malleable and impressionable.

Raneses, on the other hand, oriented the audience on the Community of Practice and Knowledge Sharing concept, as applied to small business innovation.  The concept refers to groups of people sharing a common concern or passion and interacting regularly in order to promote their concerns.

“We, as a nation, should be motivated by a common purpose to do things better,” he said.  He suggested focusing on technical innovations that would raise the productivity and profitability of micro small and medium enterprises.

He referred to the experience of Korea, a war-ravaged nation, which after 44 years became the No. 14 most developed economy in the world.   Today, 75 per cent of small enterprises in Korea are advanced as a result of incubation programs and other support measures and the collaboration of sectors focusing on doing things better.

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