Facing Reality - Challenges and Opportunities for the Philippines and the Filipino People

Hope for a better future is in the minds of many people including Filipinos. It is especially high, I believe, at the moment because of several positive developments in the economic front. These are good achievements no doubt and we are happy to have them. But there are also sobering news that can leave some of us uneasy about our country's prospects. Being blind to either one side won't give us the real picture of what's really happening.

Precious Good News

Recently, Standard and Poor’s increased the credit rating of the Philippines to investment grade. It is the second such rating increase we got with the first one coming from Fitch. It is hoped that this will result to more investors looking at our shores for opportunities. We want them to build their businesses in our country so that more jobs will be created for Filipinos at home.

The Philippine stock market has also been surging to unprecedented peaks for the last couple of months. It has, in fact, set record highs one after another. This, experts say, show us that more people really think positively of the country’s prospect.

Last but certainly not the least, the economy has been growing. The rate of its growth has been seen by most as a sure sign that we are doing things right. More stuff is being created and more services are being rendered. The value of all this seems to indicate a growth that’s promising to the entire country as a whole.

What Needs Improvement

There are, however, some signs that all is not well despite what has been achieved thus far. For one thing poverty rate has not gone down significantly. It still hovers around 28%. Far too many of our fellow Filipino families are still living in dire conditions. Having said that the economy is growing, you’ll have to wonder where all the wealth is going. Apparently, not to the poor or disadvantaged.

As far as I can remember, we Filipinos have dreamed of a better life by working or living someplace else. Somewhere where we can find jobs. And that has not changed over the years. We still suffer from lack of decent paying jobs. That’s why many try to find a living working overseas.

Slowly Making Progress

Despite all these challenges, I do think that there are some government actions worth mentioning. There are the public-private partnerships (PPP) that are geared towards infrastructure investments. Those things are absolutely necessary and would have to come faster.

The focus to clean-up the government is a noble effort. Although few believe that corruption and inefficiencies will be totally eliminated, we believe something is being done and those efforts need our support. We dream of a day when our government is not on top of the list of the most corrupt countries in the world.

I was also glad to know there are some efforts being done to improve our competitiveness. It basically aims to lessen red tape and make the government more efficient. As a former sole-proprietor myself, I can attest to the difficulties of starting a business with all the government bureaucracy that I had to deal with. That is not encouraging for people who want to invest or build a business. So I was relieved to hear something is actually now being done to address that problem.

No Easy Road Ahead

Still there are more challenges to face and many more actions that need to be taken if we are going to prevail. Some of those have already been started but others need more push. But the real question for us would be how we, as ordinary citizens, can do something to contribute? We do not make economic policy nor do we have leadership positions. But I still think our collective voice is powerful if we will make good use of it.

Specifically, I know we can’t remain apathetic. We need to be actively engaged. We need to care and know the issues as much as we can. We need to get educated so that politicians or the media will not steer us to the wrong conclusion. With the help of the internet, that is now relatively less difficult to do.

Some might say this post does not really fit here, but I think it does. If you think about it, we all want our financial situation to be better than it was. That’s actually the purpose why this blog exist. I want to share information and encourage people to make good decisions about their finances. Just imagine if the country itself will prosper and the people will reap the benefits. That situation will change our situation entirely for the better. Not just for a few of us but for most of us. And I would then have to write about something else.

Photo Credit: kamsky (Creative Commons)