Philippines: A View From Outside

Posted by Analyse at 5:57 PM

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I have been bloghopping this weekend and I was caught by SexyMom's entry on Understanding the Bureaucracy - Is There A Way Out and RaqGold's A Call to Unite for RP. Like them, I care a lot for my country too. I want my country to be able to offer and provide opportunities to the Filipinos and to project a good image to the rest of the world.

Working in a central department where major decisions are taken gives me a good view of how potential investors consider the Philippines. Aside from the technical blahblahs, I sometimes work on some economic analysis which provides me better understanding on how such and such products go to such or such country - read: job creation on that chosen country.

Did you know that :

- Electricity is very expensive in the Philippines compared to most of our neighboring countries? Well, we're basically using coal-fired power plants and coals are being bought outside.

- Road infrastructures / Air connections has to be improved if we want to explore other provinces not only for industrial purposes but for tourism as well? There are a lot of islands to be visited in the Philippines but it takes a lot of time, especially for foreigners to organize everything. Travel packages is probably one thing that we have to promote more and more.

- Salary rate starts to be less attractive in the Philippines and Labor Unions scare away these investors too. Other emerging countries like Vietnam are already taking active participation in this new game called globalization. We have to wake up and think on how we could invite more investors and provide jobs to our fellow Filipinos - and better yet, support local entrepreneurs to promote our own products.

- Other countries, Thailand in particular have these big billboards promoting an opening of an industrial park which would certainly catch attention of investors arriving in the country. And comes with it are massive constructions of roads and other facilities to accompany this development.

- It is generally more complicated to establish a business in the Philippines compared to our neighboring countries (at least to the countries where our plants are situated). Admistrative stuffs, taxes, etc... add government stability, corruption.. and we're almost at the bottom of the list.

- Countries like China and India are the investor's haven nowadays. They offer cheap labor and most importantly, they also present as potential markets. With the economic boom they are enjoying right now, buying power is getting stronger by the second. Philippines is 'competitive' in terms of population but buying power is somewhat restricted to a limited percentage of the population.

Me thinks that the government should think about the Philippines for once and find solutions on how we could improve our economy. We could blog all we want but if the government does nothing, nothing will happen. Hey, we couldn't just stay as a Third World country for the rest of humanity. Naman, aren't we tired of being poor? Don't we want to alleviate our situation? Don't we have any politicians out there who have real concern about the Philippines? I mean, somebody who thinks about the Philippines before his own pocket?


KK said...

Hi Analyse,

Thanks for visiting my virtual bahay-kubo earlier. The solution is to spend your dollars in America and not take them home to France. Amazon ships to France ;) .

About scaring away investors, that's BS. I'm sorry but I just found out that my younger sister who is now training in a call center in the Philippines is going to make around Php7,400 per month. From that the company will deduct Php3,000 for training bonds from the first two months salary. And if she lasts for 6 months they will give it back plus Php6,0000 'bonus'. Of course they will deduct SSS, medicare, pag-ibig, taxes, insurance, etc. How much is left? Is that enough to live on? My sister lives at home and doesn't have to by food for herself nor rent, but could you just imagine for someone who had to pay for everything. It's below poverty! All these companies who outsource, they don't pass on their savings to consumers, that just take it as profit. How do I feel as a consumer? They sent the jobs to the third world countries but they don't pay the people enough to live on. It's greed! Plain and simple. I am going to cancel my credit card from that company where my sister works just because I found out what is happening. I don't want to contribute to their coffers and let people suffer thinking that they have a job but they are just being tied to near slavery.

Analyse said...

Hi KK, I don't think that it's the fault of investors (well, of course, there are greedy investors). As long as they function legally according to local laws, no problem. It's our government who have to protect its citizens from slavery by implementing laws and regulations for that purpose. The minimum wage for example is not something exiged by investors, it's something approved by the government. Of course there's some negociations around that, but it should be the government who have the final say, taking into account current economic situation, buying power, etc. I think the problem is (take note, it's only my opinion), prices for at least the basic commodities (food, shelter..) are not even controlled in the Philippines. So whatever is left from our salary after tax deductions (which we don't really benefit from) is not enough even to survive. We have no protection. And almost everything is bound to make the life of Juan de la Cruz even more complicated.

Take for example rice which is being bought from our neighboring countries because local products are more expensive. Did we try to understand why? In fact, as I see it, businessmen take a certain profit which they fix among themselves. No limit. And I assure you, farmers are not getting rich from farming. ... By buying from outside, we are indirectly killing local farmers. Why? Because logically, businessmen would not give up their profits but rather put more pressure on these poor farmers..

Let's compare our country to Thailand which is a poor country too. Oil/petrole dependent, lower minimum salary than the Phils, non-English speakers, name it. But would you believe that even operators (with min wage) could afford a car, a house and live a good life? I worked 3 years in the Phils as an Engr, and I was correctly paid, but all I was able to afford were basic home appliances! Why the difference? Basic commodities in Thailand are a lot cheaper than in the Phils. Buy a house there and you will only be charged by 1% interest rate (or close to that - that was what I read in the internal mag in our thai office - don't know if company helps). Same is true if you buy a car. I have a thai colleague who pays a house and a car at the same time!

My Pinoy colleagues think that Thais are better paid than Pinoys (in our company). I thought the same. But now that I have access to these infos, I know that there's something wrong with our system.

I think the real problem is, it's not because our salary is very low, it's because basic commodities are exorbitantly priced.

I don't see delocalization as greed. All business need profits. Globalization opened a lot of possibilities and competition became harsh. Some companies need to survive too and working with countries like the Philippines is a good option.

Hehe, haba. Peace KK.

ScroochChronicles said...

That is precisely why I think that a good businessman...a technocrat even should be president. Or at least on the advisory board of the chief. Hindi ba ganun ang ginawa ni Mackoy? Di ba he had a group of businessment/technocrats who would advise him regarding economic matters. Di naman niya kasi forte ang business so he got good people to think for him. To be fair to the guy, our economy was booming during his tenure. Our currency was pretty strong. And to be fair also to the first lady, at least may nakikita tayong beautification coming from the taxes that were paid. Eh ngayon, wala!! Puro sa bulsa na lang ng mga politiko. If you really look at figures it's turning out that he wasn't so bad for the country after all. Think about it, what has his successors done for the country to alleviate poverty and hardship? Wala!! Puro lip service lang at pag-papapogi!! Eh mas marami na ngang umaalis ng Pinas ngayon kasi ang hirap na ng buhay. I'm not a be frank, wala akong gusto sa mga naging presidente. Lahat palpak. Walang nagawa para bumuti ang buhay ng mga Pinoy. Enough said.

Ahem...tama na..para naman akong nangangampanya :)

ann santos said...

i don't think there's a politician here who thinks of the country first before his/her own vested interests. the people running the government have always been the same people since who knows when. if they got old or die, their sons/daughters or other relatives assume the post. it's very disheartening. i hate watching the news because of these politicians. all you hear from the news are their political bickerings that seem to go on forever. imagine, the glorietta explosion and some politicians claim it's the government who did that. as long as these politicians don't do their jobs well and for once try to focus on our country, i don't think we would be seeing a much brighter future. it's so disheartening to learn that we're being left behind, but those with power to change that are simply too full of themselves.

Analyse said...

Cookie, too bad that power had gotten into him at the later part of his presidency.. but yes, we were not that bad at that time, i could still remember my first dollar given by a cousin which actually costed 20 pesoses which represented quite a lot in terms of value..

well, i was hoping for a better future with gloria, she's an economist, right?.. but well, she's like the others i guess.. trapo!

Ann, really too sad. i'm quite tired of reading the news too.. it's my colleagues who keep me updated sometimes..

Rhada said...

Ang masasabi ko lang ay....HELLO Ana!! :-)

Masarap na huntahan nga lamang, ngawit na ang aking mga daliri..

Ang baba ng dollar ngayon,grabe. hehe wala sa topic. Regards!

Francine said...

ana, i have an award for you.i really think that you deserve to have it

julie said...

What an interesting post Ana.We somehow are at a disadvantage here when people move away in search of greener pastures. Yes, there may be dollar remittances, bigger budgets for households whose sole income come from overseas but then, who would teach the children? Who would help patients in the hospitals? Who would be able to build strong infrastructure? Who would man the service-oriented companies? Pati nga embalmer, nire-recruit na eh. Seriously. Wala na, puro newly grad because good professionals have been hired abroad. So sad. As one person said, its not brain drain,its brain hemorrhage.

Have a great week and hope to see you when you get to visit the country :)

Analyse said...

Rhada, baba nga.. iboycott daw ang pagpapadala during halloween season.. happy halloween!

Francine, hmm, what do you have for me again ;), baka ma-spoiled ako nyan.

Julie, yes, that's a big problem for the phils, and we just cant blame pinoys who search for greener pasture. that's human, we search for means to survive.. unless the philippines offer good and financially satisfying opportunities, pinoys will find their way out.

re: EB. i'm actually considering that for my dec visit.. but it's a personnal travel so that would mean i won't stay in manila :(.. hopefully in my next business travel i dont know when ;).

Francesca said...

ana, grabeh, sa patuloy ko na pag basa, aba eh, para ka nang nangangampanya!

lahat ng sinabi mo, tuldok and korek, day.

Walang pag babago sa ekonomiya ang bansa.

Sa card identity na lang, wala na kontrol, hirap sa crimes, lalo na sa business and finance.

Kungdi pa sa dollars ng mga nasa abroad, baka lalo lang tayong bagsak sa ekonomiya!

Ang masabi ko total:
I cannot complain, kasi, I cant do anything to make our country better, hanggat walang "theocratic" law na iiral.

kk, your sister is exploited. If she can get out fast, she MUST do it NOW.

ann said...

Lahat na lang sa pinas mahal...dito a liter of gasoline is only P5 but a liter of mineral water is P18. Kung pwede nga lang inumin yung gasolina...hehehe.

Duke said...

Hi Ana!

this is a very interesting post. I find it very hard to comment though because to tell you frankly I have lost hope in our Philippine government.

The country's situation has become worst over the years. I have heard and read so many articles made by fellow Pinoys giving out tips and solutions on how to make our country a better place to live in. In the end, nothing changes. It's all in writing- no action taken.

I am a bit cynical about this topic. I know I may not have the right to say all these things since I am not living there at the moment . I just see things from the outside looking in.

dangkin said...

sa kalagayan natin ngayon, kung may 5th world country pa, cguro nandun tayo sa dulo pa rin.. kawawang pinas :(

haze said...

Never lose hope, stay positive ! Let us just continue to believe that Filipinos are capable of working hard in and out of the country. Earning dollars, euros, pounds etc. they are helping Philippines one way or the other.

I think that we should not depend on our government perse. The reason why a lot of Filipino professionals (teachers, engineers, nurses, etc) are going out of the country because they wanted to look for a better life abroad, better salary, better acknowledgment. That is an individual success, Filipinos provide good image to other countries in return they continue to hire more Filipinos...kahit saan man sulok ng mundo !

raqgold said...

hi analyse, i agree with your observations about thailand. i worked there for more than 5 years. mura lahat dun at you can feel that their citizens are privilege citizens. and talking about tourism naman, they advertise all over the world kaya a lot of poeple know thailand kahit na mas maraming maganda sa pinas but the number problem is transportation talaga... anyway, let try to work for a better pinas :D

rowena said...

"Don't we have any politicians out there who have real concern about the Philippines? I mean, somebody who thinks about the Philippines before his own pocket?" Same sentiments here. I also agree with Cookie, we need someone who knows how to do business like Mar Roxas or Manny Villar perhaps? Problem is pag nakaupo na sila, kanya-kanyang gawa na naman ng pagkakitaan, am referring to people/relatives/ business associates (cronies)/ political allies around them. I believe we need another Ramon Magsaysay with the brains of Mr. Marcos and Ninoy Aquino and the integrity of Tanada. Seems impossible???

IT jobs in the Philippines said...

i like your blogpost.Anyway the government is still working for this improvement that many can land for a job.let us support the government for their 2010 i think we have better future as the president has promised.After aroyos presedency i just hope next to her is the good leader .I salute to the president for giving us more job unlike the erap administration.

Outsourcing services said...

These outsourcing job attract to all filipinos.These could help the economy reduction of unemployed .Arroyo road map 2010 is not possible.The country has a a potential to achieve this program.