Pro Economy, Pro Philippines

A week ago, someone from the government told me that I was courageous in devoting one column to PGMA after her SONA, to talk about her positive work attitude and the good things she has done. After that, two columns were devoted to the former President Cory Aquino. “A Woman of Simplicity” and “Yellow Fever” cited Tita Cory’s and her husband Ninoy’s attributes and achievements. I also discussed the importance of turning this ‘yellow fever’ into action for positive change.

A feedback from a frequent reader of the column stated that he was sick and tired of the critics who always complain and close their eyes to the positive actions that our President has done for our country. He thanked us for the encouragement and the optimism we have been advocating, especially through my column.

When PGMA steps down in 2010, nine years of her leadership ends. Next to Marcos, she would be the second longest serving president. We remember when Erap was impeached. GMA was then vice president, so she automatically assumed the presidency for three years. Then, she ran again and won by a slim margin against FPJ. PGMA, then, had six more years.

During those nine years under the PGMA leadership, the numbers speak for themselves. Take a look at the GDP and the GNP in the last nine years. Our annual GDP growth rate ranged from a low of 2.9% to a high of 7.3% during the years of her term. On top of the GDP, remittances last year amounted to 16 billion US dollars. This year, it is trending to be 17 billion US dollars entering the country. Take a look at the infrastructure development, the number of tourists arriving, the amount of micro lending, and the peso stability in the last nine years. The Philippines even remains as a top BPO destination. Take a look at the top one thousand corporations in the Philippines and how they fairly performed. Take a look at the stability of the top Philippine banks in the last nine years versus the banks in the world.

Keep track of the number of shopping centers, supermarkets, convenient stores, and retail centers sprouting all over the country. SM Prime Holdings even expect to end 2009 with a total of 36 malls nationwide. If there is no consumer spending, why are all these developments emerging? Why are there so many condominiums? Take a look at The Fort. Nine years ago, there was just our One Mckinley building together with Essensa and Pacific Plaza. Today, you could see empty land disappearing. In fact, I spoke to many Go Negosyo entreps and I got so many good responses.

Where are all these coming from? All these positive developments are mainly due to high consumer spending fueled by past years’ economic growth and sustained level of OFW remittances, as well as past investment and infrastructure developments that are beefing up our economy. With all these positive developments, amidst global economic slowdown, any enterprising Filipino can easily find opportunities around us. One simply has to open his eyes.

A number of people are running away from PGMA and avoiding her endorsement, as her ratings are indeed quite low in terms of popularity. I stand by what she has contributed to the economy of this country.

I am pro economy. I believe that a vibrant economy, through negosyo and an enterprising attitude, will help us fight poverty. Yes, we can say that with more negosyos and with more micro SMEs, we can see more trickling down of gains to those in the middle class and the low-income bracket (well, to those who are making an effort).

The death of Tita Cory has brought forth a different level of moral standards in the country. It definitely touched many of us. Tita Cory will truly leave behind her exemplary image of true simplicity and humility while in public service. That is a perfect example for those who serve the country and for the people elected as officials.

It might be a good idea to come up with an award called “Tita Cory Simplicity Award” to be given to public servants who maintain a simple life. Kidding aside, among PGMA’s family members, citizen Luli Arroyo will definitely qualify for this award. I remember when she attended our Women Summit last March, she lined up in the registration area like any other participant in the event. She didn’t have any bodyguard and didn’t demand any special attention. She didn’t even sit in front just stood in the side. She is an amazing simple woman and no one can question her sincerity.

In my previous column, I also suggested for every columnist to write one positive thing that has happened in the country. This is even something small, since it will only cover less than 25% of what they would write in a month.

This is our movement – the Go Negosyo advocacy. Campaigns like “Ako Mismo” of the PLDT-Smart group helps instill what we have been saying all this time: do something positive that will help the country. Be the change that you want to see. The change can start from you. Take control of your own destiny. The NAMFREL slogan also delivers a message: “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” Well, it’s better to take action in whatever small way than to keep complaining and cursing.

I do not consider myself a pro or anti PGMA. My role is to help improve the negosyo climate in our own small way through Go Negosyo. I believe a strong economy can only happen with vibrant negosyos. This is our solution to poverty and nothing else.

* * * * *

We are now preparing for the biggest youth entrepreneurship event this year. On September 11, 2009, we will be having the Go Negosyo “Sigaw ng Kabataan: Youth Entrepreneurship Summit” at the SMX Complex, SM Mall of Asia. We have prepared a lot of surprises and activities for the youth. There will be seminars, workshops and forums on negosyo and other topics concerning the youth; like technology, beauty, arts, music and many others. We have invited young entrepreneurs and leaders who will share their inspiring tales of success and direction. There will also be performances by this country’s celebrities and top-performing artists, celebrities, and bands. Aside from all these, exhibitors will be showcasing different booths of products and services. It will be a whole day of fun and excitement for the youth as they explore and reinforce their entrepreneurial and enterprising spirits. It will be an open and free event. We welcome everyone to join.