We Believe (Part 2)

Last week’s column talked about the power of WE BELIEVE and how these two words can convert this pessimistic society into a nation filled with optimism. Even with the stock market hitting new heights and the peso closing at the 45 levels, there are still a number of Filipinos who don’t believe what is happening and think this is all orchestrated. These are the people who have missed on an opportunity and will continue to miss on many things as they have gotten stuck to a pessimistic attitude. Given that all economic fundamentals are in place and showing stronger performance, people should ride with the growth rather than be doubtful or cynical. The benefit of growth will not automatically trickle down to the people if they themselves do not do something productive such as venturing into business.

Many years ago, I used to have this attitude and thought that the Philippines was a hopeless case. One day I said to myself I might as well migrate to another country if I continue to have this kind of defeatist attitude. Ever since then, I decided to accept the fact that our country has problems and that we should get involved and find ways to contribute to its success.

After selling Cosmos for a good price, I felt that if I could share what I went through with more people then maybe it would be the start of creating more negosyantes. I guess this role of helping as an advisor to this administration has given me a greater purpose in life. It feels good to see this country moving forward and see those entrepreneurs who continued to believe even during the darkest days of the Philippines economy be rewarded.

Take for example the Lopez family who are the relatives of my mother who had been hit with the Asian crisis but continued to remain firm in their vision and held on to their business. They are now seeing a turn around on their stock which was trading below 1 peso and has now breached the 5 peso levels. That is a fantastic five-fold increase in just one year! A lot of stock market price have doubled or tripled and even our own companies RFM and Swift which we’re trading at half its value have doubled.

It’s still not too late for others who want to benefit from this booming economy. What we need is an attitude change. The number one bestseller Go Negosyo book of 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurial Stories speaks of more people wanting to move up in life and make their first million. These entreps possess the “We Believe” attitude and are now enjoying the effects of their positive attitude.

Let’s focus on the economy. Now that the election is over, we hope and pray that everyone should turn their focus in contributing what’s good for the economy because what is good for the economy will be good for everyone. This is like the traditional “bayanihan spirit” where everyone works for a common good. Now is the time for the business sectors, politicians and the rest of our country men to unite and support the remaining years of PGMA. Like that basketball team I mentioned in last week’s column who cheered and used WE BELIEVE as their mantra. Let’s cheer the same words for our country.

Let me share with you more excerpts from our readers:

Yes I think the economy is for REAL.

TRANSPARENCY IN ALL GOVERNMENT TRANSACTIONS – I think this is one task that our government should prioritize. While for us, private individuals, let’s pray for our country to be united. We still have a chance to show the world that democracy is working in this country.

In my opinion, the country’s economic progress is for real once the financial status of our poor kababayans increases. The cause of poverty is fear and ignorance. I suggest the government and private individual must focus on self-development because their attitude is what really counts more than IQ and skills.

I think the country’s economic progress is for real. The government should focus now on the economy by improving the peace and order situation, in order to attract more tourists and earn their dollars, so that it can further improve our peso exchange rate. We also need to create more jobs, so that our OFW need not to work at foreign land and increase the salaries of our public school teachers so that they can concentrate or focus on teaching the pupils and not their sidelines.

I would say that it is for real, for many have recognize and felt the changes around especially the business sector. It is important that we (the government, business people, middle class and the poor) support each other and maintain the ball rolling. If not, we will not be able to attain the required level of the economy’s growth and will fall back immediately with a loud “bang” where we came from; we all suffer for we are all in the same boat.

Yes I do believe that the economy is rising… as they always say… “numbers do not lie.” However, there is no clear answer as to whether people (like me) really feel the economic uproar… even if we are preaching that the economy is getting better, the buying power remains the same. If the price of a basic commodity remains the same for the longest time, then the economy improved. For us to really improve, let us put corruption in check. Give more budget to education and health. Of course this is easier said than done, but hope springs eternal.

I would surmise that improving economic indicators since last year can only be considered tangible and beneficial, if its effects has trickled down to the micro-level – in short, does it have a direct correlation to the market indicators directly affecting the common Filipino in his daily life? Economic progress may have been successfully established but I think the most effectual way to gauge this, is to correlate this with the present standard of living of the Filipino – average income, spending capacity, and the like.

They perceive that the economy is getting better because they gauge it through the continuous appreciation of the Peso, which is due to the influx of OFW’s dollar, not the investor’s dollar. The government should attract investors to infuse their dollar in solid, concrete investments that could create jobs and employment. Not in speculative portfolio investments. We, the citizenry could also contribute our share by paying our taxes honestly.

I’d like to say that to some extent, the effect of the steady growth in our economy is now slowly being felt by some “privileged” sectors. The term “privileged” refers to industries and business sectors who were able to position themselves in the forefront of competition among the major players who drive the economic growth engines. Some of these industries are already starting to share to their constituents the positive effect they are gaining…But the real challenge I think for the government to make ordinary Filipinos feel the impact of the recent economic gains is to empower SMEs and other community-based entrepreneurship.