PH emerging now, phenomenal later – British envoy

British ambassador asif ahmad at The Manila Times roundtable on thursday. Photo By Melyn Acosta

British ambassador asif ahmad at The Manila Times roundtable on thursday. Photo By Melyn Acosta

The British government believes that the Philippines is an “emerging power” and could turn into a “phenomenal country” but its Ambassador to Manila Asif Ahmad highlighted the importance of infrastructure development to economic progress.

During a roundtable with editors and reporters of The Manila Times, the British envoy on Thursday said the Philippines is one of several countries that the United Kingdom can engage with in trade, economics, investments and people-to-people relations in the “30-year horizon.”

The Philippines, according to Ahmad, “is one [of those identified as an emerging power]” because of its economic integration, its role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the British community here.

The other factors that make the Philippines viable for engagement with the UK is Manila’s role in fighting counter-terrorism, and its campaign on climate change and open global trading, he said.

The envoy noted that the Philippines also plays a big role in advancing human rights in Southeast Asia.

Ahmad said many high-ranking British officials visited the country in recent months, proof that the British government is giving importance to the Philippines.

The British Embassy in Manila also has a full-time economist here, a regional economist based in Singapore and another department that deals with that aspect in London.

Ahmad said the UK has also been very supportive of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) introduced by the Aquino administration.

But there is another challenge for the Philippines, the envoy added.

“My challenge not only to this administration but to the next administration—I am talking to anyone with presidential ambitions—the challenge for this country . . . is to have a national blueprint for a road network,” he said.

A road network would be economically beneficial for the Philippines, he added.

Ahmad backed Charter change that would amend economic provisions under the 1987 Philippine Constitution and allow foreigners and foreign companies to own a larger percentage of a Philippine-based company.

But he noted that in terms of the “Asean story, the Philippines is not doing as well as it could in terms of investment.”

The ambassador explained that foreign businessmen have to go through the bureaucracy and the backdoor in order to invest in the country.

He said the UK’s concern about issues of corruption in the government would not be obstacles for British companies to invest in the Philippines.

The envoy pointed out that London places great importance in the prosecution of those accused of corruption and supports good-governance practices.

“But this is not a long list of complaints. It only validates what we are talking about that the UK is taking the Philippines seriously. With these policy changes, [the Philippines]might be a phenomenal country,” Ahmad said.


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  1. Suckers,!gusto ninyong pagsamatalahan ang kakapirangot na lupain, ng bansa na pinaglalaruan ng mga linta ng papatakbo ng gobyerno,!tinutulungan ninyo na makapanloko ang mga buitre na tuta ng mga dayuhan gustong gumahasa sa natitirang pag-asa ng dukhangmga Filipino!!nakikinita ko na ang pag-unlad ng pinas,hindi ng pinoy sa mga darating na panahon kapag ang mga linta ang nasunod,matatas na gusali,magagandang tahanan at nababakuran ng matataas na pader,mayayamang dayuhan ang naninirahan,Chinese,Korea,us,British,arabs at marami pa,pilipino bawal pumasok sa lahat ng mga sakop ng mga ito,mga lintang pinoy lamang ang puedi,ang mga pinoy ay magiging alila,ng mga ito,magiging ofw sa sarili nilang bansa,wala silang magagawa dahil ang mga official at maykapangyarihan ay hawak ng mga dayuhan,napakasamang bangungot ang nakikita sa darating!!investment ang mukha ng salot na darating!!

  2. If Aquino leadership is perceive by the world leaders to be defective then let us go against him and if not why not join with him instead of rahrahrahrah on him. UK is one of those countries who support Aquino and there are plenty of them. Do you want to go back to Marcos regime where Kaban ng Bayan Emptied? STUPIDO talaga tayong mga Pinoy.

  3. For PHL government, it is wake up time (long overdue) time to buckle up and work. Listen and get into the teamwork, not individualism (and enriches your pocket)

  4. Pete Gabriel on

    We not only need to improve the road infrastructures, but all other facets of our transportation, such as the railroad system, ferry system, and our airports. We are a country that is blessed with natures beauty, and we should nurture and take care of it. We have one of the most desired climate in the world. People from other countries go there just for the beach. We should run our country like a corporation, where good politicians and government employees are rewarded bonus for a job well done, they must be compensated very well and at the same time be made to pay dearly if they are caught stealing or doing inappropriate behaviors.

  5. I agree! Most especially the the constitutional provision of 60/40 in favor of PH citizen should be removed. Let us enact law to govern 100% foreign own business in PH especially those that will require high tech or high capital that the locals are not able to put up. We need foreign capital in manufacturing, agriculture and fisheries to make economic more inclusive that it is now.