• The Thais must be very intelligent


    The latest foreign direct investment (FDI) figures from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) should be enough to make President Benigno Aquino 3rd and his economic managers depressed if they really have a grasp on how the country’s economy is working or not working.

    Based on the BSP data, the Philippines attracted $3.9 billion in FDIs in 2013, which is 20 percent higher than the $3.2 billion of the previous year. The Aquino administration cannot crow about that accomplishment because Vietnam attracted $13.1 billion in FDI in the first 10 months of last year, while Thailand expects to post as much as $33 billion in foreign investments for 2013. Thailand’s 2013 FDI projection should be the source of envy and even shame for the Aquino administration, because that means that despite the political turmoil in Bangkok since October 2013, Thailand is still capable of attracting almost 10 times more FDIs than the Philippines last year.

    On the other hand, Vietnam is turning out to be a paradise for foreign capitalists, even if the typical Vietnamese can crow about how they were able to beat the hell out of Americans during the 10,000-day Vietnam War.

    But Thailand’s 2013 projection of $33 billion in foreign investments flowing into its economy every year should make President Aquino and his economists ask what is wrong in the way the country’s economy is being managed, because “jobless growth” has been ailing the Philippines even before Mr. Aquino took office in June 2010.

    Imagine what impact $33 billion in FDIs will have on the Philippine economy. That will definitely lead to the creation of hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of jobs. And with the creation of jobs comes higher tax payments.

    While the Philippines topped Thailand in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2013 (7.2 percent versus 2.9 percent), Thailand still tops the Philippines in tourist arrivals (4.7 million versus 26.7 million).

    And when it comes to unemployment, Thailand’s 1 percent is way better than the Philippines’ 7.5 percent.

    While there are worries over how the current political crisis in Thailand will have an impact on the country’s economic growth, the truth is Thailand remains one of the best destinations for FDIs in Southeast Asia. Which means that the Philippines has a lot of catching up to do.

    And once the political crisis in Thailand ends, foreign investors will definitely start setting up shop there because Thailand has better infrastructure and does not have one of the highest electricity rates in the world.


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    1. My Chinese friend want to set-up a business outside China because of increasing labor cost. His option is Vietnam and the Philippines. He went to inquire in one of our export processing zone. One pinoy official asked for a lagay for an information the chinese businessman asked…immediately he went to Vietnam.

    2. niemannkhumar on

      Ours is a gov’t with a full support and backing for its Oligarch supporters, lest you forget it!

    3. There are a lot of things to say about this and your article has pointed some of these and also Mr Malifier has expounded on them although I dont agree with all of it. But basically 800 years of being one country with a set of rules makes for a better country. We as a nation can learn from them as they have learned from us in the 60’s- and 70’s. I would zero in on the work ethic and the idea of “wholesomeness’ which is present in their culture. I would love to see our culture move in this direction starting with the Elite. We should get rid of the “ningas cogon” style of doing things. I do believe we can inculcate this kind of work ethic. If others can do it we can do it too. If we have a plan we should stick to it. I just hope a new crop of Elite takes over. But if the generation that we have right now are not exposed to other cultures we will still be in the same rut for the next hundred years. We need a wholesale reform of our society from the top down to the bottom.

      • This! This! Democracy and governments are works in progress, something that you work and strive for to make it better. Ours is a fledgeling nation compared to others. One does not ein good governance via your 6/45 lotto, you work for it. We have to work for it.

    4. Foreign capitalists love Thailand because disorderliness is only a political phenomenon there.
      First point I would like to make: The Thais are more orderly than the Filiipnos on day-to-day matters–although their traffic congestion in Bangkok was once as bad as in Manila. But they have taken very effective steps to solve that.
      Second, Thailand’s rules make it a more business-friendly investment destination than the Philippines. They honor contracts with foreigners more zealously than our government, national and local, do.
      Third, as you’ve written in this editorial, our electricity rates are soooooo high!
      Fourth, while we Filipinos are just as gracious as the Thais in dealing with foreigners, they are generally more efficient as store clerks, checkout girls in supermarkets and department stores and in government offices. Why? Maybe because especially in Bangkok, the Thais you deal with as managers as well as ordinary folk, are really Chinese whose parents and grandparents decided to have their families legally be known, for instance, with the surname Jirasakhiran or Chatrichai instead of Wong or Tsai. They may already be fifth or fourth generation Chinese in Bangkok but they still have the Confucian ethic, discipline, devotion to duty and respect for ancestors.
      I am glad that your The Manila Times College has a pertnership agreement with Thailand’s Thammasat University.

    5. Surely you would know what the answer to this is…as the great David Letterman puts it, there are Top Ten Reason why Philippine FDIs are not at par with other SEA countries.
      1. Corruption
      2. Corruption
      3. Corruption
      4. Higher minimum wage for Filipino Workers
      5. Unions
      6. Safety concerns for investors
      7. Higher working costs
      8. Expatriate cost of living
      9. Red tape
      10. Urmmm….did I say corruption?