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Philippines Markets

Every time I listen or read the news form the mainstream media, specially on the aspect of the economy, it’s as if doomsday is at hand. I’m certain the folks behind mainstream media exert considerable effort to balance their story, but the impression it creates, at least on me, is still negative.

Last Wednesday, a colleague and myself attended a gathering of entrepreneurs and top executives to learn the best business practices during hard times. Part of the discussion is the Philippine economic outlook for 09. While it is true that we are affected, and corruption is rampant, it is not that bad after all. We are better off than our neighbors and the Philippine economy is still expected to grow together with China and India. If my understanding is correct, our economy is not dependent on exports, like Hong Kong and Singapore, and we consume 60-70% of our produce. Add to these, are the remittances from OFW’s.

The Philippine banking sector is relatively healthy with  reforms implemented in the industry after the 1997 financial crisis. Though the Philippines is not immune to the global events, the economy is not expected to slip into recession.

They key to keep our economy healthy is to have more money circulating in the system. But with the negative image generated by media, people are holding back their spending. With less money in the system and less purchases, manufacturing and service will slow down. With slack demand, companies will either close shop or reduce employees. And the fear generated in the news will now become a reality: job loss and more poverty

What is at work here is the principle behind faith and fear. Hebrews 11:1 says ” 1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”. While faith operates in the positve, fear triumphs in the negative. But the bottom line is the same. What you believed (from the stuffs you listen, read and see) will eventually happen. The choice is ours, though.  It’s like looking a glass with water half of it’s capacity, we can either see it as half full (positive) or half empty (negative). But depending on our choice, the outcome in the future is different.

Allow me to quote Mr. AURELIO R. MONTINOLA, III, President and CEO of Bank of the Philippine Islands in his speech before BPI stakeholders on Oct. 27, 2008 to illustrate my point.

It has now become a Fundamentals versus Emotion issue – Philippine economic fundamentals relative to the world and even Asia are good, and the banking system is stable, but Bloomberg 24×7 Television, local media reports, and cocktail party talk make people fear the worst, and then expect the worst.

What do you think?

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