Seven Big Winners
A proven strategy to achieve higher investment, exports, and jobs is concentration on sectors of the economy where the Philippines has competitive advantages and high potential. Ireland, with a population of 4.4 million, followed such a strategy in four sectors after it joined the EU, marketing itself as a manufacturing location that provided easy access to much larger markets in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. Within a decade the “Celtic Tiger” experienced a boom, transforming itself from poor to rich. Irish schools were oriented towards graduating students with skills needed in the prioritized sectors, and foreign investment campaigns in North America and Asia successfully attracted multinational firms that hired these English-speaking graduates.
In the middle of the global financial crisis in 2009, the JFC released a study that recommended the Philippines build Seven Big Winners, sectors that have high growth and employment potential and in which the Philippines has demonstrated competitive advantage. With its position within ASEAN, with its large, youthful English-speaking population, and with improved access through new ASEAN FTAs with large and fast-growing markets, the Philippines is situated, as Ireland was, to attract large amounts of foreign investment and to create millions of new high-quality jobs in the seven sectors:
• Business Process Outsourcing
• Creative Industries
• Manufacturing and Logistics
• Tourism, Medical Travel, and Retirement
The next several years are an ideal time to begin to introduce reforms to accelerate the growth of these seven sectors. Major issues and challenges are well known, and considerable remedial planning by firms in each sector, their industry associations, and the government has already occurred.
All Seven Big Winners are discussed in the following sections of Part 3 of Arangkada Philippines 2010. Each section contains a narrative description with figures and tables discussing the sector background and potential. This is followed by the recommendations that emerged from the FGDs, listed under a summary entitled “Headline Recommendations.”33
33 Several recommendations were added by FGD participants and the FGD secretariat following the FGDs. For example, the recommendation regarding the future use of terminals at NAIA greatly benefited from the detailed recommendations made by the infrastructure committee of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI). In another case, support for proposed US legislation to benefit garments imported from the Philippines made from US-origin textiles was added to the recommendations under manufacturing.