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Message of Joint Foreign Chambers and Introduction of Keynote Speaker By Mr. Rhicke Jennings President, American

Message of Joint Foreign Chambers and Introduction of Keynote Speaker By Mr. Rhicke Jennings President, American Chamber of Commerce Managing Director, Federal Express Philippines and indonesia

Distinguished public and private sector leaders and the hundreds of Forum delegates who have joined us here and the many more tuned in on our webcast – you are just too many for me to recognize individually, with two exceptions:

Speaker of the House of Representatives Sonny Belmonte, who will shortly give our Keynote Address, and former president Fidel Ramos whom we have just recognized with an award.

Mabuhay!

Arangkada!

My name is Rhicke Jennings, and I am president of the American Chamber of Commerce. We are not only the oldest foreign chamber in the Philippines, but we are the oldest American chamber outside the United States. We are 111 years old this year. Our members are engaged in a very broad range of business activities in the Philippines and strongly support increased mutual trade and investment between the Philippines and the United States.

it is my great pleasure and honor to welcome Speaker Belmonte to deliver the Keynote Address at the Second Anniversary Arangkada Forum – Realize the Potential!.

Mr. Speaker, Arangkada Philippines was based on recommendations by nearly 300 Philippine and foreign Investors to support the expansion of Seven Big Winner sectors through rapid, inclusive, and sustainable growth of the Philippine economy. Its publication was sponsored by the Joint Foreign Chambers of the

The Arangkada Philippines Project (TAPP)

www.arangkadaphilippines.com

Message of Joint Foreign Chambers and Introduction of Keynote Speaker By Mr. Rhicke Jennings President, American
Message of Joint Foreign Chambers and Introduction of Keynote Speaker By Mr. Rhicke Jennings President, American
Message of Joint Foreign Chambers and Introduction of Keynote Speaker By Mr. Rhicke Jennings President, American
Message of Joint Foreign Chambers and Introduction of Keynote Speaker By Mr. Rhicke Jennings President, American
Message of Joint Foreign Chambers and Introduction of Keynote Speaker By Mr. Rhicke Jennings President, American
Message of Joint Foreign Chambers and Introduction of Keynote Speaker By Mr. Rhicke Jennings President, American
Message of Joint Foreign Chambers and Introduction of Keynote Speaker By Mr. Rhicke Jennings President, American
Philippines, representing most of the foreign companies that are your partners in investing in the domestic

Philippines, representing most of the foreign companies that are your partners in investing in the domestic and the export economy of the country.

Arangkada Philippines was launched two years ago with Secretary Greg Domingo and PEZA Director General Lilia de Lima and has become a significant reference document informing policies and programs for business and economic reform as well as research. Over 38,000 unique visitors from 144 countries viewed the Arangkada website over 123,000 times.

Mr. Speaker It has been our privilege to meet with you and leaders of the House of Representatives along with Philippine Business Groups on three separate occasions during the 15 th Congress. We thank you for your leadership and generosity in being one of our most important partners in improving the policy foundation for higher economic growth.

Today’s Second Anniversary Forum was organized by the Joint Foreign Chambers to launch an Assessment of the status of the implementation of almost 500 recommendations made in Arangkada Philippines. The assessment was made by 33 private sector experts and the document is being released today at our Forum and on the website www.arangkadaphilippines.com.

The results are encouraging and should support increased foreign direct investment. Our assessment rated the recommendations on the basis of their degree of progress. In summary, 64% of the recommendations have either started, made substantial progress, or have been completed, while 36% have not. In last year’s Assessment the comparable figures were 51% and 49%, respectively.

Last year we told our keynote speaker President Aquino that we believed our common goal was to increase the 51% factor and reduce the 49% factor during 2012. That is precisely what has happened. This progress results from the work of both the public and private sectors to improve governance and initiate reforms. But it is not yet enough.

The results are also very evident in the steady improvements of the Philippines in several of

The results are also very evident in the steady improvements of the Philippines in several of the most watched global rankings, namely the Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum and the Global Corruption index of Transparency International. With continued hard work the ratings in other indexes should also improve.

Mr. Speaker, these successes are only the beginning. There can be no relaxation of effort nor complacency. Realization of the country’s potential is still a distant but achievable goal. The challenge of creating many millions of quality jobs remains. Infrastructure spending at 2.6% of GDP is only half what it should be. The driver of national economic growth must shift from consumption to investment and trade.

Keep in mind that the Philippines is still catching up with its regional partners and competitors whose economic growth it has lagged behind for decades. The pace of reform should not just continue but should accelerate to assure that growth be higher, inclusive, and sustainable. There is no guarantee in any country that the successor administration will be committed to reform. The Philippines has experienced backsliding in governance before.

We all recognize that change does not happen overnight, that it is gradual, and positive if it moves steadily in the right direction, as we believe is happening today.

And the world is noticing. The image of a damaged culture, a basket case economy is being replaced with that of a rising tiger and an empowered people.

Surely, with more reforms, with better implementation, and with the continued effort of each of the three branches of government in partnership with the private sector, the fruits of rising investment and job creation will follow.

We expect 2013 to be another year in which the foundations for the current progress are strengthened, resulting in further progress for the generations ahead.

Speaker Belmonte’s long career has been full of senior management experience. He has served twice as

Speaker Belmonte’s long career has been full of senior management experience. He has served twice as Speaker of the House of Representatives and also for nine years as the mayor of Quezon City, the country’s largest city with 2.7 million residents, as well as Representative of its 4 th District. Earlier, he headed the Government Service and Insurance System, the Manila Hotel, and Philippine Airlines.

Mr. Speaker, we greatly look forward to your Keynote Address.