Wednesday, January 11, 2006

More Filipinos are embracing globalization

The results of the recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey (released January 11, 2005) seem to confirm Filipinos changing view vis-à-vis foreign involvement in the Philippine economy. The survey says that 41 percent of Filipinos favors lessening restrictions on foreign participation in the economy, such as those on ownership of land and investment in mining and public utilities. Twenty two percent disapproves of said proposal.

“This is a significant change from the merely neutral 37% approval and 35% disapproval in the August 2004 Social Weather Survey on the general proposal to lessen restrictions on foreign investment in the Philippines,” says Mahar Mangahas, the president and founder of SWS.

About 15 years ago, according to Sergio Ortiz-Luiz, president of Philippine Exporters Confederation, the globalized” sector of the Philippine economy (e.g., merchandize trade, foreign direct investments, and overseas workers dollar remittances) was less than half of the country’s GDP. These days, remittances and merchandize exports alone constitute more than 60 percent of the country’s GDP. About 8 million Filipinos or ten percent of the country’s population are abroad working and sending home $12 billion dollars a year. Business process outsourcing (e.g. call centers, medical transcription) has been mushrooming in the last five years among the country's major cities. It's possible that the changing attitude of Filipinos regarding foreign involvement in economic sectors that are traditionally reserved for Filipinos (e.g. utilities, extractive industries, land) simply reflects this structural transformation.

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