Reclaiming PH’s status as a “Rising Tiger Economy”

In my previous column, we talked about the prospects of the Philippine real estate industry in 2024 where some major global real estate services firms gave the country a positive outlook. I also encouraged those who are planning to invest in real estate and have the resources to actualize it, to do it now.

For this piece, let me write about the good news shared with us by Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual during the recent 2024 Philippine Economic Spotlight that was organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, Inc. (ICCPI) at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.

Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual with Lorens Ziller, Executive Director of ICCPI, during the recent 2024 Philippine Economic Spotlight organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, Inc. (ICCPI) held at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.

In the past, the Philippines was indeed considered one of the “Tigers of Asia” in the 1960s when it stood alongside countries like Singapore and South Korea as an Asian Tiger Economy experiencing a high growth rate. 

After enduring decades of sluggish growth and earning the unfortunate moniker of the “Sick Man of Asia,” the Philippines orchestrated a remarkable economic turnaround in the mid-1990s. During this period, it was recognized as a “tiger cub economy” by the global community, with aspirations of attaining Newly Industrialized Country (NIC) status—a vision championed by then-President Fidel V. Ramos. Regrettably, this promising trajectory was abruptly disrupted by the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Since then, the Philippine economy has navigated through a series of highs and lows.

Attending the event for the 2024 Philippine Economic Spotlight with the author from (L-R) Lorens Ziller, ICCPI Executive Director; Gabrielle Lopez, Head of Marketing and Events and Mr. Riccardo Caldera.

Under the current administration, there is a big chance, according to Secretary Pascual, that the Philippines will regain its former status and become once again a powerhouse economy in Asia.

Pascual’s first point (in the table above) reinforced the statement of Statistica, a Global data and business intelligence platform; that the real estate industry, including construction, has significantly propelled the Philippine economy in recent years. In 2022 alone, it contributed approximately P536 billion in gross value added (GVA).

The audience welcomed the bold declaration of Secretary Pascual that the Philippines will re-emerge as an “Asian Tiger Economy” after several years of “boom and bust” cycles that the country had to go through.

Aside from Secretary Pascual, other speakers in the event included Philipp Dupuis, the head of the Economic Trade Section of the European Union (EU) Delegation to the Philippines; and Engr. Enunina Mangio, the president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI). They both shared the DTI Secretary’s enthusiasm for the current standing of the economy.

Another upbeat assessment about the Philippine economy came from Rajiv Biswas, the Executive Director and Asia-Pacific Chief Economist of S&P Global Market Intelligence, who projected that by 2033, the country is to ascend to the ranks of the Asia-Pacific region’s trillion-dollar economies, joining the likes of mainland China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, Taiwan, and Indonesia. 

“The rapid growth of household incomes over the next decade will help to underpin the growth of the Philippines domestic consumer market, catalyzing foreign and domestic investment into many sectors of the Philippines economy,” he wrote.

There is a condition, however, to reclaim our “Asian Tiger Economy” status. For those who were present at the luncheon, we were all in agreement that this ambitious goal can only be achieved through collective efforts from the government, the private sector, and the Filipino people.

So far, so good. We have been enjoying much-needed economic and political stability for some time now —a key ingredient to sustainable progress and prosperity. I am happy to share that all our ongoing property development projects at Italpinas Development Corporation (IDC) are proceeding at a vibrant pace.  

We also have future expansion projects in other parts of Luzon and Mindanao, all of which will be announced in due time. Our unwavering commitment to green and sustainable living, coupled with a relentless pursuit of quality and innovation, positions us for sustained success in this endeavor. Supported by robust economic fundamentals, both developers and investors/consumers are well-prepared to thrive in this dynamic time in the country’s growth story.

Banner photo from Department of Trade and Industry