The FINANCIAL — Luminaries in the business and academia gathered on 6 March 2012 at the Makati Shangri-La for a MasterCard Economic Forum.
Dubbed “The Global Economy and Forging Philippines’ Economic Future,” the event strongly demonstrated MasterCard’s commitment to being a knowledge leader in consumer insights as well as payment innovations.
Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor, MasterCard Worldwide flew in from Canada for the occasion and shared his insights on the latest trends that drive global commerce and how these impact the Philippine economy.
Among those who graced the event included Aurelio Montinola, Alfonso Salcedo, Natividad Alejo and Ginbee Go of BPI, Tessie Coson, Walter Wassmer, Jaime Yu and Ophie Camina of BDO Unibank, Joey Camus of Bank of Commerce, Jacqueline Fernandez of East West Bank, Peaches Cuenco of Metrobank, Jovencio Hernandez of Philippine National Bank and Belen Lim of Security Bank.
Also present during the briefing were Dr. Bernardo Villegas of University of Asia and the Pacific and Prof. Benjamin Diokno of University of Philippines School of Economics. Poch Villa-Real, country manager, Philippines, MasterCard Worldwide, was joined by Judith Marie Dayrit, vice president for marketing and member relations, MasterCard at the event to host MasterCard guests as well.
Dr. Yuwa underscored the need for the Philippines to “increase the efficiency of investments” and also added that China has started relocating its manufacturing jobs to neighboring Asian countries due to high Chinese wages and dwindling labor force, and that the Philippines is in a “strong position” to capture part of the relocation.
By MasterCard, he further added that China’s manufacturing sector employs 165 million and if the Philippines is able to convince the manufacturing capacity in China equivalent to 1% of its manufacturing employment to relocate to Philippines, 4 million new jobs could be created in the country. “The strategic window of opportunity is open and there is no time to lose,” says Dr. Yuwa.
He also dispelled the benefits of demographic dividends saying that until the population is educated, and are provided with proper employment opportunities, a young population is merely a demographic burden. Instead, the Philippines should focus on education, health, and infrastructure to reap the benefits of these demographic dividends. He cited the case of Switzerland, which invested in its people, thereby enjoying a high per capita income.
Dr. Yuwa commented that the Philippines will need to iron out a few bottlenecks in order to attain economic progress and that the country is in fact better primed to forge ahead because of its educated population.