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Sunday, October 22, 2006

The rewards dwarf the risks

Commentary: Cebu Daily News
Posted date: October 17, 2006

Losers shy away from doing business in the Philippines because of the risk. Winners rush to get into the Philippines precisely because of the risk that promises extraordinary rewards.

What do the winners see in the Philippines? Consider the following:
  1. The Philippines has a population of 85 million. That means selling a lot of hamburgers, cell phones, sodas, toothpastes, laundry and bath soaps, pizzas, shirts, and trousers.
  2. Statistically-derived predictions had forecasted an economic collapse in 1983, following the economic slowdown that resulted after the assassination of Benigno Aquino Jr. But this did not happen because of native Filipino resiliency and its enterprising outgrowth known as the underground economy.
  3. The Philippines boasts of an enviable combination of manpower and natural resources. Among Asians, Filipinos are one of the most proficient in the English language, and word-class professionals and skilled workers. Mining is just one of the natural resources of the country that is attracting foreign investors. Deuterium, the future of energy, is said to be in enormous quantity in the Mindanao deep.
  4. A long tradition of respect for elders in a culture that is predominantly Christian, combined with the Filipinos’ gentle and warm nature, prime them to be among the world’s best workers in professions that require care and nurturing.
  5. Filipinos like to spend. This does not impact well on the capability of the country to generate domestic savings for investments but it does affirm the viability of Filipinos as a promising consumer market.
  6. The lack of infrastructure is in fact an enormous source of business. In the 1980s, telecommunications was cited as one of the great barriers that discouraged investors. From the 1990s up to today, telecommunications has been the most profitable and consistent moneymaker.
  7. The Muslim and Communist insurgencies are confined to localities far removed from business areas. They do not seek out tourists and businessmen whether they are American or other nationality.
  8. The Filipino has what it takes to be a winner. Before Ferdinand Marcos became president in 1965, the Philippines enjoyed an economy that was second only to Japan in Asia. Greatness is not alien to Filipinos though sadly, this may not be said of its current crop of leaders. To overlook the sheer potential of the Filipino is to overlook the single biggest winning factor in doing business in the Philippines.
  9. The norm of evaluating success by track record or statistical and quantitative analysis will not spot the more important qualitative intangibles that make a whole world of difference in business success. Henry Ford was not backed by a track record when his first automobiles rolled out of Ford Motors. The formula remains unchanged: instincts plus creativity make up the foundation for momentous ventures.

William Esposo, INQ7.net

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