Expert conference

2008 State of Philippine Competitiveness National Conference: Philippines at the Crossroads of Competitiveness

An annual competitiveness national conference organized by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung partner, Asian Institute of Management Policy Center.



The World Competitiveness Scoreboard 2008, ranking for 55 economies and initially put in place by the Institute of Management Development of Switzerland, was presented in Manila, on July 15, 2008. It gives an insight into the state’s competitiveness on the international level. The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and its partner, the Asian Institute of Management (AIM Policy Center), hosted this event.

The results were presented by Mr. Francis Estrada, President of the Asian Institute of Management, Mr. Fortunato De la Pena, Undersecretary of the Department of Science and Technology, and Ms. Maria Lourdes Fernando, Mayor of the city of Marikina, and panel discussions were held in order to talk about possible improvements.

Mr. Estrada informed that the Philippines found itself on the 40th rank this year, before Indonesia or Brazil (for more information see the AIM Policy Center website under

As Ambassador Cesar B. Bautista, co-chair of the National Competitiveness Council,

pointed out in his speech, the Philippines’ strength can be referred to the tourism

industry (ranked 23rd), the skilled labor (ranked 3rd), as well as the country’s natural resources (especially in mining).

But advancements in the infrastructure (ranked 54th), education (52nd), and health care (44th), according to Mr. Bautista’s analysis, are important in order to remain strong on the international level, especially because of the Philippines’ dependency on foreign investments.

Other Asian countries, such as Taiwan (from 18th rank to 13th), Singapore (remaining 2nd behind the US), or Thailand (from 33rd to 27th rank), are on a higher uprising. Taking this point into consideration, Mr. de la Pena, Undersecretary of the department of Science and Technology, warned that “if theses challenges, especially the improvement of the ability to attract investors, aren’t tackled soon, the Philippines will be overtaken by other countries.”

Especially nowadays’ challenges like the increasing petroleum prices, a better city management or the question of how to give incentives for economic investments must be addressed - for example with the help of Public Private Partnerships. “Public Private Partnerships enable us to seize opportunities and are of great importance.” Mr. Bautista pointed out.

Mr. Federico Macaranas, Executive Director of the AIM Policy Center, brought up Philippine’s creative industry and underlined that art, technology, and productivity – and therefore competitiveness - go hand in hand. Concerning this topic, Ms. Fernando stressed in referring to the Philippine attitude that creativity for the solution of pending problems is needed. She referred to her experience in Marikina, where improvements had been achieved with creative solutions.

Mr. Preschle, country representative of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Manila congratulated AIM for the successful and continuing partnership and pointed out: “The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung has been supportive for this program of AIM from the very beginning, since we are convinced of the importance of this competitiveness program. We believe that the issue of competitiveness does not only lead us to the relevant economic reform issues, but at the same time to relevant political reform areas.”

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SMX Convention Center, Pasay City


Klaus Preschle