Binay in Bangkok: ‘Good Times Ahead for RP’

| October 19, 2011 | 0 Comments

Story by: Hedda Tan, Photo by: Jose Tan

Vice President  Binay to Pinoy expats in Thailand: Invest in the Philippines!  

RP Vice President Jejomar Binay is perhaps best known for playing a leading role in restoring democracy to the Philippines after two decades of dictatorship under the Marcos regime. He also has a hard-earned reputation for sound city management as mayor of Makati, Philippines for 20 years (among the top ten mayors in the annual World Mayor project in 2006). Now, as the country’s second in rank, he points to two reasons why we should invest in the new Philippines – an increasingly stable economy and new leadership in a government that is free of graft and corruption – a first in many, many decades!

The vice president was in Bangkok to keynote the 3rd Asia Pacific Housing Forum and Exhibition at the Queen’s Imperial Palace. While here, he also met Thai authorities to discuss how to curb human trafficking and met with members of the expat community to discuss a wide range of issues, during which, he encouraged expats to start thinking about making investments in the Philippines.

While in a study stint at Harvard in Boston recently, Vice Pres Binay was asked, “how is your economy?” While true that the Philippine economy was on a downward spiral the last few decades, expat Filipinos have these to be hopeful about the country: the dollar now only appreciates in cents against the peso, as opposed to such a big a change as a peso or two to the dollar just overnight in the past. After 35 years, the Philippine GDP is now 7.35. This is a far cry from earlier times, when our GDP would dip down to a negative number.

To what factor does the country owe these positive changes? According to the Vice President, for a year now since new leadership took over the country, the Philippine government has not had one incident nor allegation of ill doing. And such is what will turn the country around. For investors and tourists to turn an eye of interest towards the Philippines, we have to establish a reputation for clean governance – transparency and accountability are now the order of the day.

And the one big investment opportunity for expat Filipinos in Thailand, including those married to other nationals, is the PAG-IBIG fund. This fund, of which majority of shares is owned by members, is one of the most stable investment opportunities in the country, according to Vice Pres Binay. To date, it is worth 300 billion pesos, and not one cent is dependent on the government. Expats, who are paying members, can avail of housing loans and provident savings programs, among others. And once a paying member retires, you get your own contributions and dividends. (For more details, visit the PAG-IBIG fund website at www.pagibigfund.gov.ph.)

Finally, another way for expats to “invest” in our country, according to the Vice President, is to help bring in tourists to the more than 7,000 islands of the republic. “We have a lot to offer”, says Vice Pres Binay. And he hopes that expats would market and tell their friends proudly, “this is the Philippines”!

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