P-NOY's Speech at the 17th World Electronics Forum and SEIPI Gen. Membership Mtng, 20 April 2012
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Published on Apr 20, 2012
Mactan 1-4 Ballroom, Mactan Shangri-La Island SPA and Resort, Punta Engano Road, Lapu-lapu, Cebu (Full text below)
Secretary Greg Domingo; Mayor Paz Radaza from Lapu-Lapu City; Mister Bing Vera, Chairman of the Semiconductors and Electronics Industries in the Philippines; Mister Ernie Santiago; Mister Bob Johnson; delegates of the 17th World Electronics Forum and members of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Incorporated; honored guests; mga minamahal ko pong mga kababayan—dito po sa Cebu'y maayong udto... udto—this is good noon. Is my accent still bad? [Laughter] That's the Kapampangan version of Cebuano.
And it's really good to see the leaders of the Semiconductor Electronics Industry again. I remember how graciously you invited me to address you in November of 2010, during the 12th SEIPI CEO Forum. I remember the situation back then, which was only compounded by other events beyond our control. Your industry, for the past couple of years, was left reeling from the effects of the disaster that hit Japan, on top of a global economic slowdown that has spanned quite a number of years.
After a decade of accounting for an average of about 65 percent of the country's total exports, the number dropped to around 50 percent last year. This contributed to the decline in total merchandise exports, which pulled down the 2011 GDP growth—and we will not estimate actually how much it brought it down. Despite this, your industry was able to hire even more Filipino workers—and for that we are eternally grateful. I am told that direct employment in the industry grew by six percent, in spite of the down turn, from 500,000 in 2010 to 530,000 in 2011. Obviously, this is an encouraging sign.
Suffice it to say, our national economy is inextricably tied to the performance of your industry, whose growth and resilience has been nothing short of exceptional. This is despite the global conditions in the past couple of years, and the less-than-ideal political climate over the past decade or so, which has, only now, begun to change.
You have been able to thrive, and not merely survive, in the Philippines despite the limitations presented by the business environment, which cannot be separated from the political milieu. And now, finally, the stars are aligning, now that the roadblocks on the path to progress are finally removed, I can only imagine the greater heights your industry can achieve, as you build on the momentum that the entire country is experiencing right now.
You can just pay special attention to the earlier video presentation where they showed the tremendous growth in 2010 and 2011. And if you could contrast it to the growth of the preceding nine and a half years, which had very little movement, this is really such a testament of the confidence you have bestowed on our administration and our people, and again, allow me to thank you.
Allow me also to connect the dots for you. The educational reforms we are implementing are designed to move Filipino workers higher up the value chain. The K-12 system, set to begin this June, is a long-term solution that can address our students' goals to become globally competitive. We also have targeting systems in place to enable
our workforce to supply more specialists to industries that demand them. In fact, we have earmarked 50 million pesos, through TESDA's Training for Work Scholarship Program, to train 9,295 of your industry workers, and I am taking this opportunity, again, to thank SEIPI for partnering with government through a memorandum of agreement for
this joint effort.
And, as we begin to see our infrastructure improve over the coming years, imagine how easier it would be to expand your businesses. This goes hand-in-hand with our efforts to reform the bureaucracy. I am fully aware that a nurturing environment can sometimes mean less interventions from government, and as you have proven, there are industries that can flourish through the force of its leaders' vision, and the quality of their products. We are, however, building on initiatives that will allow the Philippines to compete more strongly in the global markets. As you may well know, we are already offering competitive incentives to electronic firms registered with investment promotion agencies.
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