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Gov’t to showcase ‘PH Miracle’ in WEF meetings

Finance Secretary Purisima gestures during a news conference on the forthcoming World Economic Forum in East Asia on Thursday, May 15, 2014, at the financial district of Makati. To his left is Sushant Palakurthi Rao, senior director-head of the Asia WEF, and to his right is Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. AP PHOTO/BULLIT MARQUEZ

MANILA, Philippines—For a week, Metro Manila will become the nexus of economic ideas for Asia as it plays host to most of the continent’s most powerful personalities in government, business and civil society.

At least two heads of state and about 600 business and civil society leaders from over 30 countries will be in town from May 21 to 23 for the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia, which is being held in the Philippines for the first time.

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“These are people we would like to expose to the Philippines,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said at a press conference on Thursday.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. at the same press conference said the WEF meetings would give the government an opportunity to showcase “The Philippine Miracle,” referring to the country’s economic turnaround under the Aquino administration.

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Jimenez, whose leadership has seen the local tourism sector grow more than twofold over the last two years, said the country’s turnaround was not miraculous.

“While the effects that people are seeing are quite astounding, they are far from difficult to explain. There is tremendous benefit to good governance,” Jimenez said.

President Aquino will deliver the keynote speech on the event’s first day before an audience that includes Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Burmese Vice President U Nyan Tun.

In a statement on Thursday, the WEF said the meeting of some of the region’s most influential people would be held against a backdrop of impressive growth rates and an ambitious journey toward regional integration and trade liberalization.

The WEF refers to itself as an independent international institution committed to improving the state of the world by promoting partnerships between governments and the private sector. Its members in the Philippines include conglomerates Ayala Corp. and SM Investments, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., and global port giant International Container Terminal Services Inc.

Under the meeting’s theme, “Leveraging Growth for Equitable Progress,” participants will deliberate on the opportunities of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Economic Community to promote greater inclusion across the region.

The program is built on three pillars: achieving equitable progress; advancing models for sustainable growth; and realizing regional connectivity.

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“Over three billion people live in Asean, China and India, and in 2014, the whole East Asian region is expected to be the fastest-growing region in the world,” WEF founder and executive chair Klaus Schwab said in a statement.

“Such progress is impressive only when industry and government leaders are fully committed to equitable distribution and inclusive growth,” he added.

The 10th annual Asean Finance Ministers Investors’ Seminar will also take place in Manila next week, a day before the WEF meetings convene.

Originally posted at 6:31 pm | Thursday, May 15, 2014

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TAGS: Business, Cesar V. Purisma, Department of Finance, Department of Tourism, East Asia, economic growth, economy, Finance, GDP, Global Nation, Ramon Jimenez, WEF, world economic forum
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