An optimistic outlook for 2018
In Chinese numerology, the number “8” is believed to be auspicious. When pronounced in Cantonese, so the story goes, it rhymes with the phrase “to prosper.”
Another version of the positive characterization is, when written, the number ends in an upward stroke and this is supposed to bring good fortune.
An example of Chinese belief about the favorable nature of this number is the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, which officially opened on 8/8/08 (or Aug. 8, 2008) at 8 minutes and 8 seconds past 8 p.m. local time.
And Lady Luck smiled at China in that global extravaganza because it garnered 100 medals, second only to the United States’ 112, although China’s 48 gold medal harvest bested the US’ 36 gold medals.
If indeed the number 8 has a favorable charm, 2018 may turn out to be an auspicious year for the Philippines or, at best, would be less difficult and turbulent than the year we just said goodbye to.
In what may be considered a good omen, Social Weather Stations (SWS) recently reported in its third quarter survey that 47 percent of adults were optimistic that their quality of life would improve in the coming months, while four percent were pessimistic their quality of life would worsen.
The same survey also showed 43 percent of the respondents had high hopes the Philippine economy in 2018 would get better, while 12 percent think it would deteriorate.
Note that, barring any major political or financial hiccups, several big-ticket infrastructure projects, such as the Clark Airport expansion, Metro Manila subway and first phase of the Mindanao Railway, would break ground early this year.
These projects are expected to create thousands of jobs, increase the production of construction materials and spur related commercial activities in the affected areas. Properly handled, the job creation may convince many of our countrymen who are working elsewhere in the world in infrastructure projects to come home for good.
We should not forget, however, that part of the funding for these projects will come from revenues the government expects to generate from the new and additional taxes subject of the recently enacted tax reform law. Thus, these tax measures have to be scrupulously implemented to meet the objectives of the administration’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program.
There is also reason for optimism in the wake of the report of the Board of Investments (BOI) that the investments it approved in 2017 soared to P617 billion, the highest in its history.
According to the BOI, these investment pledges, which came from projects mainly in infrastructure and power generation, are expected to generate approximately 76,065 jobs once they are completed and become fully operational.
With the announced relaxation of nationality ownership requirements in certain industrial or business areas, the prospects are good that additional foreign investments would come in to take advantage of those business opportunities.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that no publicity-seeking personality or organization would throw monkey wrenches at these investments to satisfy some stilted nationalistic principles.
For the millions of Filipinos who have to bear with the inefficient and expensive internet services of PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
President Duterte has served notice of his desire that the Chinese telco poised to provide a viable alternative to the duopoly should be operational by the third quarter of this year.
He has ordered the government offices concerned to expedite the issuance of the permits and licenses needed to enable that company to provide immediate relief to beleaguered internet users.
But the most important part of his directive is his call on the judges not to interfere with this project through the issuance of restraining orders for one reason or another. Hopefully, this request will not fall on deaf ears.
Let us all welcome 2018 with optimism and positive thoughts!
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