Santiago shares her wit, trade views | Inquirer Business

Santiago shares her wit, trade views

/ 01:03 AM October 15, 2012

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago: Limit entry of hot money. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—With her characteristic wit, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago shared her sharp views on the Philippine economy with over 600 people during a recent economic briefing held by BDO Unibank Inc. (BDO) in Bacolod City.

In her keynote speech, the senator mentioned the need for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to continue to limit the seemingly uncontrollable entry of “hot money” into the country as a way to get past the challenges caused by the uncertainties of the world economy.

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“Because of the gloomy world economic outlook and the rock-bottom or near zero interest rates in the developed world, investable short-term funds are in search of the best place or places where they can park their funds. The Philippines happens to be an attractive place for such short-term funds. With its relatively high interest rate and strong likelihood that the peso will continue to appreciate in value, it makes sense to park one’s investable funds in the Philippines. But while it is good for short-term foreign investors, it wreaks havoc on the domestic economy,” she said.

Santiago, an Iloilo native, also lauded the performance of the Western Visayas region, which currently ranked fifth in terms of contribution to the country’s gross domestic product, and fourth in terms of GDP growth rate.

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But more can be done, according to the senator.

“Growth can be improved and more people will benefit from such growth if only agriculture can be made more robust and productive. Agriculture and its related industries such as food processing and agro-industrial manufacturing should be the focus of lending in the region,” she said.

Before ending her speech, the senator imparted this inspiring message to the attendees who mostly came from Bacolod and Negros Occidental: “I have no doubt you are going to be the leader in this part of our country in achieving economic self-sufficiency one day soon or during our lifetime at least.”

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