For years now, we here at TSF have been constantly stressing the importance of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), and how it can, and will, improve the socio economic environment of the Philippine nation and her people. Sadly, we have also been fighting what some refer to as the Heneral Lunatic, Neocolonial mentality. The unrealistic belief that as a nation, you can succeed all by yourselves. Well folks? Don’t any of you find it odd, that after 100+ years of trying to do just that. You haven’t done anything, except spiral ever further into the black abyss of socio economic failure? So rather than come across as repetitive. I shall let one of your own shed a little light upon a reality you all seem to enjoy ignoring, for one silly reason or another.
When I was in high school, I won a bronze medal in Taekwondo. I didn’t defeat anybody, in fact I was eliminated in my first match. It’s just that there were only 4 of us in my weight division, and there were two bronze medals, so I and the other loser both got medals. Never once did I delude myself into thinking that my medal meant I was good in Taekwondo.
The Philippine economy is like my Taekwondo tournament. It’s growing rapidly via OFW’s & BPO’s because we’re the only cheap-labor country that speaks English with a neutral accent. Yet many of our government & business leaders past & present would have us think we got to where we are through their skilled leadership. Guys, we just happened to be the only competitor in our weight division.
Many years later, I competed in a grappling competition. I made an effort to lose weight before the competition because I did not want to be in the same weight class as a Jiu-jitsu blackbelt or an Asian Games Wrestling silver medalist. Guess what? On the day itself, I was the only one in my weight division. But instead of giving me a medal, they just merged my weight division with the higher one! My first match was against the Asian Games Silver medalist, and it was over in less than 10 seconds. Spoiler alert: I wasn’t the winner.
The Philippines is in the same situation. We will soon be forced to compete with more developed countries, mainly due to Automation. The vast majority of jobs currently handled by OFW and BPO workers are already being replaced by robots and artificial intelligence. No matter how cheap we price our labor, it will not matter, when there is no longer a demand for that labor.
We rapidly need – I believe our window is just around 5 years – to shift the basis of our economy away from cheap labor and into more value-creating industries, such as agriculture, technology, finance, media content, etc… and it would be impossible to develop all these industries indigenously within a 5-year window. The only way we can make this happen is to take the route that Singapore took.
Completely open our economy up to foreign ownership.
It is therefore absolutely urgent that we start the work of constitutional reform, to eliminate the restrictions on foreign ownership. If we don’t do this soon, we will soon find ourselves competing against bigger, faster, more skilled players in a division we aren’t prepared for.
Written by: Calen Legaspi