June 23, 2011
Abigail L. Ho
To attract more long-term investors, the Philippines should market itself as an investment "brand," with rules that are set for the long term and not dependent on who the sitting president is.
In marketing the country abroad, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Hubert D'Aboville said the government should not just think of investment opportunities within a particular president's term. The mindset should always be for the long term, beyond six years.
"We have to market the country as 'Philippines Inc.,' sell the country as a brand, as an investment destination, It's the government's responsibility to make the country peaceful and investment-friendly, and to ensure that the sanctity of contracts is respected," D'Aboville said.
These improvements should be done regardless of the president and members of the Cabinet, he added.
The Aquino administration, for example should work hard to gain support not just for its flagship public private partnership projects, but also to convince investors in other sectors to invest in the country for the long term, he said.
Nestle SA, he said was one example, having been in the Philippines for 100 years now.
The government should work on bringing more investors like Nestle into the country, D'Aboville said.
"We've notyet received a (commitment) from the various secretaries and the President himself that, while they are me ones in government now, they will invite investors to come to the Philippines as the Philippine islands and not for the projects of the current administration alone," he said.
"We want long-term investors to come in. We shouldn't just look at the short term. The administration should always market 'Philippines Inc.' as a country brand."
Two years ago the Business Processing Association of the Philippines and the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries of the Philippines Inc. proposed a country branding strategy that would market the Philippines' highly skilled knowledge workers.
This did not take off, however, due to lack of funding from the government.
The two industry groups sought a P160-million budget, mostly for ad placements in cable channels such as CNN and CNBC, as well as prominent publications such as Forbes, Fortune and Time Magazine.
The ads are supposed to run whenever the country participates in investment missions and summits abroad, and will mainly target clients in the United States, Japan, Western Europe and Australia.
Source: Philippines Daily Inquirer; Business; 21 June 2011