Security Bank Holds 2011 Philippine Economic Forum

18 April 2011, Makati City- The economic and fiscal challenges facing the Philippines and the banking industry, and investment priorities plan are just two of the topics on the agenda at Security Bank’s Philippine Economic Forum held last Friday at the Rizal Ballroom of Shangri-La Makati, well-attended by over 300 bank clients. Keynote speech was delivered by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla for Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr., who gave a talk on the country’s “Investment Priorities Plan – Is the Philippines on the Brink of an Economic Boom?”. Governor Tetangco, in his prepared speech, stressed that “The BSP will continue to work towards providing the necessary support for economic growth while keeping inflation low and stable. Indeed, our economy faces many challenges, both from global and domestic developments. The BSP is confident that the monetary and banking regulatory  reforms we have put in place would help ensure  that monetary policy has the necessary flexibility to respond to changes in our operating environment and that our banking system remains sound and stable, and able to efficiently intermediate funds under stressed conditions.” Other guest speakers include former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Felipe Medalla and former Budget Secretary and U.P. economics professor Benjamin Diokno.Medalla said that the Philippines has many economic problems:  weak tax collections, poor infrastructure, poor educational outcomes, uncompetitive manufacturing and agricultural sectors, and a bad investment climate among others.  He also said that the advanced economies will be growing at rates that are much lower than their growth rates prior to the global financial crisis.?Fortunately, the Philippine economy is very resilient.  It has been running current account surpluses every year since 2003 which has never happened before since the balance of payments statistics became available. The current account surpluses mean that the economy has more than enough savings to finance both new public and private investments, without exerting undue pressure on interest, exchange and inflation rates,? said the UP School of Economics professor.  Medalla further added that ?Given the BSP’s good record of maintaining price stability,  this gives a reformist government a large room to maneuver.  In short, we can expect at least modest economic growth and macroeconomic stability with 5% GDP growth, low interest rates, and price and exchange rate stability.?On the other hand, Diokno talked about near and long-term fiscal challenges for the Philippines, and also gave his short-term fearless forecast. ?This year and next, the Philippine economy will grow at its long-run rate of 5 percent, while unemployment will remain precariously high. The Aquino administration”s desire to move to a higher growth path will be constrained by a weak fiscal house. Mr. Aquino has to abandon his “no-new-tax” policy if he wants to fulfill his promise of a robust, sustained and inclusive growth.?Security Bank organizes this eco-forum annually in line with its continuing program to provide relevant business analysis and economic forecasts to its valued clients from the corporate, treasury, investment, commercial and retail banking segments. The senior management team of Security Bank, led by its President and Chief Executive Officer Alberto Villarosa, welcomed the clients and guests along with EVP-Head of Corporate and Investment Banking Segment Eduardo Olbes and EVP-Treasurer Raffy Algarra. This year, in celebration of its 60th anniversary, the bank is staging two with the next eco-forum slated in October.?This economic forum gives our clients a clear and objective picture of what’s in store for the country in terms of macro socio-economic prospects and how current policies and practices are affecting our investment climate. [SPAN style=”COLOR: navy; FONT-SI