THE MOOD was upbeat—atypical of the usual business meetings. Guests conversed with a glass of local beer or rum in hand, while savouring Filipino delicacies on the sides. The delegates were virtually transported to the Philippines as videos of stunning sights were looped onscreen. Fil-Am artist Apl.de.Ap’s tourism campaign jingle filled the room. Guests were given a small package of tropical inspired souvenirs, artisanal chocolates from Cebu, and USB containing relevant materials on the Philippine economy.
The event was meant to set the tone for next year’s big event to show that meetings are indeed more fun, thought-provoking, and productive in the Philippines.
Following a successful hosting of the ADB Annual Meeting (ADB AM) in 2012, the Philippines prepares for another opportunity to showcase its achievements and to lead in the discussions on social and economic developments in the region as it serves as host of the 51st ADB AM in May 2018.
At the recently concluded 50th ADB AM in Yokohama, Japan, a one-hour launch event was organized by the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) Investor Relations Office (IRO) to build interest among target participants to next year’s meetings in Manila. The launch event, which was a combination of short investors’ testimonials and networking cocktails, gathered almost 300 participants—double the target number of attendees.
In his speech, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez remarked: “Manila is happy to host next year’s ADB Annual Meetings. The ADB for us is more than a familiar institution. It is an old friend that helped guide our economy’s emergence through the most challenging circumstances.”
The Finance Secretary added that the Philippines has progressed significantly over the five years since the last meeting in Manila. “We reduced poverty incidence, improved our fiscal stability, and increased our rate of growth,” Secretary Dominguez noted.
Carrying the theme “Linking People and Economies for Inclusive Development,” the 51st ADB AM in Manila will focus not only on the development and growth of the region but also on ensuring that it is anchored on sustainability and inclusiveness.
In Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s opening remarks as delivered by Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose C. Laurel V, he underscored the relevance of the theme given the rising tide of protectionism in many parts of the world.
“For many years, ADB has promoted globalization as a tool in achieving sustained and strong growth in Asia and the Pacific,” Ambassador Laurel said.
To highlight the Philippines as a viable investment destination, the launch event featured two investor testimonials from a top Filipino conglomerate and a foreign corporation in the Philippines.
“There is more optimism as the growth of the Philippine economy continues, which gives us reason to further expand and grow our business. We believe favorable conditions will exist for at least another decade,” SM Investments Corporation Vice Chairperson Teresita Sy-Coson said.
SMIC’s market capitalization is $17.6 billion, making it the largest listed company in the Philippines.
Meantime, Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation President Satoru Suzuki acknowledged the country’s dedicated and highly skilled workforce as a key factor that enables the automotive industry to thrive.
“We are also fortunate that the business and regulatory environment has allowed Toyota to grow. We believe in the high potential of the Philippine auto market, with rising income per capita and a large population providing a huge, ready customer base,” President Suzuki said.
Toyota has been doing business in the country since 1988.
“When you come to Manila next year, we hope you will understand that it is more than just an inspired logo design. It is given life by a nation working together to achieve a just and nurturing economy.”
– Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, III