Senate President Koko Pimentel III outlined his vision for Philippine economic development, and called on the country’s economic managers to check on the development model of Fujian Province in China.
Pimentel was in Fuzhou, Fujian, China for the BRICS Political Parties, Think-tanks, and Civil Society Organizations Forum 2017.
“I am very impressed with Fujian. They are not at the center of the country politically or economically, but they still managed to do very well”, Pimentel said.
Fujian is a province of China, and most Filipinos of Chinese descent can trace their ancestry to this province.
Pimentel said, “I think that we should look closely at how they were able to develop their economy despite their distance from the capital, Beijing, while at the same remaining environment-friendly.”
The Senate President and federalism advocate pointed out that not only does Fujian show a path towards sustainable development, it also demonstrates what the Philippines’ regions can achieve under federalism.
Xiamen, a city in the province, one of the first special economic zones in China, opened to foreign investors during the country’s period of transition from a centrally-planned economy to a free market one.
This transition saw the rise of China to become the second-largest economy in the world, sustaining an average annual growth rate of 10%, lifting 800 million people out of poverty, reaching all its Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Fujian’s GDP per capita in 2015 stood at US$9,999.43, higher than the average GDP per capita for the whole of China, which was at US$8,069.20, and much higher than the Philippines’ GDP per capita of US$2,899.38.
Preliminary computations show that the economy of Fujian would expand by 8.4% in 2016, compared to 6.7% for the whole of China, and Philippine growth of 6.8% in the same period.
Pimentel was in China to represent the ruling party PDP Laban in the aforementioned forum.
The forum, organized by BRICS, an association of the major emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, is meant to institutionalize links among political parties, think-tanks, and civil society organizations from emerging economies to pool knowledge and efforts in addressing common problems.
With the theme, “Pooling Wisdom and Efforts Towards Common Development and a Brighter Future”, the forum brought PDP Laban in contact with leading organizations in emerging economies all over the world, including the Communist Party of China and United Russia.