Senator Loren Legarda has lauded the Philippines’ improved ranking in the 2019 global competitiveness study by Swiss business school IMD, adding that it should serve as a challenge for government to continue improvement.
The Philippines ranked 46th out of 63 countries in the 2019 IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY). Last year, it ranked 50th.
“We have a long way to go, but the improvement in the Philippines’ 2019 competitiveness ranking is already a good sign and should motivate us to further improve the country’s ranking,” said Legarda.
According to the IMD, the Philippines greatly improved in domestic economy, tax policy, and labor market; but more work needs to be done in the areas of basic infrastructure, health and environment, education, scientific infrastructure, business legislation, and international trade.
Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Committees on Finance and Foreign Relations, said that she is confident that the current programs of government, particularly the “Build, Build, Build” while also putting a premium on social programs, will continue to improve the country’s ranking in the years to come.
“Government can improve the country’s productivity and increase competitiveness by adopting innovation as a vital component of development policies.”
In 2018, Legarda met with Dr. Christos Cabolis, Chief Economist and Head of Operations of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, who said that talent/employment and digital/innovation issues are considered in the wellness of a nation, plus government, which plays a major task in creating the framework to create a long-term value. These elements lead to economic reform.
Other factors are also considered such as inflation, population, and corporate values (corruption, transparency, gender equality). Corporate values are measured via surveys, which show the perception on these by the executives in the country.
According to the IMD, the Philippines needs to speed up and sustain investments in physical infrastructure, sustain investor and consumer confidence, and address inadequate investment in human capital, poor digital competitiveness and future-readiness, and persistent political risks.
Legarda said that she sees continued improving performance of the country in the following years especially with the enactment of the Philippine Innovation Act.
“We need to shift from being an ‘innovation follower’ to an ‘innovation leader’ by investing in scientific research.”
The measure, which Legarda principally authored, aims to place innovation at the center of the country’s development policies. It will create a National Innovation Council (NIC) that will develop the country’s strategic vision for innovation and long-term innovation goal, serve as a source of strategic intelligence for national research and innovation policymaking, and coordinate with various sectors and agencies to promote policy and program coherence.
The NIC will also be responsible for developing strategies, which will promote internationalization and participation in the local and global value chains among micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and research, development, and extension themes, which will be guided by the country’s innovation and development goals.
“The government can improve the country’s productivity and increase competitiveness by adopting innovation as a vital component of development policies. We need to shift from being an ‘innovation follower’ to an ‘innovation leader’ by investing in scientific research and embracing needed reforms that could bolster our innovation potential,” said Legarda.
“Amid all these competitiveness rankings and innovation policies, the challenge really before us is to translate statistics and policies into actual actions, projects, and programs that will truly make a positive difference in our people’s lives, especially the poorest of the poor,” Legarda concluded.