Malacañang Palace grateful for Philippines’ improved ranking on economic freedom

Malacañang Palace  expressed gratefulness over a report that Philippines had risen in the world economic rankings to 107 from 115 previously despite a challenging global economic environment published January 14, 2012.

It also welcomed the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey result, which ranked the Philippines as the eighth friendliest country in the world.

The 2012 Index of World Economic Freedom released on Thursday said among 179 countries rated, the Philippines had the 107th freest economy with a score of 57.1. The report said the country's score was 0.9 point higher than last year, attributable in large part to a significant improvement in business freedom.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over dzRB that the Philippines improved its ranking because of economic expansion and the efforts of the government to pursue legislative reforms to enhance the business environment.

"We are also happy to note that even the report itself, an assessment from (a) third party, notes that our regulatory efficiency has been notably enhanced. This is what President Aquino has always been saying - that we are really after efficiency and government. We have been trying to streamline systems. Business registration that will take anywhere between 24 to 48 hours can now be done in 15 minutes. These are the small things that can help businessmen who want toinvest in the Philippines," Valte said.

"And the other good news, we're also happy to note that in one of the surveys conducted by HSBC... And this is why we believe that it really is more fun in the Philippines like what the Department of Tourism is saying," Valte said.

Asked whether the WEF report could counter the claims of former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo against the Aquino administration, Valte said "these are (assessments) by third (parties) who have no axes to grind against the present administration."

"Some people will say, of course the administration will always promote what is good, what is good with the economy and people on the opposite side of the fence will almost, will always promote what is good about them and what is bad about the present. But at least this is a third party assessment and we can see the recommendations and positive findings as well the points that the third party has also raised," Valte said.

Valte said the WEF report cited that despite some progress, "corruption continues to undermine prospect for long-term economic development and the judiciary, which remains susceptible to political interference and it does provide effective protection for property rights or transparent enforcement of the law."

Valte said President Aquino himself had assured the international community that he would continue to be relentless in the fight against corruption and run after those perpetuating the culture of impunity.

"While some people chose to oversimplify and say that corruption is not the only problem, that's true, there are a lot of other problems that we need to face but this one has big impact on our economy," she said.

"This is what we have been concentrating on again in the past year," she said.

"As regards the comment on the judiciary which remains susceptible to political interference, that is up to a separate branch of government to determine how they will take that observation...On the part of the executive, what the President is saying is when it comes to prosecution, your case must be strong, never let the delay come from the executive branch. Now when it comes to the adjudication of cases, that is something that is up to the judiciary to resolve. Before it takes six years to have conviction or acquittal, it is the judiciary that must take steps to ensure that there will be speed (in the) dispensation of justice," Valte said.

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