Philippines 3rd most preferred market for global fund - positive outlook

The Bank of America-Merrill Lynch survey citing the Philippines as the third most preferred market for global fund managers reflects the positive outlook for the Philippine economy that is enhanced by the accountability, transparency and good governance espoused by the Aquino administration, a Palace official said Wednesday.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Aquino administration remains positive that the Philippine economy will continue to grow amid the economic situation in the US and Europe.

"I think when the survey was taken, it has taken into account all the factors -- external and internal. The external factors are the factors that are experienced globally while certainly they look into the internal factors," Lacierda said.

"They have seen the promise of good governance . . . Our efforts to anti-corruption will certainly lead to good governance and would lead to a situation where the Philippines has been perceived as an attractive area for investment," he said.

The Bank of America-Merrill Lynch survey said the Philippines comes after China and Indonesia in the list of most preferred markets in the world for global fund managers.

"This is borne of expectations that in the wake of four credit upgrades, the country will be further upgraded to investment grade later this year. The survey also cites investor confidence being boosted by the President's reform agenda," Lacierda said.

"The simple fact is justice, accountability, transparency, good governance, and the improvement of the economy to accomplish inclusive growth are an indivisible whole. An economy that is inclusive is one in which citizens are empowered to improve their lives and contribute to the well-being of the national community," he said.

The Philippines received upgrades last year from London-based Fitch Ratings, from BB to BB+ and the Moody's Investors Services in June 2011. Standard & Poor's upgraded the country from stable to positive in November of 2010.

Meanwhile, Malacañang Wednesday hailed the Senate Blue Ribbon committee for recommending plunder charges against former President Arroyo for alleged mismanagement of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds.

Lacierda said the Office of the Ombudsman must now look into the fourth plunder complaint against Arroyo recommended by the Senate committee.

"The findings of the blue ribbon committee on the mismanagement and plunder of PCSO funds shows what happens when the misdeeds of the past are exposed to daylight. We commend Senator Teofisto Guingona III's graft-busting investigation. Congressional oversight is a crucial weapon in the fight to punish wrongdoing and hold erring officials to account," Lacierda said in a Palace news briefing.

"The ball is now in the court of the Ombudsman to file charges for plunder against the officials involved," he added.

Lacierda said the government is determined to rectify the wrongs of the past despite the obstacles set by Arroyo and her allies.

The Senate Blue Ribbon committee earlier claimed that Arroyo should be charged with plunder and technical malversation for the release of 325 million in PCSO intelligence funds in her last three years in office.

Three other plunder cases have been filed against Arroyo, currently under hospital arrest pending a trial for electoral sabotage charges. (With a report from Genalyn D. Kabiling)

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