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Raising competitiveness

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The Philippines has some catching up to do yet again, as its ranking in the yearly global competitiveness report by the International Institute of Management Development (IMD) dropped by four notches.

Based on the 2023 World Competitiveness Yearbook, the country fell to the 52nd spot out of 64 economies.

In the Asia Pacific region, the Philippines remained the consistent laggard, placing at 13th out of 14 economies for six straight years, still a long way behind the regions topnotchers: Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

According to the report, the weak ranking of the Philippines was attributed to the decline posted in three out of the four main factors of competitiveness.

Business Efficiency factor dipped from 39th in 2022 to 40th in 2023. Infrastructure also fell 1 spot, from 57th to 58th. Government Efficiency, on the other hand, suffered the biggest decline, dropping four places to drop from 48th to 52nd. The lone bright spot was the country’s Economic Performance factor, which improved by 13 spots to 40th, from 53rd last year.

“Some of the challenges that the Philippines faces in 2023 include sustaining economic recovery and growth momentum amidst global downside risks, strengthening social protection and health care systems for inclusive development, addressing learning gaps to improve local education system, investing in sustainable infrastructure to reduce climate change vulnerability, and reinforcing efficient public management strategies to support fiscal responsibility,” IMD’s local partner Asian Institute of Management said in a statement.

That is indeed a long laundry list of goals for a country that wants to restore its global competitiveness, ranging from economy to social protection, health care, education, climate change mitigation, and good governance. We don’t have the quality of leadership and political will to address those concerns all at once, but if our government can pick one and two to work on, the country should have a good chance of staying competitive enough to not fall behind completely.

The question is if our government has the will and the wisdom to choose which goals to go for.*

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