Thanks to President Fidel Ramos! His vision that aims to transform Philippines into a newly industrializing country by the year 2000 have triggered a remarkable economic turnaround for the country.
During the past years, protectionism and state intervention have been replaced by economic liberalization and industry deregulation. With the near completion of privatization of major state-owned companies, plans for the subsequent privatization includes the sale of public utilities and some basic social services. This is done in hope that the country will be placed in a good position to exploit its potential traditional strengths such as a good strategic site, a working democracy, bountiful natural resources, a highly westernized business atmosphere and a high standard of living.
There is no doubt that much of the economic activities remain concentrated in Metro Manila. However, there are a number of other dynamic growth centers spreading across the Philippines. A notable example is the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, which has been transformed from an American naval base into a successful commercial-industrial-tourism center with a new international airport.
The agricultural sector sees the involvement of about two-thirds or more than 40% of Filipinos. Rice remains the most important agricultural product. In order to increase the economic growth of the country, the Filipinos rely on major products such as coconuts (copra and coconut oil), abaca (Manila hemp), tobacco, and sugar for export purposes. The island republic is, however, diversifying from agricultural and mineral product exports into higher value manufactured and luxury goods such as electronics, apparel and clothing accessories as well as computer-related products.
Despite the growing economy, the government was able to keep the domestic inflation under control at an approximate 4.8% in 1998.
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