By Shielo Mendoza
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom
Industry leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) will discuss how the Philippines can become the next Asian Tiger in its largest business conference to be held on Wednesday and Thursday at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati City.
Asian Tiger is a term used in reference to the highly developed economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.
Rising above ranking Philippines is currently placed in the lower half of the economic ranking of the 10 member countries of ASEAN.
Despite the low ranking, the ASEAN can see a potential in the country with its new leadership, said Dato Timothy Ong, a leading Brunei businessman, during the launch of the ASEAN 100 Leadership Forum on Monday.
He added that President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s promise of a new Philippines free of corruption has resulted to a degree of optimism in the economic aspect.
Earlier in September, the World Economic Forum reported that the Philippines has moved 10 places up – from 85th to 75th in the world – in the 2011-2012 Global Competitiveness Report.
Dato Ong, who is the founder of Asia Inc. Forum and convenor of the ASEAN meet, also commended the wealth of human resources in the Philippines and its world-class companies such as Jollibee and Ayala Land.
“Filipinos are the most talented in the world. They are good, hardworking, skillful workers,” he said.
The Brunei businessman said he was convinced that the country can be the next Asian Tiger especially with its centers of excellence.
“Philippines has become the most competitive destination for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), even better than India,” Dato Ong said.
ASEAN as an integrated economy
Aside from establishing the Philippines as the next Asian Tiger, the industry leaders will also tackle the challenges of integrating the economies of Southeast Asian nations or also known as the One ASEAN.
“ASEAN speaks with one voice in diplomatic issues but not on the economic arena,” Dato Ong said.
In order to achieve One ASEAN, he urged the member countries to put the region above national interests especially now in a world of globalization.
“A One ASEAN is important to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and economic stability in the region,” the businessman said.