“From the womb, to school, to work, change has touched the Filipino,” President Benigno S. Aquino told his nation Monday afternoon in an annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) that took more than an hour and close to 10,000 words—and a video—to deliver. And he made a convincing case, although he overdid the blame game targeting his predecessor as well as repeated references to his “bosses,” the Filipino people.
If Mr. Aquino had dropped the first and last quarters of his speech, he quite possibly might have delivered one of the most memorable speeches in the history of Philippine democracy. Not that there have been many. As it was, Sona 2012 was a resounding—albeit long winded—accounting of the often overlooked accomplishments of an administration that was elected in an emotional wave of hope for something better than the classic cynicism of Philippine politics and its clumsy disregard of the hearts and minds of Filipinos.
Medical BPO (business process outsourcing) is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Philippine IT-BPO industry. So although US visas for medical professionals have become scarce, there are other well-paying career opportunities for nurses and doctors that are coupled with the benefits of living at home near family and friends, and enjoying the magnificent lifestyle the Philippines offers.
Consider an example: while other nursing professionals spend their days and nights within a four-cornered nurses’ station typical of a Philippine or US hospital, registered nurse Katheryne Gutierrez spends her time in one of the country’s premiere corporate power centers, working in the healthcare management information outsourcing sector. While she’s here, however, her clients are abroad.
For some local government unit (LGUs) officials, constituency service means putting up a diploma mill and providing a free education to individuals who emerge from these institutions as unemployable as they entered. They frequently wind up working in government.
It’s easy to overlook agriculture. It accounts for just 12.3% of the economy, and is dwarfed by industry (33.3%) and services (54.4%). After years languishing as Asia’s embarrassing backwater economy, Goldman Sachs now estimates that the Philippine economy will jump from the 46th largest in the world to the 14th by 2050. HSBC makes a similar forecast, placing the Philippines 16th globally, fifth in Asia, and number one in Southeast Asia.
Neither forecast places much emphasis on agriculture. They suggest that economically, the Philippines is successfully transitioning from an agricultural economy to a largely services economy. There are calls—most notably from the Asian Development Bank—to expand the industrial sector to ease over-reliance on services and provide more jobs for the Philippines’ large, largely unskilled labor pool.