Philippines 'no longer the sick man of Asia'

Philippines 'no longer the sick man of Asia'

The Philippines is no longer the "sick man of Asia", as it is now a "viable destination for investments and tourists", President Benigno Aquino has said.

"No longer are we the 'sick man of Asia'; we are now Asia's bright spot," he said yesterday as he received members of the ASEAN Business Club who are attending this week's World Economic Forum on East Asia.

The Philippines has been called Asia's "sick man" - a moniker that once belonged to China - as it has lagged behind many of its neighbours, with inconsistent growth amid massive poverty.

Since Mr Aquino was elected in June 2010, however, it has enjoyed growth rates second only to China's, with gross domestic product spiking 7.2 per cent last year.

The stock market hit record highs and foreign direct investment surged 20 per cent to US$3.9 billion (S$4.9 billion) last year, even as the world economy suffered from a debt crisis in Europe and partial tapering of the United States Federal Reserve's huge bond-buying programme.

"The Philippines has consistently bucked the global trend, with economic growth remaining high, and even surpassing our targets," said Mr Aquino.

He also cited the investment-grade ratings that the Philippines received from Standard & Poor's (S&P), Moody's and Fitch Ratings as "proof positive… that we can reach greater heights".

This month, S&P again upgraded the country's credit rating, to two notches above junk status.

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