Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Local CEOs remain upbeat about the Philippines

Erik de la Cruz
Business Mirror

THE Philippines has been described to be now teetering toward a recession, and political uncertainties ahead of the 2010 elections are clouding the country’s future, but some of the top local chief executives remain upbeat regarding the domestic economy’s performance.

Through interviews of the country’s top CEOs, audit and business-advisory firm Isla Lipana & Co. —the Philippine member-firm of the global PricewaterhouseCoopers network—found that many executives are still bullish about their organizations’ growth prospects.

The firm launched on Monday night its project called Philippine Resiliency: A Gem Uncovered—or Project PR—which involved publishing in a booklet the insights of CEOs of some of the country’s largest and most important companies.

Interviewed were at least 25 CEOs, according to Isla Lipana managing partner for tax Alexander Cabrera. Among those who gave positive insights were staunch critics of the government, he said.

Outgoing Isla Lipana chairman and senior partner Tammy Lipana said: “Project PR sought to confirm the upbeat view of the featured CEOs of the country’s economic performance and gauge their confidence in the resiliency of the Philippines given what is expected to be a long and deep global economic downturn.”

Those who shared their insights through the project include Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala of Ayala Corp., Aurelio Montinola III of Bank of the Philippine Islands, Erramon Aboitiz of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Tony Tan Caktiong of Jollibee Foods Corp., Lance Gokongwei of JG Summit Holdings, Pedro Roxas of Roxas Holdings, and Rex Drilon II of Ortigas & Co.Ltd.

The heads of sectoral organizations also shared their views, including Corazon de la Paz-Bernardo of the International Social Security Association, Ramon del Rosario Jr. of the Makati Business Club, and Oscar Suarez of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines.

“It is heartening to note that these top CEOs are indeed unfazed by the global economic slump and, in fact, are enthusiastic about what is in store for the Philippines and their companies over the long term,” Lipana said.

“We hope foreign investors and other stakeholders will share their optimism on the Philippines,” she said.

The launching of the Philippine Resiliency booklet was one of the highlights of the 87th anniversary celebration of the firm at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City on Wednesday night.

Also formally announced was the change in leadership of the firm, with Lipana retiring as chairman and senior partner and incumbent vice chairman Judith Lopez taking over. Lipana has reached the retirement age of 55.

Lopez, whose term begins on July 1, joined the firm in 1978 and became a partner in 1991. She has served as the firm’s vice chairman since 2006 and as managing partner for assurance since 2001.

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