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The Runaway Philippine Peso

Surge of OFW's (Overseas Filipino Worker) remittance to the Philippines has brought significant appreciation in the Philippine peso coupled with the structural weakening of the mighty US dollar. Many question pops-up in one's mind. Will the continued appreciation be good or bad for our economy?

What will be the short and long term impact to us. In my layman's point of view, short term impact would be in the export oriented SMEs. Chances for this enterprises to survive is to downsize its staff to lower cost and to make it more competitive. On one hand OFW's dilemma would be if to continue working overseas or opt to stay and be unemployed.

The good thing about stronger peso would be a suplus in the 2008 national budget from foreign debt servicing. Gains from the forex adjustment could be realigned to basic services particularly in the development of agricultural infrastructure and post harvest facilities to bring down the cost of food. Likewise, to make farmers minimize losses and maximize their profit.

Why focus in the agricultural sector? If the agricultural sector produce is less, farm products will cost more. And with the lifting of trade barriers imposed by World Trade Organization (WTO), consumers will likely to buy imported cheaper products. Eventually, it will render our lowly farmer jobless because of stiff competition. Effect of which will be felt in the steady influx in the urban centers of people from the countryside, which is not good.

I hope that our leaders should take this opportunity as a challenge.

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