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Competitiveness rankings highlight need for infrastructure upgrades, digital readiness

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THE Philippines needs to sustain its investment in physical infrastructure and ensure a digital-ready work force, the head of an Asian Institute of Management (AIM) think tank on competitiveness said.

Jamil Paolo S. Francisco, the executive director of AIM’s Rizalino S. Navaro Policy Center for Competitiveness, made the remarks following the release of the 2019 World Competitiveness Yearbook at AIM in Makati City.

IMD, a Swiss business school, released earlier this week the 2019 World Competitiveness Report, on which the yearbook is based. The competitiveness rankings showed the Philippines partly recovering from a nine-place fall in 2018. The 2019 rankings still leave the Philippines second from the bottom in Asia, beating only Mongolia.

Mr. Francisco, who presented the Philippine component of the report, known as the “Philippine Competitiveness Update,” also identified investment in human capital, sustaining investor and consumer confidence, and the need to address persistent political risk, as key focus areas in the competitiveness agenda.

“We need to help improve job-skill matching, facilitate labor mobility so that people can switch to better jobs as they become available; we need to help workers equip themselves with the skills needed by the industry as quickly as possible, including the “applicability” of whatever they had learning in formal education,” Mr. Francisco said in an e-mail to BusinessWorld after the event.

The Philippines placed 46th out of 63 countries in the 2019 World Competitiveness report, rising four places from 2018.

“While we have improved [the status of Philippine economy], everybody else is improving faster to remain competitive,” according to Rizalina G. Mantaring, who chairs Sun life Financial Philippine Holding Co., Inc. and the Sun Life Foundation, in her capacity as a participant in the launch program’s reactors’ session.

Mr. Francisco, responding to a question on how the Philippines can make progress on digital, said there is a need to retrain the labor force using technologies available now. — Kimani Eros S. Franco

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