Aquino vows government support for ailing electronics sector
LAPU-LAPU CITY—President Benigno Aquino III on Friday lauded the electronics industry for its contribution to the economy despite declining demand for its exports, and promised his administration’s “active support” for the industry that has been severely affected by the global slowdown and the effects of the disaster that hit Japan last year.
“My government is determined to meet any challenge that might arise in your (sector) with equal resilience and equal fervor. You can continue to count on my administration’s active support for the semiconductor and electronics industries,” Mr. Aquino told participants at the World Electronics Forum and Semiconductor and Electronic Industries in the Philippines Inc. (Seipi) general membership meeting in this city.
“Your industry, for the past couple of years, was left reeling from the effects of the disaster that hit Japan, on top of a global economic slowdown that spanned years,” the President said, noting that the industry’s exports dropped to a 50-percent share of the country’s total exports in 2011 from an average share of 65 percent.
“This contributed to the decline in total merchandise exports, which pulled down the 2011 GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate by an estimated 2.2 percentage points,” Mr. Aquino said.
The Philippines provides about 10 percent of the world’s semiconductor manufacturing services with products that include mobile phone chips and microprocessors. It is also the site for the manufacture of other electronic products like the antilock car braking system, CD-ROM drives, digital signal processing units, printed circuit boards and disk drives.
Despite the decline, the industry’s direct employment grew by six percent, from 500,000 in 2010 to 530,000 in 2011, the President said, calling it an encouraging sign.
Mr. Aquino also credited the industry for its innovation, understanding and vision that forged the industry’s resilience. “You have been able to thrive, and not merely survive, in the Philippines despite the limitations presented by the business environment, which cannot be separated from the political milieu,” he said.
He told the forum that he expected the industry to achieve greater heights as it “builds on the momentum that the country is experiencing right now.”
Similarly, industry leaders projected bright prospects for the sector.
Seipi chair Bing Viera said the comparative figures for investment in the first two months of the year showed an improvement.
He said the industry recorded $4.16 billion in investments in January and February 2011, but that during the same period in 2012, investments reached $4.49 billion, an increase of about 7 percent. The bulk of these investments came from the semiconductor subsector, he added.
Viera said the industry is expected to post a major recovery in the next two to three months. Industry leaders said they expect electronics exports to increase from 10 to 15 percent this year despite last year’s drop of 20 percent.
Some 200 leaders of the electronics industry from several countries attended the four-day 17th World Electronics Forum.
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