The 2013 economic outlook was happy—an ed’s note by Judith Torres
The 7th happiest and 17th most generous people on Planet Earth have much more to be excited, joyous and big-hearted about in 2013.
October 15, 2018
Photo by Bash Carlos via Unsplash
BluPrint is about to celebrate 20 years in publication. In anticipation of that, we unearth the first Editor’s Note of every editor-in-chief we ever had. Four years of BluPrint was under the leadership of Judith Torres, who before becoming editor-in-chief spent five years performing other editorial roles in the team. Read her opening for Volume 1, 2013 below.
The Maya were wrong—or at least, the people who interpreted the Mayan calendar were. Still, we derived some entertainment from the prospect of doomsday—if not from the outlandish preparations of doomsdayers around the world, then at least from Hollywood. Blockbuster movie 2012, its mockbuster 2012 SuperNova, The Book of Eli, Death Race, I am Legend, Escape from LA, and The Postman are all post-apocalyptic depictions of Earth (or some part of it) set in 2012 and 2013.
Despite December 21, 2012 turning out to be the biggest non-event of all time, the appetite for end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it thrillers is insatiable. In 2013, over-the-top post-apocalyptic, post-cataclysmic After Earth, Oblivion and Pacific Rim are coming soon to theaters near you. Psychologists say the fascination with doomsday predictions is a repudiation of the world as it is and a desire for a fresh start, never mind Utopia.
Isn’t that so un-Pinoy? We may repudiate a lot of things—we are, after all, the world’s most emotional people—but we don’t hide in doomsday pods. After letting loose a little steam we’re ready to laugh and smile again and return to business as usual.
Thank goodness, business has been better than usual. The 7th happiest and 17th most generous people on Planet Earth have much more to be excited, joyous and big-hearted about in 2013.
Our economy beat expectations in 2012, growing by 6.5% as of writing instead of the target 5-6%. The World Bank, which in May 2012 forecast only a 4.2% growth for the Philippines, adjusted its forecast upwards three times last year. All major international rating agencies raised our credit rating from stable to positive in 2012, bringing us now to just one notch below investment grade, which local and foreign analysts agree we will attain this year. (To put this in perspective, from 2000 to 2010, the country’s credit rating was upgraded just once, and downgraded six times by the different agencies.)
The construction industry looks bright. The value of starting projects in 2013 will more than triple 2012’s, from P324.63 billion to P1.18 trillion! According to BCI Asia, the National Capital Region (NCR) tops the list with P456 billion worth of projects, followed by Western Visayas and Central Visayas with P209 billion and P182 billion, respectively.
A big chunk of the spending will come from government. This year, our national budget is P2.006 trillion, 10.5% higher than 2012’s budget of P1.816 trillion. From this new budget, P409.8 billion is earmarked for infrastructure projects. Here are a few:
- P26.2 billion – to cement 1,175 kilometers of gravel-type roads, 254% up over 2012
- P22.8 billion – for preventive maintenance of 1,611 kilometers of road, and rehabilitation of 1,018 kilometers of road
- P12 billion – for the construction and rehabilitation of access roads to 164 strategic tourism destinations, 300% more than 2012
- P7.9 billion – to upgrade temporary bridges to permanent structures
- P3.5 billion – for construction, rehabilitation and full pavement of 15 airports and nine ports and wharves
- P3.3 billion – to extend LRT Line 1 South, from Baclaran to Bacoor, Cavite
- P2.0 billion – to extend LRT Line 2 East, from Santolan, Marikina, to Masinag, Antipolo
In his State of the Nation Address last July, President Aquino said 40,000 classrooms and 2,573,212 chairs would be built before the end of 2012. He also said that the backlog of 61.7 million textbooks would be greatly eased if not eradicated before 2013.
So many numbers to look forward to and hold one another accountable for! Yes, the Philippines is no longer a joke. I’m so happy I could cry.