NPPA/NPPA - MANILA, Philippines - Yahoo! interviews British Ambassador to the Philippines, Asif Ahmad, at the Yahoo! Philippines headquarters (Adrian Bautista/NPPA IMAGES)
PH is among Asia’s emerging powers, says British Ambassador
With its vast natural resources and an economic growth “that’s unrivaled by many across the region,” the Philippines is one of the emerging powers to watch, a diplomat has said.
“There’s no reason why over the next 20, 30 years, the Philippines will not fulfill the ambitions of what we believe the country has,” British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad told Yahoo Philippines in a recent interview. Ahmad has been deployed to the country for over a year now.
Ahmad said that among the members of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN), he perceives the Philippines “as a leading member of it.”
“We have created our links, we invest more time in terms of visits and attention than other countries. It’s part of our narrative of emerging powers and we see the Philippines as one of them,” he added, noting that this is also why Great Britain takes pride as the single-largest investor in the Philippines from the European Union.
Even politics does not appear to be a threat. In fact, Ahmad believes discussions on political developments such the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Allocation Program (DAP) are good.
“In any democracy, we see lively politics as being healthy and issues are being discussed in the open. It would be worse if corruption in the country like the Philippines or elsewhere was kept quiet or if the media are frightened to mention it,” he added.
But while a bright future appears to be in store for the Philippines, Ahmad admits the Philippine government has so much work to do. And if the Philippines wants to get the global attention it deserves, it must improve its airport and transport system.
“I’m looking at tourism, [PH has] a huge opportunity, the finest natural assets in the region. The challenge now, of course, is to how to get to each and every destination. [There must be] airport investment, reliable transport from A to B, and that in turn, generate employment…that’s a great opportunity,” Ahmad said.
Ahmad says untapped opportunities for the Philippines also include rural development.
“If you have connections or infrastructure and transport systems, livelihoods will improve. People will be able to produce food not only for the Philippines but for export,” said Ahmad. - Yahoo News