Archive for January, 2007

Can Government Employees Think Like Entrepreneurs?

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

If the CEO of the Philippines Inc has to have an entrepreneurial mindset, the COO’s which in this case of Phil Inc, are the Department Secretaries, have to be enterprising as well. They must have the same basic traits of an entrepreneur which are hardwork, passion and creativity. It is also essential for the managers, supervisors and employees of Philippines Inc to think like entrepreneurs. It would also help if the other government officials like the governors and mayors would look at their respective regions, cities and municipalities as subsidiaries of Phil Inc.

I got different reactions from what I wrote in last week’s column about PGMA the entrepreneur. An overwhelming majority was favorable on how I saw PGMA as an entrepreneur and of course others found me as being “sipsip”.

I chose to write about that topic because I think it is important for people to understand and liken the Philippines to a private corporation and that a certain kind of personality is needed in being a CEO of one.  If we call this corporation Philippines Inc., then the CEO, who is the President must possess an entrepreneurial mindset, someone who is passionate, hardworking and creative.

It is also important for the CEO to create the right macro environment for other stakeholders.  We achieve this with a good communication program to create confidence and trust with our consumers.  In the case of Philippines Inc., it is important that the other stakeholders like lenders and investors from other countries see the Philippines as a bright spot with high growth potential.  The ASEAN Summit in Cebu placed the Philippines at the center of awareness and showed that we are indeed a country with a very promising future.

Aside from the agreements forged during the summit, it is also important how the general investing community saw that Philippines Inc. is on the way to becoming a respectable economic tiger of Asia. My father, who is the 2006 Chair of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, was one of those who helped develop the theme “One Caring and Sharing Community”.  This is the same theme he uses in Forbes Park as the barangay captain and in essence that is what a community is supposed to be. 

When we think in global terms, this is how the more fortunate countries should extend help to countries whose resources and capabilities may not yet be as abundant as theirs.  Being spiritual about it, it is also what God wants to see this world of ours.

Philippines Inc.’s macro environment is very important as this would eventually lead to a Moody’s upgrade in rating which will hopefully happen soon. What is equally important is the holding of peaceful elections regardless of who wins and Namfrel which my father heads will hopefully be able to contribute to a peaceful election process. This is when the Negosyo mindset will start to happen as a greater sense of optimism spreads among the Filipinos.

On February 5, the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship thru GoNegosyo together with our partners from the private sector as well as the Executive Branch of Philippines Inc. will launch our Go Negosyo campaign for 2007.  Our theme for this year is “Teach our nation how to fish and we will feed our nation for many lifetimes”. This is the mission of our organization.


* * * * *


Here are more views of entrepreneurs on the year 2007:

MYLA VILLANUEVA (Managing Director, MDI Group Holdings, Inc.)
I am very optimistic of continued progress towards economic growth and stability, and I would like to believe our political leaders know that responsible and stable governance is a requisite for this.  I am hopeful and have faith that our government can deliver finally on our constant potential, with the cooperation of economic leaders as well.

DOYEE TUMPALAN (President and CEO, First Quadrant Philippines Inc.)
The economy is moving towards a positive direction. There is renewed investment confidence among businessmen and the spending power of the common Filipino has strengthened. The key to sustainability lies mainly in improved perception. The Philippines needs a renewed image away from too much politicking which breeds an impression of instability.  We need a fresh start with the new global Pinoy at the center stage.

MR. ALOYSIUS “NONOY” COLAYCO (President and Chairman, Level Up International)
2007 is likely to continue with strong growth. Main drivers will be OFW remittances, BPO service exports, higher corporate profits generally, and middle income housing. It would certainly help if the government is able to launch infrastructure projects as planned and the agricultural development initiatives.

RICO HIZON (Business and Financial News Anchor, BBC World News)
Developments in the political and economic reform fronts will play a crucial role in further spurring growth in the economy and bullishness in the stock market in 2007. The country is in an election year, and according to many regional strategists I have interviewed, given the current economic fundamentals which are positive, they hope that the Philippine’s political leaders will understand that the market can sustain its growth in 2007 and going forward, only if we can keep in place correct, sober and stable political and economic policies.

RAM SITALDAS (President, Filipino-Indian Chamber of Commerce)
The market is positive to sustain, you need political stability.  To be honest a lot of investors are just waiting to invest in the Philippines.  Happy New Year!

ANTONIO GARCIA (CEO, ChemPhil)
I think business this year will be better but we need to reduce corruption, have an honest and clean election and get rid of bureaucracy.

BETTINA QUIMSON (President, Navigator Systems Inc.)
I feel that the economy has definitely turned upwards.  In order to sustain this, we need less politics and more investments from abroad thru promotion of business process outsourcing which is where our strength lies due to the knowledge skills of the Filipinos and our ability to communicate well in English.

ILLAC DIAZ (Founder, Centro Migrante & My Shelter Foundation)

2007 is a promising year for entrepreneurs.  There’s a lot of money in the economy from infrastructure projects, early election campaigns, and of course the foreign remittances.  I think the long term gain is if these do not remain as consumption indexes but be converted into new businesses and small industries.  It builds a local competitive market for goods than going for imported and watching it flow back out as fast as it came in without a multiplier effect on the economy.  So buy Filipino.

VICTOR TAN (President, Crolific Garments Manufacturing, Corp. maker of Bobson Jeans)
I’m positive on the momentum of our Philippine economy. We need political stability and lower deficits to sustain economic growth. We also need to focus on family planning as a means to regulate population growth. Let’s unite and move to the new era of the entrepreneur!

GLENN ANTHONY SOCO (President and Founder, Coffee Dream Company, Inc.)
All indicators are pointing at the right direction and as an entrepreneur, I have a very positive outlook for this year and I hope there is continued stability and improved confidence.  I believe that the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) also should step-up and be given the much needed support as this is the backbone of our economy.

ARDY ROBERTO (Owner, Salt and Light Ventures)
No matter what condition the economy is, entrepreneurs always find a way to succeed and see opportunity. What’s more important is the condition of our attitudes, our minds, and our spirit.

The Building of a Go Negosyo Mindset

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

I got different reactions from what I wrote in last week’s column about PGMA the entrepreneur. An overwhelming majority was favorable on how I saw PGMA as an entrepreneur and of course others found me as being “sipsip”. 

I chose to write about that topic because I think it is important for people to understand and liken the Philippines to a private corporation and that a certain kind of personality is needed in being a CEO of one.  If we call this corporation Philippines Inc., then the CEO, who is the President must possess an entrepreneurial mindset, someone who is passionate, hardworking and creative.

It is also important for the CEO to create the right macro environment for other stakeholders.  We achieve this with a good communication program to create confidence and trust with our consumers.  In the case of Philippines Inc., it is important that the other stakeholders like lenders and investors from other countries see the Philippines as a bright spot with high growth potential.  The ASEAN Summit in Cebu placed the Philippines at the center of awareness and showed that we are indeed a country with a very promising future.

Aside from the agreements forged during the summit, it is also important how the general investing community saw that Philippines Inc. is on the way to becoming a respectable economic tiger of Asia. My father, who is the 2006 Chair of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, was one of those who helped develop the theme “One Caring and Sharing Community”.  This is the same theme he uses in Forbes Park as the barangay captain and in essence that is what a community is supposed to be. 

When we think in global terms, this is how the more fortunate countries should extend help to countries whose resources and capabilities may not yet be as abundant as theirs.  Being spiritual about it, it is also what God wants to see this world of ours.

Philippines Inc.’s macro environment is very important as this would eventually lead to a Moody’s upgrade in rating which will hopefully happen soon. What is equally important is the holding of peaceful elections regardless of who wins and Namfrel which my father heads will hopefully be able to contribute to a peaceful election process. This is when the Negosyo mindset will start to happen as a greater sense of optimism spreads among the Filipinos.

On February 5, the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship thru GoNegosyo together with our partners from the private sector as well as the Executive Branch of Philippines Inc. will launch our Go Negosyo campaign for 2007.  Our theme for this year is “Teach our nation how to fish and we will feed our nation for many lifetimes”. This is the mission of our organization.


* * * * *


Here are more views of entrepreneurs on the year 2007:

MYLA VILLANUEVA (Managing Director, MDI Group Holdings, Inc.)
I am very optimistic of continued progress towards economic growth and stability, and I would like to believe our political leaders know that responsible and stable governance is a requisite for this.  I am hopeful and have faith that our government can deliver finally on our constant potential, with the cooperation of economic leaders as well.

DOYEE TUMPALAN (President and CEO, First Quadrant Philippines Inc.)
The economy is moving towards a positive direction. There is renewed investment confidence among businessmen and the spending power of the common Filipino has strengthened. The key to sustainability lies mainly in improved perception. The Philippines needs a renewed image away from too much politicking which breeds an impression of instability.  We need a fresh start with the new global Pinoy at the center stage.

MR. ALOYSIUS “NONOY” COLAYCO (President and Chairman, Level Up International)
2007 is likely to continue with strong growth. Main drivers will be OFW remittances, BPO service exports, higher corporate profits generally, and middle income housing. It would certainly help if the government is able to launch infrastructure projects as planned and the agricultural development initiatives.

RICO HIZON (Business and Financial News Anchor, BBC World News)
Developments in the political and economic reform fronts will play a crucial role in further spurring growth in the economy and bullishness in the stock market in 2007. The country is in an election year, and according to many regional strategists I have interviewed, given the current economic fundamentals which are positive, they hope that the Philippine’s political leaders will understand that the market can sustain its growth in 2007 and going forward, only if we can keep in place correct, sober and stable political and economic policies.

RAM SITALDAS (President, Filipino-Indian Chamber of Commerce)
The market is positive to sustain, you need political stability.  To be honest a lot of investors are just waiting to invest in the Philippines.  Happy New Year!

ANTONIO GARCIA (CEO, ChemPhil)
I think business this year will be better but we need to reduce corruption, have an honest and clean election and get rid of bureaucracy.

BETTINA QUIMSON (President, Navigator Systems Inc.)
I feel that the economy has definitely turned upwards.  In order to sustain this, we need less politics and more investments from abroad thru promotion of business process outsourcing which is where our strength lies due to the knowledge skills of the Filipinos and our ability to communicate well in English.

ILLAC DIAZ (Founder, Centro Migrante & My Shelter Foundation)
2007 is a promising year for entrepreneurs.  There’s a lot of money in the economy from infrastructure projects, early election campaigns, and of course the foreign remittances.  I think the long term gain is if these do not remain as consumption indexes but be converted into new businesses and small industries.  It builds a local competitive market for goods than going for imported and watching it flow back out as fast as it came in without a multiplier effect on the economy.  So buy Filipino.

VICTOR TAN (President, Crolific Garments Manufacturing, Corp. maker of Bobson Jeans)
I’m positive on the momentum of our Philippine economy. We need political stability and lower deficits to sustain economic growth. We also need to focus on family planning as a means to regulate population growth. Let’s unite and move to the new era of the entrepreneur!

GLENN ANTHONY SOCO (President and Founder, Coffee Dream Company, Inc.)
All indicators are pointing at the right direction and as an entrepreneur, I have a very positive outlook for this year and I hope there is continued stability and improved confidence.  I believe that the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) also should step-up and be given the much needed support as this is the backbone of our economy.

ARDY ROBERTO (Owner, Salt and Light Ventures)
No matter what condition the economy is, entrepreneurs always find a way to succeed and see opportunity. What’s more important is the condition of our attitudes, our minds, and our spirit.

PGMA the Entrepreneur

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

What is the definition of an entrepreneur? According to AIM professor and entrep guru Andy Ferreria, entrepreneur originated from a French word which means “to undertake, to be in charge of, accountable for, or responsible for”. It does not necessarily mean owning a business since entrepreneurship is a way of life—a state of mind. Some may not agree with Andy since others believe the entrepreneur still needs things like capital in running the business. But instead of capital, it can also be the amount of time spent or the creativity a person uses in innovating or spotting opportunities in the market.

Then we also have intrapreneurs, those working within or for other organizations but having the traits of an entrepreneur who are basically innovators and those good in finding opportunities and pursuing them with passion and hard work.

So how can PGMA be an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur? Last Thursday I had a lunch meeting with the hard working Cerge Reymonde who was back to work even before the Christmas holidays and despite being in a neck brace after a spinal operation. PGMA appointed Cerge as the person in charge of developing MSMEs (micro-small and medium enterprises).

At 10am that day, I got a call that the President will join the lunch. During our lunch, it was my first real working encounter with PGMA and seeing how she really does possess the traits of an entrepreneur in running this country. One could see she was very passionate in pushing forward her vision for MSMEs. She truly wants to see this country move and become one of the most respected Asian countries before her term is over.  She is very hands on too since she could have just let the meeting with me and Cerge proceed but decided to be present in the first meeting.

Hands-on management is one of the key traits of many successful Chinese-Filipino entrepreneurs. As CEOs or entrepreneurs, we are also normally present in critical meetings. This is why you see Socorro Ramos going around her bookstores and personally inspecting each one even at the age of 80. You also see Henry Sy going around making sure that things are in their proper order in his malls and supermarkets.

Creativity is another important trait that I saw in PGMA. To me, creativity is a God given talent, it’s either you have it or you don’t. Also very much like an entrepreneur, she is able to identify business models that will differentiate and would create value.

She has clearly set a vision for the Philippines with micro small and medium enterprises serving as the backbone of the emerging economy. We see this in the USA and many Asian countries like India and China.  As more negosyos are created, more jobs are created.

PGMA is just like any other person who has strengths and weaknesses, but I can say that PGMA does possess what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur in her role in leading the nation as its Chief Executive Officer, and building an enterprising culture among Filipinos. It is very important for the CEO to be enterprising and instill that kind of culture in the organization.

The Philippines Inc is and should be run like a corporation. Its shareholders are the Filipinos, its operations managers are the executive branch and its board of directors are basically two sets:  the senators and congressmen. It would be ideal to have only one set of board of directors, like in a corporation, as it can speed up and facilitate the discussions that would lead to faster decision-making for a more progressive Philippines Inc. If the structure is too heavy, where you have two separate bodies who act as the board of directors, this will ultimately slow down the organization.

The reason young and smaller corporations are able to rise faster is that decisions are made quicker with less bureaucracy. Some say that is the main reason why Singapore and other Asian countries have accelerated as fast as they did.

In line with this, we must also do our share as Filipino citizens. Let’s have a more positive attitude and entrepreneurial mindset. Let’s continue to search for market opportunities and innovations. If we all think this way, we will definitely continue with our country’s upward momentum. Here is a continuation of how entrepreneurs view 2007. Just like the previous batch, they share the same positive vision of the Philippine economy.

FRANCIS LIM (President, Philippine Stock Exchange)
The 42% rise in the stock market in 2006 is a testament to the economy’s growth and investor confidence. Corporate profits have gone up during the first nine months of 2006 by 32.5% under a more stable and healthy business environment and higher consumer demand. 

We share the same outlook of the government and international agencies of higher GDP growth for the country. The inflation rate is expected to go down further and interest rates to be stable if not going lower with lesser inflationary pressures and better fiscal management. Also, the continuous inflows of overseas remittances should continue to provide impetus for higher consumer demand.

A critical factor to sustaining growth this year is the holding of peaceful elections and the challenge to keep government spending according to program even with the said elections.

Overall, we believe that the basic economic fundamentals are in place to allow the private sector to continuously expand and even absorb any possible temporary setback to growth coming from political developments here and abroad.  We trust in the ingenuity of the private sector to continue improving their goods and services to top the profits they have attained in the past years.

KEVIN BELMONTE (President, Philstar.com)
I am bullish on our country’s prospects for 2007 and beyond. But beyond the obvious factors of sustained and consistent fiscal and economic reforms, peaceful elections, execution of lasting infrastructure programs, and enhanced security, we need to get serious about solving our overpopulation. Also, the gap between rich and poor continues to widen. We need to see more wealth trickle down.

ATTY. FELIPE L. GOZON (Chairman, President and CEO, GMA Network, Inc.)
Year 2007 opens the gateway for better opportunities in the market. A more creative business strategy is what is needed to help sustain our economic growth. Equally indispensable is the strong commitment to forge alliances in the business sector to obtain a globally competitive advantage in the world market. This can be made possible by adapting to new technological trends, risk-taking, in-depth market analysis, and a more customer-focused marketing strategy.

DENNIS MENDIOLA (CEO and President, Chikka Asia)
The peso will continue to hold value due to increased OFW remittances. This will also help contain fuel led inflation and lead to more disposable income for consumption. Election spending will also increase money supply which domestic entrepreneurs should take advantage of. The improved fiscal condition of the Philippines could lead to stable banking rates which would benefit local negosyantes. Stay the course. Muffle the political noise. Then we should be relatively ok.

DONNIE TANTOCO III (Executive Vice President, Shopwise Supercenter)
I believe that our macroeconomic situation will continue to improve in 2007. We should protect ourselves, however, from two main potential and external risks: a sudden increase in the price of energy and a sharp downturn in the US economy. Internally, a turbulent political environment will hurt business confidence and also derail past gains and continuing efforts to stabilize our country’s fiscal position.

The government and private sectors need to work harder and more effectively together to address longstanding and fundamental weaknesses such as infrastructure, law and order, security, and education. Beyond the remittances from OFWs, there needs to be other and equally meaningful ways to trickle down the benefits of a growing economy to the majority of Filipinos.

GOV. LUIS RAYMUND VILLAFUERTE JR. (Camarines Sur)
2007 is the year to reap gains brought by the strong resilience and resurgence of the economy in 2006. The peso is on an upsurge, unemployment is low, the influx of tourists is encouraging, exports and agricultural activity are up, our credit rating is positive and investor confidence is stronger than ever. We are on the verge of a significant economic take-off and this year will be the realization of that. I foresee more long term investors taking a serious interest in the Philippines and a definite improvement in our image as an ideal hub for business.

What is needed to sustain this is a better appreciation of what the national government has been doing to give our people a more stable economic climate. We are slowly but steadily reaping the benefits of sound fiscal policies and we are certainly on the right track. What we must then do is to instill a keener sense of collective and united Filipino pride amongst our people.  Let’s be positive, optimistic and hopeful because surely, better things are yet to come.

DOYEE TUMPALAN (President and CEO, First Quadrant Philippines Inc)
The economy is moving towards a positive direction. There is renewed investment confidence among businessmen and the spending power of the common Filipino has strengthened. The key to sustainability lies mainly in improved perception. The Philippines needs a renewed image away from too much politicking which breeds an impression of instability.  We need a fresh start with the new global Pinoy at the center stage.

MYLA VILLANUEVA (Managing Director, MDI Group Holdings, Inc.)
I am very optimistic of continued progress towards economic growth and stability, and I would like to believe our political leaders know that responsible and stable governance is a requisite for this.  I am hopeful and have faith that our government can deliver finally on our constant potential, with the cooperation of economic leaders as well.

MR. ALOYSIUS “NONOY” COLAYCO (President and Chairman, Level Up International)
2007 is likely to continue with strong growth. Main drivers will be OFW remittances, BPO service exports, higher corporate profits generally, and middle income housing. It would certainly help if the government is able to launch infrastructure projects as planned and the agricultural development initiatives.

RICO HIZON (Business and Financial News Anchor, BBC World News)
Developments in the political and economic reform fronts will play a crucial role in further spurring growth in the economy and bullishness in the stock market in 2007. The country is in an election year, and according to many regional strategists I have interviewed, given the current economic fundamentals which are positive, they hope that the Philippine’s political leaders will understand that the market can sustain its growth in 2007 and going forward, only if we can keep in place correct, sober and stable political and economic policies.

VICTOR TAN (President, Crolific Garments Manufacturing, Corp. maker of Bobson Jeans)
I’m positive on the momentum of our Philippine economy. We need political stability and lower deficits to sustain economic growth. We also need to focus on family planning as a means to regulate population growth. Let’s unite and move to the new era of the entrepreneur!

How Do Entrepreneurs See 2007?

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

From people who read the column last week on my father, the social entrepreneur, I didn’t expect that kind of response.  A lot of them were deeply touched by what I wrote and a lot of kleenex were probably sold that day. 

We celebrated my Dad’s birthday last Friday in my parent’s hideaway in Balai Taal.  My uncle celebrated his birthday in their new house in Antipolo but both families paid a tribute to them.  The video we prepared for Dad was quite emotional, which showed what he has done for this country and how he served as a mentor to our family. 

Many successful families tend to forget all these as they get so busy with work. They become so preoccupied with material wealth that their work becomes their god. We can all fall into this trap of false gods and it is in these different events that we hope to come back to the realization of important things in life.

My father gave an emotional speech and was touched by the column even if his real age had to be revealed.   When my time came to give a response why I wrote the article, I told my dad’s guests that something that morning woke me up to write it even as I already prepared an article for the next day . My wife said it was the Holy Spirit and it probably was.  It was indeed a very emotional column for me and I’ll always be reminded that we should never forget to say how much our parents mean to us.


* * * * *


As we welcome the New Year, both Star and Inquirer came out with the headlines that 9 out of 10 Filipinos believe that 2007 will be a good year. This to me is excellent news and it clearly shows that optimism is prevalent and pessimism is losing out. Those who had this attitude in 2006 made a killing in the stock market.  Philippine bonds also did very well and real estate as well as IPO fever is on its way.

I asked 30 entrepreneurs what they thought of 2007 and 100 percent had a positive outlook.  What we need to do to is sustain this momentum.  Here are the first 15 replies of some of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs.  I hope everyone who will read this will be inspired to have the same positive outlook all throughout the year.

JOEY ANTONIO (Chairman, Century Properties Group)
We see the economy maintaining its momentum.  To sustain this, the government must implement its major infrastructure projects as many roads, and other facilities which are more than 20 years old.  The expansion of tourism for example can also be realized if the new airports are built to lure investments in hotels and lodging without which tourists cannot be served.  With single digit interest rates are being experienced, banks should start prudently lending for expansion of businesses.  I am betting that if the mega projects announced during the President’s SONA is implemented, among others, we will see the longest economic boom in the country.

GUILLERMO LUCHANGCO (Chairman and CEO, ICCP Venture Partners)
Looks positive, to maintain, we need continued fiscal discipline and avoid major political scandals or abuses during elections.

EMERSON YAO (General Manager, Lucerne)
I feel the economy will be good in 2007.  The positive results in 2006 will continue on backed by positive outlook from most businesses.  Growth will be sustained if government can implement good policies and continue with reforms.  We just need control, peace and order and to empower entrepreneurs!  The start up entrepreneurs today will be the future source of growth for the economy.

AMBASSADOR DONALD DEE (President, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
It is definitely positive but we must massively work on infrastructure and work on factors to improve productivity.

DORIS MAGSAYSAY-HO (Chairperson and CEO, Magsaysay Maritime Corporation)
I think you and Go Negosyo are proof that effort, hard work and determination with a clear vision can motivate and galvanize society towards progress– one bit at a time. 

DENNIS VALDES (President, PhilWeb Corporation)
We must try to sustain economic gains into 2007.  We need more  encouragement for entrepreneurial efforts, encourage more Filipino companies to innovate new products and services, save money to invest in new businesses and urge Filipino companies to venture abroad and conquer foreign markets.  I have full faith in the Philippine economy for 2007.  We have always been resilient people, and if we build on our pride of being Filipino and have faith in our abilities, then we will have a stellar 2007. 

RENATO DE GUZMAN (CEO, ING Private Banking)
2007 looks positive, with Asia likely to decouple from the slowing US economy.  The Philippines would continue to grow but at a slower pace.  Sustainability will depend on political stability and good governance. 

ROBERT YUPANGCO (Yupangco Holdings Corporation)
Considering that election time is around the corner (money will circulate etc.), economy will be good!  To sustain it, confidence with peace and order will be imperative. Also the 7 sins we have to avoid in 2007! Politics without principles, wealth without work, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, commerce without integrity, knowledge without wisdom and justice without compassion.  Happy New Year ahead!

CECILIO PEDRO (President and CEO, Lamoiyan Corporation)
Economy will move forward in 2007.  Government should continue to invest in infrastructure that will promote foreign investment.

RICARTE GAPUZ (President, R.A. Gapuz Review Center)
I am very positive that the economy will continue to grow at a better and faster rate.  The President’s economic reforms have brought tremendous economic gains.  We need the support of all sectors to sustain the gains of the country.  Filipinos should unite for a new revolution – the GMA economic revolution.

ANTON GONZALEZ (President, Planet Sports)
Being in the retail business, I see positive growth in 2007 especially in the restaurant and services category which should drive the retail sector growth.  We need to maintain the strength of the peso versus the dollar and keep the peace and order situation stable.  With those two things in place, same stores sales should have double digit growth.  There should also be economic focus in the areas other than Metro Manila so we can see level growth in the country.

JOSIAH GO (Chairman and Chief Marketing Strategist, Mansmith and Fielders Inc.)
It’s going to be bullish.  We just have to watch out our own attitude.  Blue oceans ahead!

PATRICK GO (Paramount Life and General Insurance Corporation)
2007 will be what we make of it.  Certainly always room for improvement to do things better and make our lives more meaningful.  Sustaining our gains will always be a challenge but always look ahead and count our blessings.  Onwards and upwards!  Mabuhay!

MICHAEL TAN (CEO, Asia Brewery)
I see 2007 ending in a positive note.  In order to achieve this we need to have a successful midterm election.  The government should continue its long term pro-investment and pro-job creation policies and should win its fight against terrorism and insurgency. 

J.ROBERTO DELGADO (Founder and Group Chairman, Transnational Diversified Group)
The Philippine economy has started to roll.  In order for it to be sustainable, I think the politicians ought to stop fighting each other and work together instead to create a healthy environment for business and the Filipinos.  A stable environment with low crime, health care and education for the poor, and provide synergistic incentives and legislation for business.  The church should focus on saving souls and not interfere in government.  Both church and state should focus on their goals and allow business to focus on theirs.  Meanwhile, all sectors should help alleviate poverty, cooperate in providing opportunities for education and meaningful employment.