Bernardo M. Villegas
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Greater Focus on Health Sector

           One blessing in disguise of the COVID-19 pandemic is the greater focus that Philippine society is now giving to the health sector.  On the part of the Government, there is a greater allocation of both operating and capital budgets to health-oriented services and projects.  In fact, part of the capital budget for the Build Build Build program is actually being shifted to more hospital and other health-related facilities.  Because of the perceived increase in market demand for both health-related products and services, businesses—both large and small—are expanding their exposure to the health sector.  We expect to see more business conglomerates following the examples of the First Pacific Group, the Ayala Corporation and the UNILAB group in investing in hospitals, clinics, and other related investments.  Since there is the general awareness that COVID-19 is here to stay, even if a vaccine is finally developed, private citizens will continue indefinitely into the future to practise the safety measures of washing their hands frequently, using all types of disinfectants on surfaces, wearing masks and social distancing.  These more or less permanent habits will surely create a bigger market for alcohol and all types of disinfectants, face masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items.  There is a great probability that consumer expenditures on health-related items, which would include all types of products and services (like fitness gyms)  that increase immunity against all types of diseases,  will compete with what used to be spent on fashion goods, luxury items,  entertainment and even tourism.  To address this threat to their markets, products like Nike shoes are no longer positioning themselves as part of fashion goods but as indispensable for physical fitness programs!

   Featured Books

       The historical trends, empirical findings, and policy updates are discussed in detail in the essays compiled in this book. The most convincing argument that supports the thesis of the book, i.e. that population growth is a poitive factor in attaining sustainable human development, is found in the foreword to the book, which is adopted from an article written by Mr. Roberto de Ocampo, former Finance Secretary of the Philippines and multi-awarded finance official in Asia. Thanks to the continuing growth of the Philippines population, Filipinos are in more than 100 countries all over the world, contributing much-needed foreign echange and purchasing power to the Philippine economy and fostering the human and spiritual development of the most diverse of peoples and cultures on this planet.

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Dr. Bernie Villegas at the Asia CEO Forum 2020

Watch Dr. Bernie Villegas tells the economic future of the nation at the Asia CEO Forum 2020!   LINK: