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My column last week topped all the “Ask Go Negosyo” columns in terms of the number of responses that I received from people. Entitled “The Love of a Daughter”, the column shared a letter addressed to me written by my daughter Monica. It was her way of convin-cing me to take the offer for ambassadorship. It feels so good when your own children acknowledge the work you do and reconfirm their love for you.
We Filipinos are very family orien-ted. The Concepcion clan, I would say, is quite close and clannish. In parties, we would cluster together, which has its pros and cons.
Christmas is a big event. For many, it’s a time for family gatherings. Many Filipino-Americans take this opportunity to come back and spend Christmas with their families here in the Philippines.
Just when I thought that Filipinos are the only ones who come in hoards to send off or welcome a family member, I observed that Filipino-Indian families are also clannish. My Punta Fuego beach buddy, Haresh Hiranand, complains that his wife has a big family and that they are also quite clannish. Haresh is the only child and heir to the numerous Jollibee and Chowking franchised outlets. His father was one of the pioneer franchisees of Jollibee. I guess things are a bit different when you are the only son. But, for sure he will be exempted from family fights. (Just kidding Haresh!)
My wife and I have constant debates, as I would like to have my children to still live with me even as they get married until a certain point. But, she wants them on their own right away. As for my parents, three of my sisters still live with them. I pity their husbands. Kidding aside, there is nothing wrong about being so family oriented. This is also very typical in our culture.
Yesterday’s paper mentioned that our reserves now reached 60 billion. It is much higher than our foreign debt. I was able to mention in my column early this year that I expect this to happen. It is very good when your total reserves exceed your total debt. At the current trend where you will count the direct foreign investments on the Private-Public Partnership Projects and other tourism-related projects, the 100-billion reserve in two years is achievable. At the rate that our Central Bank is defending the peso, they are flooding the system with a lot of pesos. Interest rates have to go down to the levels of three percent to stop the peso from appreciating. For the first time, I am seeing a five-percent loan rate on one of my mortgages.
Being family oriented is the basic reason why our dollar reserves are going higher. Many OFWs and FilAms continue to support their families. They want to share their fortune and fruits of hard labor, to see their children get to better schools, or to help parents and siblings here in the Philippines. This family bond is a blessing to our country. Just imagine if we are not family oriented, it will be a struggle for our country.
Our country has a $4.15 billion increase in our reserves in just a month. Our total external debt was previously at $55 billion. This is probably the first time that our reserves have exceeded our external debt. The big jump in foreign exchange (FX) reserves is mainly due to BSP’s decision to take delivery on maturing FX forwards. In terms of reserves, we now rank higher than Argentina, Hungary, Canada, UK, among others. Our reserve is 37.5 percent of GDP.
It is definitely an asset to be family oriented. Our reserves will continue to grow because Filipinos abroad care about their loved ones back home. Let’s continue to be proud of this trait and continue to encourage Filipino bonding.
Incoming Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario has picked good ambassadors, like my good friend former Central Bank Governor Joey Cuisia. His wife Vicky is a fellow director in a foundation. We both support the Laura Vicuna, which helps street children. She is an ever supporting wife to Joey. I am sure they will miss their grandchildren, as they have to spend time in Washington. Joey has to be there as the Philippine Ambassador to the US.
Likewise, Carlos Salinas will be Philippine Ambassador to Spain. Go Negosyo awarded him years back as an inspiring entrepreneur during our OFW Negosyo event. Carlos is the founder of the Philippine Transmarine Carriers. Her daughter, Carla Limcaoco, is also a trustee to Go Negosyo. She told me that she was inspired by my daughter’s letter. She also said that they too faced the hard decision of accepting the role.
It is a sacrifice to be separated from family, especially at this age. But, then again, many of these ambassadors will be doing great service to our country, as the primary source of our growing reserves is the Filipino abroad. It would have been a great honor for me to serve. But, the impact of Go Negosyo in the lives of those struggling to survive as micro entrepreneurs is a priority. Go Negosyo is a source of hope for many of these entrepreneurs.
For the past few days, Go Negosyo has been busy with activities for different sectors. Last Saturday, we had a Negosem (Negosyo Seminar) for the blind, in partnership with ATRIEV School for the Blind. Yesterday, we also just had a Negosem sa Muntinlupa Maximum Security Bilibid for over 300 prisoners who have livelihood projects inside and who are about to be freed. Most of their projects are wood carvings, paintings, paper mache, and boats inside bottles. We shared the need for change in mindset and creativity and for being market-driven.
I would like to invite everyone to our upcoming Go Negosyo activities. Take advantage of our free seminars and mentoring sessions with our Angelpreneurs. Start taking those first few steps in starting your own negosyo.
1.) Dec. 12 – Go Negosyo NEGOSEM (Negosyo Seminar) at the 7th Mega Balik-Bayan/OFW Expo 2010 at the Megatrade Hall, SM Megamall
2.) Dec. 14 – NEGOSEM: Pamaskong Handog ng Go Negosyo at QC at the Bulwagang Amoranto, Quezon City Hall
3.) Jan. 20 – Go Negosyo DAY8 Entrep Marketing Seminar
4.) Jan. 22 – AISEC Negosyo Convergence (ANC) at the Philippine Trade Training Center, Pasay City
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org or Joey Concepcion Facebook account. Visit www.gonegosyo.net. Watch the top rating entrep show GO NEGOSYO: Kaya Mo! In QTV, Saturday and Sunday 8 to 8:30 a.m., with replays in NBN every Tuesday 8 to 9p.m. Get daily Go Negosyo Text Tips in your mobile phone by sending GONEGO to 2910.