Aside from its consistent economic growth, another factor being touted

as the Philippines’ unique selling proposition for investors is the country’s

young and sophisticated, English-speaking workforce, said former lawmaker

Charito B. Plaza, who now heads Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

For one, Plaza said the Filipino workforce has a high literacy rate of 94.6

percent. “Filipinos are easy to train, hardworking and very friendly,” she said.

In the UAE, most employers prefer Filipinos for the same reasons.

Plaza, citing recent studies, said Filipinos in the IT sector “are considered global

knowledge workers because they are intelligent and able to compete at the

highest levels among the best in the world.”

The PEZA chief said one million Filipinos reach working age every year with

half of them college graduates.

Plaza said the Philippines scored 17.3 percent in a 2014 survey of Japanese-

affiliated companies in Asia and Oceania in terms of quality of workers – the

highest, followed by Vietnam at 14.1 percent and Thailand at 6.2 percent;

Indonesia scored lowest at 4.9 percent.

In terms of high employee retention rates, Philippines also scored highest in the

survey at 13.7 percent, followed again by Vietnam at 9.8 percent, with Malaysia

this time scoring lowest at 3.9 percent.

Meantime, the same survey showed the Philippines running away by a huge

margin at 37.4 percent in tax holidays followed by Thailand at 13.7 percent,

Malaysia, 13.4 percent and Vietnam, 12.1 percent. Indonesia scored lowest at 4

percent.

Plaza recently led a team of PEZA officials in a trade mission to Dubai where

she presented investment opportunities as well as the advantages of opening

businesses in the Philippines.

She cited the Philippines’ foreign investor-friendly policies where companies

can remit profits, repatriate obligations and have a 100-percent ownership as

plus factors complimenting the country’s competent workforce.