Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Business - Economists back ‘open skies’ policy - INQUIRER.net

Business - Economists back ‘open skies’ policy - INQUIRER.net

Economists back ‘open skies’ policy
By Doris Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 18:10:00 04/12/2011

Filed Under: Economy and Business and Finance, Air Transport, Laws, Tourism

MANILA, Philippines—A group of prominent Filipino economists backs the Aquino administration’s “open skies” policy, believing this will put the country on track to faster economic growth.

Foundation for Economic Freedem (FEF) said in a statement that the issuance of Executive Order 29 liberalizing further the aviation industry would be a “movement toward greater economic freedom and is a good signal from the Aquino administration that the country is open for business.”

FEF, an organization that seeks to expand economic freedom, has among its members the country's top economists, some of whom served in the economic management teams of previous administrations. They include Gerardo Sicat, Roberto De Ocampo, Felipe Medalla, Dante Canlas, Ernest Leung, Raul Fabella, Romeo Bernardo, Calixto Chikiamco and Arsenio Balisacan.

E.O. 29 is a directive “authorizing the Civil Aeronautics Board and the Philippine Air Panels to pursue more aggressively the international civil aviation policy” and gives secondary gateways the opportunity to be connected to international and local markets and bring tourists and investors directly to destinations such as Clark, Laoag, Cebu, Davao, Puerto Princesa and others.

Liberalizing civil aviation, according to the FEF, will increase seat capacity and bring in more tourists and business travelers, thereby spurring job and income growth, especially in the countryside.

"The benefits of tourism-related growth will trickle down to handicraft suppliers, hotels and restaurants, transportation companies and the like," the economists said.

FEF dismissed the objections of critics of the “open skies” policy, saying that reciprocity should not be defined by the access of local airlines to foreign markets, but should also cover the benefits that would accrue to the country as a whole.

Besides, FEF said access to the Philippines should not be held hostage to the plane capacities of local airlines. The overall interest of the country should prevail, the group said.

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