Good governance, synergies urged for next leaders

The next president of the Philippines should make governance and synergies a priority if the country is to recover from the ravages of the pandemic, become resilient to external shocks, and poise itself for sustainable growth, business leaders said.

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During a virtual forum organized by top think-tank Stratbase ADR Institute “Business Agenda for the Next Administration”, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry George Barcelon stressed that uncertainty over the ongoing war in Ukraine has serious ramifications on the country’s economic recovery.

“Higher costs of fuel and power will easily intensify into high inflation and stagnate our economic growth. Even as we are now beginning to rebound economically, somehow we are being pulled back because of this crisis,” said Barcelon.

According to Barcelon, the PCCI already has a program, REACH OUT, to bring to the next president. REACH OUT stands for efforts on priority sectors to shore up the economy: reinvigoration of natural resources, education and energy, connectivity, human skills and human dignity, and transformation and transparency.

“It is critical at this point to take urgent and even drastic measures to develop our resilience to external shocks,” he said, emphasizing the development of the agriculture and fishery sectors to ensure self-sufficiency and food security.

Alfredo Pascual, President of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), cited parallelism between public governance and corporate governance.

Pascual said the Performance Governance System, a performance management and measurement tool that aims to translate organizational goals into breakthrough results, guided by set performance indicators and metrics as practiced in the private corporate world, is being used to introduce reforms to some government offices.

Pascual said digitalization is one of the most important aspects of good governance.

“Digital technologies to facilitate efficient and instant transmission and processing of information as well as storing and retrieval of data.” he said. “Thus, digitalization helps implement core values of good governance such as transparency, effectiveness, accountability, and participation of citizens in the case of the public sector. Digitalization can disrupt corruption.”

Stratbase President Professor Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit has pushed for transparency in government stressing it is crucial that transparency is institutionalized across all levels of government, both national and local. “After all, transparency breeds good governance, which creates public trust,” he said.

“There is no better time to effect this fundamental change than now because we are in the midst of a watershed year in our political and economic history,” said Manhit.

Whoever will win in the May polls, he said, should actively encourage collaboration between the government and the private sector, which has proven itself a trusted and capable partner for development, even during these hard times.

Meanwhile, Makati Business Club Chairman Edgar Chua said the private sector has always played an extensive role in advocating for the further liberalization of the Philippine economy.

“With globalization, there is no alternative but to open up the economy to create more jobs for Filipinos, lower costs for consumers, encourage technology transfer, and improve the competitiveness of the Philippine economy.”

Such a partnership helps fill in the government’s funding or technical gaps, which can allow government to focus on more pressing priorities, he said.

For Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr., President of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), addressing red tape and transforming jobs is key.

“Business efficiency and productivity also rest on ensuring that regulatory and policy environment is conducive towards this objective and directive and authority of ARTA, which has been working closely with agencies involved to eliminate unnecessary documents and steps,” he said.

He said that beyond creating and saving jobs, is the need to transform jobs that have become obsolete as we continue to adapt technological improvements for our businesses.

“Saving and transforming jobs needs investment in education and skills development. Equipping graduates, new hires and employees with the right skills and competencies that will continue to be relevant is a game changer in ensuring productivity, efficiency and competitiveness,” Ortiz said.

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