(Following is the inaugural address delivered by the author as 64th president of the Management Association of the Philippines.)
Let me begin by thanking Mr. Ed Francisco for his effective leadership last year and the members of the 2012 MAP Board of Governors for their steadfast dedication and valuable contribution to the goals and objectives of MAP. They brought to life last year’s theme of “Execution with Integrity for Progress.”
Let us also acknowledge that MAP would not be what it is today, if not for the untiring efforts and contributions of the past presidents of MAP.
The secret of MAP’s success is its strong secretariat ably directed by MAP’s executive director, Mr. Arnold Salvador.
“Inclusive Growth and Competitiveness with Integrity” is the theme of the Management Association of the Philippines for 2013 which will guide all our activities this year.
Why inclusive growth?
We, our companies and families, cannot be islands of prosperity in a sea of poverty. We rejoice that in 2012, the Philippines attained levels of growth higher than many of our Asian neighbors. We acknowledge that the Aquino administration has greatly alleviated the lives of the targeted poor with the Conditional Cash Transfers.
However, the gap between the few who are rich and the many who are impoverished is still as wide as the distance between Paradise and Hell. As a country and as a people, we must rise together. Otherwise, the dire effects of poverty will continue to haunt all of us—criminality on the rise, child prostitution, unproductive and uneducated workforce, urban congestion, etc.
In pursuing inclusive growth, MAP will be an active partner of the Aquino administration in addressing major deficiencies in infrastructure, basic education, health, ecological balance, administration of justice, representation in the legislative process and in both national and local government and in an environment that provides the best opportunities and the right capabilities for the poor to seize those opportunities.
MAP will assist entrepreneurs and SMEs by linking them with large companies, starting with those where MAP members are the prime decision-makers. We will work closely with CHEd and the academe to make their program offerings more responsive to the needs of Philippine business in a highly competitive Asean market. MAP will make the Farm Business Schools projects as its main vehicle in fostering agribusiness and countryside development.
MAP will identify an integrated MAP CSR program and Disaster Relief and Recovery Response to be funded and managed by the MAP Research and Development Foundation where we intend to infuse at least one million pesos this year.
Already, MAP members are helping generate employment through establishing companies and expanding existing ones. MAP members are inviting their friends and associates abroad to come and invest in the Philippines quoting our Honorable Guest of Honor’s e-mail to his business colleagues, “Invest in the Philippines. We now have an honest President.”
We as members of MAP should go farther. We need a new mindset when we think of growth. We need to go out of our comfort zone. If we are disturbed when our business is not doing well, we should be as bothered when our fellow Filipinos are not doing well. I ask my fellow MAP members to walk the talk—reach out to our fellow Filipinos and help improve their capability to take advantage of the opportunities that our business decisions will provide them, both in the urban areas and in the countryside.
While MAP has worked closely with the National Competitiveness Council to help build up the long-term competitiveness of the Philippines through policy reforms, project implementation, institution-building, performance monitoring and goal setting, the focus has been mainly global. MAP members can recite the statistics.
In the World Economic Forums’ 2012 Global Competiveness’ Index, the Philippines rose 10 ranks to No. 65 out of 144 countries. The Philippines was also up 10 countries the year before; the 20-country jump is one of the highest in the world in the last two years.
In the International Finance Corporation’s Ease of Doing Business Report for 2012, the Philippines remained in the same position—No. 138 out of 185 in 2012 vs. No. 136 out of 183 in 2011. In the IMD World Competitiveness Report, the Philippines dropped by 2 to No. 43 out of 59.
I believe there is a greater need to focus on what is closer to us. The Asean Economic Community will be a reality in 2015—a unified market place for Asean. There will be free flow of products and services, free movement of talent and capital.
Are we prepared? I do not think so. Therefore, MAP entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Philippine Section of the Asean Business Advisory Council and the East Asia Business Council in order to help MAP members prepare for the Asean Economic Community and to sound the urgent call for Philippine business to gear up for the formidable challenges ahead.
MAP will be inviting more regional experts to speak on Asean trends and issues and holding a series of workshops focusing on key Philippine business sectors’ ability to compete, culminating on the MAP International CEO Conference on Sept. 10 which hopefully will arrive at a master plan for Philippine competitiveness in the Asean Economic Community.
MAP will help enhance its members and their companies’ competitiveness by management development fora in the MAP Executive Academy, provide networking opportunities at the local and international arenas, help both to focus on healthy lifestyles with a “wellness” mindset, develop skills in utilizing social media and improved communication within and outside MAP.
MAP needs to strengthen its networking with other management associations in Asia in order to share and learn experiences useful to becoming competitive. This year, we hope to capitalize on MAP’s membership at the Asian Association of Management Organizations, AAMO, the association of management organizations of countries in Asia and Pacific.
In line with this, I shall be addressing the Management Association of Pakistan’s Management Conference in Lahore on Feb. 27 on “Emerging Economies: New Opportunities and New Risks,” and I might also be attending the Council meeting in New Delhi, India, from April 10 to 14.
At the same time, the MAP board, committee chairs and vice chairs and relevant committees will be holding breakfast dialogues with members of the Aquino Cabinet in order to find areas of cooperation towards ensuring the Philippines holding its own niche in 2015. The first such dialogue will be with Secretary Butch Abad on the 2013 national budget.
The reorganization of the MAP committees into clusters aligned with the Aquino Administration’s Cabinet clusters will facilitate the dialogues and future collaborative activities.
The five clusters are: Good Governance and Anti-Corruption with Governor Vic Noel as cluster chair; Human Development and Poverty Reduction with Governor Do Ejercito as cluster chair; Economic Development with Governor Romy Bernardo as cluster chair; Security, Justice and Peace with Governor and Vice President Raffy Alunan as cluster chair; and, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation with Governor Fred Pascual as cluster chair.
Two other clusters will focus on member concerns: Member Benefits with Tammy Lipana as cluster chair; and Management Excellence chaired by Treasurer Donald Lim.
I hope most of the MAP members believe that the good economic performance of the Aquino administration can be attributed to the practice of good governance. I know that good governance means good results. With good governance, projects are identified and implemented not on the basis of the need to kowtow to the military and local officials on whom one’s continued clinging to one’s post is greatly dependent. With good governance, projects are finished within the budget as are the costs and at times, generating savings for more projects for the Filipino people.
There are those who belittle the achievements of the Aquino administration as linked to the success in the anti-corruption campaign. I believe they are the ones who still believe that one cannot avoid being corrupt since Philippine society is totally corrupt. Benefiting from the largess of such philosophy of the previous administration, they would want to return to such a culture with the hope of continuing their ever increasing greed for power and wealth, unable to moderate that greed.
The governance reforms instituted by the Aquino administration should be protected, and the nurturing of a culture of honesty, transparency and accountability should be constantly pursued. We will strengthen MAP’s involvement in the Integrity Initiative and the Judicial Reform Initiative. We will push strongly for implementation of reforms in the procurement process and support the Full Disclosure Policy began by the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo.
MAP will help the Aquino administration by constantly reminding the national leaders of the need to keep to the straight and narrow path because it produces good results. MAP will be quick to criticize the Aquino administration when it deviates from good governance and MAP will be as fast, if not faster, to praise the government for its achievements anchored on the practice of good governance.
Following the rules rather than searching for loopholes should be the norm for MAP. We must have the moral ascendancy as we bring the actuations of the Aquino administration into the light of public attention. By setting the example for the rest of the nation, MAP will ensure that growth and competitiveness with integrity is sustained.
Walk the talk
Tonight, I call on each and every MAP member to rally behind this year’s theme. Help attain inclusive growth. Develop your competitiveness and that of your company and community. Be examples of integrity. As has been said many times, we must be the change we want to be or, in management parlance, let us walk the talk.
Tonight’s adjournment does not just mark the end of the inaugural meeting. It marks the beginning of greater involvement and efforts from each of the 761 members of MAP as well as those who will be inducted this year, many of whom will be younger, bringing down the average age of members from 60 to 58. All of us will strive to be one, united and active MAP family.
You and the board of governors have given me the honor and privilege to serve as the 64th president of MAP. I trust that with it goes your commitment to carry the load together with me and the 2013 MAP board.
(The author is the MAP president for 2013 and chair of Inter-Asia Development Bank. Feedback at [email protected] For previous articles, please visit www.map.org.ph)