Exec says infra dev’t, democracy can’t mix
One of the country’s richest Filipinos said that infrastructure development and democracy could not go hand in hand, hinting that there might be a benefit in being run by a dictator.
International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) chair and president Enrique Razon Jr. said yesterday that some countries with the most advanced infrastructure were not democratic, but quickly clarified that he was not “endorsing” one form of political system over another.
He said this during one of the sessions during the Asean Business and Investment Summit (Abis), wherein he was invited to discuss issues on infrastructure development along with other officials in the private and public sectors.
“If you really look at it, those that have the most advanced infrastructure are the ones that are not democratic. The countries with the best infrastructure in the world are dictatorships,” he said.
Razon, who was named the country’s seventh richest man by Forbes Magazine, said that the United States was the only country that advocated for democracy and achieved development, but noted that this was because the country was “so vast and has so much resources.”
“Europe is well-advanced but most of [its infrastructure] was built a hundred years ago and they weren’t a democracy then,” he said.
Following this comment, Ayala Corp. chair and chief executive Jaime Zobel de Ayala, who was also part of the session’s panelists, said that infrastructures could still be developed with the right “ecosystem.”
“I’m not gonna go Ricky’s route but let’s just say I believe in private-public partnerships,” he said. —ROY STEPHEN C. CANIVEL
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