Improving the ease of doing business in the Philippines
AS IN the past years, the activities of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) will be guided by a theme, and our theme for 2016 is “Efficient execution for inclusive business.”
The MAP Board of Governors will abide by the MAP’s strategic thrust with three pillars, as follows:
- Good governance
- Global competitiveness
- Inclusive and sustainable growth
- Climate Change
Programs for management excellence
The MAP will focus this year on helping improve the ease of doing business in the Philippines in order to contribute in attracting local and foreign investments, creating more jobs, and ensuring inclusive growth.
The MAP will therefore continue to push for reforms and policies that are geared toward capitalizing on disruptive technologies and fostering an enabling business environment, particularly in advocating for practical business solutions to surmount the many challenges our society faces.
As a catalyst for management excellence for nation-building, the MAP will work with its members and will partner with other business organizations, the government and civil society in conducting programs that promote good governance, global competitiveness and sustainable development to uplift the lives of Filipinos.
Our country’s competitiveness rankings over the last five years are encouraging.
The Philippines has been blessed with the largest jumps in selected global competitiveness rankings : +49 in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, +45 in the World Bank – IFC Ease of Doing Business Report, +39 in the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index, and +38 in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.
Now that the Asean integration has formally started, it is doubly important that we accelerate the efficient execution of reforms to enable the country to move up in the competitiveness rankings.
There is a high correlation between the rankings and the attractiveness of our country to foreign direct investments. While our country has experienced a rise in investments, much still needs to be done.
We in the MAP are experts in managing processes, making the decisions, and turning them into actions.
We are leaders. If we make the right action, we stand tall, feel proud, then move on to our next plan. If we make a mistake, we accept the responsibility, learn from it, adopt the correct course, then stand tall, feel proud and move on to our next plan.
This should be true for our businesses, for our family, for our community and, even more so, for our country.
Therefore, as a manager and as a lawyer, one area where I feel the MAP can be a catalyst is in the field of the ease of doing business in our country, in particular, foreign investments.
We are so good in showcasing our talents. We are so good in crafting policies, and in enticing foreign investors to get incentives both fiscal and non-fiscal. But when the foreign investors do come in and make their respective investments, our bureaucracy sets in.
Under the guise of law, we all of a sudden make it so hard for foreign investors to do business in our country.
The ease of doing business is gone. In fact, sometimes we kill it.
What is happening and why?
As members of the MAP, and as expert managers and distinguished leaders of our respective communities, I would like to lead our organization in this advocacy of offering practical business solutions to bureaucratic problems.
I would just like to focus in this area of foreign investments since I will have only one year to act.
I believe that a firm and achievable plan of action in the matter of ease of doing business will have a contagion effect in solving our country’s other problems.
And so for the first two months of my administration, I will engage and ask the MAP membership to help me identify the bureaucratic problem areas in foreign investments, e.g. NCC, SEC, DTI, BOI, BOC, BIR, DOLE, BI, etc.
For the next three months, we will devise, craft and offer the practical solutions to these problem areas, some can be legal and some can be governmental policy changes.
Then for the next five months, we will bring these matters to the government agencies concerned for their executive action.
We will campaign, and if necessary, seek other alternative actions if we feel that we are just being given the runaround.
Finally, for the remaining two months, we will review what we have done and audit ourselves.
If we, as the MAP, are able to contribute at least one big action in nation-building, it will go a long way.
We will continue with the Emerge or the Educated Marginalized Entrepreneurs Resource Generation Program.
The Emerge Program will continue assisting the entrepreneurial poor who are high school graduates with technical or vocational training or exposure, the retired government employees, the families of uniformed services and the returning OFWs who would like to go into projects or businesses which have big potential for growth and job generation.
The project is now blessed with 19 partners-in-mission, 36 volunteer mentors, P2 million for equity funding and three projects that will be launched within the first quarter of 2016.
The MAP will help vet questions concerning issues on society and management for the Comelec-spearheaded presidential debates.
There will be only three presidential debates: April 24 in Luzon with ABS-CBN and Manila Bulletin as co-hosts; March 20 in the Visayas with TV5 and Philippine Star as co-hosts; and Feb. 21 in Mindanao with GMA7 and Inquirer.
There will be only one vice presidential debate and it will be held on April 10 with CNN Philippines and BusinessMirror as co-hosts.
The MAP will be one of the Comelec’s partner organizations from business, together with the Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Association of the Philippines and the Makati Business Club.
The MAP will also be part of ABS-CBN’s “Halalan 2016” which covers voter registration, voter education and voter awareness activities.
The traffic problem continues to adversely affect business and employee productivity so we will continue pushing for the implementation of the MAP’s Traffic and Infrastructure Recommendations that were submitted to the government in August 2015 through a paper titled “Traffic and Transportation Problems of Metro Manila: A Holistic Approach.”
Our country certainly needs a long-term master plan that should be followed by our national leaders. In this regard, the MAP will continue working with Neda for the formulation of “Filipino 2040” or the Long Term Development Plan for the Philippines.
To make the MAP more relevant to its members amid the rapidly changing environment here and abroad, we will be looking at increasing member benefits.
We will push for the MAP to be a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)-accredited agency in endorsing MAP members for the Apec Business Travel Card. The Apec Card allows business travelers pre-cleared, facilitated short-term entry to participating Apec member economies.
We will be partnering with NBI to facilitate the release of NBI clearances of MAP members.
We will also partner with SEC and SSS, among others, for possible special lanes for MAP members’ requirements.
As expert managers and distinguished business leaders, MAP members will be requested to share their talent and time in our advocacy of offering practical business solutions to bureaucratic problems.
I call upon each and every one of you to please support your board’s efforts and participate in the various activities of the MAP this year.
We can only move forward if we are together.
(This article is lifted from the inaugural address delivered by the author during the 67th Inaugural Meeting and Induction of the 2016 Board of Governors of the Management Association of the Philippines. The author is the MAP President for 2016, and Partner of the Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc de los Angeles. Feedback at <firstname.lastname@example.org> and <email@example.com>. For previous articles, please visit www.map.org.ph)
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