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Harmonizing AmBisyon Natin 2040 and Dream Philippines 2040

/ 04:01 AM January 24, 2022

(First of two parts)

It has been almost six years since the President issued Executive Order (EO) No. 5 mandating all government agencies to align their respective strategies with AmBisyon Natin 2040, a National Economic Development Authority (Neda)-initiated project started in 2015 and completed during the term of former Secretary Arsenio Balisacan of the Aquino Administration and adopted with some updating by succeeding Neda Director General Ernesto Pernia. In the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) general membership meeting in 2016 where Secretary Pernia was the keynote speaker, he was asked whether he would push the Ambisyon Natin 2040 of his predecessor and he not only said yes; he actually convinced the President to issue the EO on Oct. 5, 2016.

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AmBisyon Natin 2040

What is AmBisyon Natin 2040? It is a document that articulates the collective long-term vision and aspirations of the Filipino people for themselves and for the country in the next 25 years. More than 300 citizens participated in the focus group discussions and close to 10,000 answered the national survey. The respondents represented the proportionate distribution of the Philippine population in terms of gender, age, socio-economic status, geographic location, etc.

For himself, the Filipino envisions that by 2040, “he will enjoy a stable and comfortable lifestyle, secure in the knowledge that he has enough for his daily needs and unexpected expenses, that he can plan and prepare for his own and his children’s future. He aspires that his family lives together in a place of his own and that he has the freedom to go where he desires, protected and enabled by a clean, efficient and fair government.”

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On the other hand, the Filipino “envisions his country, the Philippines, to be a prosperous middle class society where no one is poor. People live long and healthy lives, are smart and innovative. The country is a high-trust society where families thrive in vibrant, culturally diverse and resilient communities.” (The original vision statement for the Philippines, which I prefer, was stated in the following manner: The Philippines shall be a country where all citizens are free from hunger and poverty, have equal opportunities, enabled by fair and just society that is governed with order and unity. A nation where families live together, thriving in vibrant, culturally diverse and resilient communities.)

Moving on to Dream Philippines

The eight priority sectors that have direct impact on AmBisyon 2040 were identified by Neda then as follows: 1) health and urban development, 2) manufacturing, 3) connectivity, 4) education services, 5) tourism and allied services, 6) agriculture, 7) health and wellness services, and, 8) financial services.

At the turn of the millennium in the year 2000, former Finance Secretary Dr. Jesus Estanislao established the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA), which is the country’s leading advocacy that teaches and promotes good governance in the public sector. Its first project was to organize a “gathering of friends” that eventually produced a roadmap called Philippines 2030. During that time, the Senate was conducting the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada. Estanislao and his friends were concerned about the outcome of the Senate hearings—it could result in either a constitutional or extra-constitutional succession and there was a need to craft a program of governance in case the successors would need such roadmap. Fortunately, the succession was constitutional and then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took over as president because she was then assumed to be well-qualified for the position. The Philippines 2030 project, unfortunately, was shelved, only to be revived in 2016 when President Duterte took over as president. While the EO he issued in October 2016 on AmBisyon Natin 2040 was popularly appreciated, it became obvious, as the years went by, that his unorthodox style of governance would result in an environment that would make it difficult for the Vision 2040 to be achieved.

ISA Roadmap

Dr. Estanislao then revived the project for ISA to craft a roadmap to update the original ISA Roadmap for Philippines 2030. Together with then ISA president and current senatorial candidate Atty. Alex Lacson, Estanislao conceived of “Dream Philippines,” which they both articulated as follows:

“We dream of a beautiful and prosperous Philippines –

a country where there is enough for everyone,

where no Filipino is left behind in poverty,

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where every Filipino family enjoys a life of comfort,

where every child has a future.

We dream of a country that can bring out

the best in the Filipino people —one that can make the Filipino truly great

and respected in the eyes of the world.

But for us to attain this Dream Philippines,

we need a government that delivers,

leaders who serve,

and citizens who get involved.”

For several years now, working on a new Philippine Roadmap based on the above definition of Dream Philippines has been a challenging task and has gone through several iterations. However, the coming elections in May 2022 have made it imperative that the roadmap be completed before the campaign season officially starts in February.

(To be continued) INQ

This article reflects the personal opinion of the author and not the official stand of the Management Association of the Philippines or MAP. The author is co-chair for Governance of the MAP Committee on ESG. He is also vice-chair of Center for Excellence in Governance and ISA, and former chair of Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD). Feedback at [email protected] and [email protected]

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