Not so lightweight anymore

Published March 29, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao
Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao

By Jesus P. Estanislao


The strategic imperative of ensuring that our internal systems work, and that the internal processes we have in every institution within both the private and public sectors are brought to the highest level of efficiency that technology and proper organization would allow, would bring about the many inter-related strategic transformation we seek and dream of.

These are:

  • As a polity and economy that has very little weight in shaping the regional and global order, we gradually and consistently post significant gains over decades such that in the end we are able to punch even way beyond our weight class.
  • Instead of being pushed around and regarded as a mere pawn in regional and global big-power rivalries, we gain enough internal cohesion and independent standing such that we get to be taken more seriously on our own, and our voice gets to be listened to with due respect.
  • With more specific positive contributions to add to the building of a better regional and global order, over time we get recognized and acknowledged for the substantive achievements we have attained in the area of good governance and responsible citizenship.

There is no real substitute to posting significant, positive achievements, sustained over time, such that we can no longer be bullied, disregarded as a mere mouthpìece for the interests of some bigger power, or dismissed outright as an economy or polity with no real weight of our own. Moreover, we have no major resource to bank on other than the wits, knowledge and skills of our human resource. Thus, if we are going to bring about those transformative changes we seek or dream about, we really do not have many options other than becoming an “archipelago of good governance.”

This would require of us to serve our domestic constituency in the best way possible. In practical terms, through significant investments in our human resources—particularly focusing on the learning and growth of our people—we get every Filipino to become part of the middle class. This means getting Filipinos to reinvent themselves every ten or 15 years, such that they get up at least one rung, up their chosen professional ladder; and over their life time they shall have gotten up 3 or 4 rungs. This would also mean that every enterprise in our country, whether in the public or private sector, should have such a deep commitment to the common good that in fact no Filipino is ever left behind. Thus, the emphasis on inclusive, sustainable growth & development.

We can secure inclusive and sustained development if we never forget where the source of our economic strength lies, i.e., in our people. Thus, instead of weakening and narrowing such an economic base, we should constantly invest in it, and demand that we get returns as a nation from such investment. One smart way by which we can get more than reasonable returns from our investment in our human resources is to keep our economy open, globally connected, and permanently disciplined fiscally and monetarily.

Having an open economy would demand that we become an open, pro-active, positive player in shaping the regional community of economies and nations. Here, we follow what is natural for us: to make friends with everyone, and minimize friction and misunderstanding with any of our neighbors.