As political campaigning roars, Filipino businessmen said they are prepared to work with whoever gets elected and contribute to the economic development of the country.
In his virtual inaugural address, Management Association of the Philippines President Alfredo “Fred” E. Pascual emphasized their cooperation to the next duly elected administration in the upcoming national elections in May.
“On the national election, I must say that whatever the outcome may be, we are prepared to work with the duly elected new administration and contribute to its development program for our people,” said Pascual, the 73rd president of MAP.
Pascual said that during the election campaign period, MAP will organize and participate in forum featuring the presidential, vice presidential, and senatorial candidates. “These forums will serve as a platform for raising our policy and governance concerns,” he said.
By mid-2022, he said, MAP will invite newly elected and appointed national officials for policy dialogues as they take their positions following the national election. MAP will also resume the practice of having in-person breakfast conversations with policymakers.
In committing their full support to whoever will be duly elected as the next president of the country, Pascual noted that the country is facing severe and multiple crisis, including a health crisis, an economic crisis, an education crisis, an environmental crisis, and a social justice crisis.
“Given that 2022 is a critical election year for the country, we hope that ‘political and constitutional crisis’ is not added to this already long list,” he said.
Pascual cited the ongoing pandemic with nearly 3 million cases amid the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, only 48 percent vaccination rate in the country, the digital divide, unemployment rate forecast of 7-9 percent roughly three times the pre-pandemic 2.2 percent in 2019, poverty rate of 17.5 percent, among others.
Against these backdrop, Pascual said that MAP has adopted three main thrusts for 2022 to align with its theme “Push for Change: Towards a better future for all”.
MAP’s 2022 main three thrusts are policy reform for economic dynamism, human development and well-being, and shared prosperity and sustainability.
For the first thrust, Pascual said MAP will put together an agenda of policy imperatives and push for their adoption for sustained recovery and continuing progress, whether through executive or legislative action.
In addition, Pascual said that MAP will advocate for good governance and the rule of law in the operation of and policy implementation by relevant public offices.
In the wake of the pandemic, MAP believes there is a need for a conducive enabling environment for investment, foreign and domestic, becomes even more pressing.
“We must address the country’s energy security, resolve foreign ownership restrictions in critical industries, and improve the ease of doing business, to name just a few imperatives,” he said.
For the second thrust – human development and well-being -, Pascual believes that MAP should focus on the higher education sector, where academe-industry collaboration has been found effective, albeit not widely practiced. Such partnerships can improve curricula, augment faculty, provide apprenticeships for students, and facilitate collaborative research and innovation.
However, MAP is also prepared to cooperate with other organizations to address the challenges in our basic education sector.
“We intend to push for programs that will generate more graduates from STEM courses (science, technology, engineering, and math) and are ready for work, particularly in data analytics,” he added.
In particular, MAP noted the seafarers’ education in the country. “While Filipinos dominate ship crewing globally, very few become captains and senior merchant marine officers, high-paying positions that can benefit their families and the country more,” said Pascual.
For the third thrust on shared prosperity and sustainability , MAP will assess the progress of the Covenant for Shared Prosperity, signed by a group fo 26 business organizations.
As part of this thrust, MAP will look into how Environmental, Social, and Governance metrics (ESG) can support the Covenant’s implementation.