President Aquino: “I believe in the mark of a truly revitalized society”
By Melissa Salvador
MANILA, Philippines — I felt the promise of the future of the Philippines when I heard President Aquino’s keynote speech to the 38th Philippine Business Conference and Exposition (PBCE) last October 11 where he stated “I believe in the mark of a truly revitalized society, and true public services, and demand nothing less from their future leaders.”
P-Noy said, “In this way, we can be certain that the Philippines will continue to notch achievement after achievement, towards the realization of our aspirations of shared success.”
The conference last October 9 – 11 was organized by my dearest and closest friend Atty. Miguel Varela, President of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the largest and leading voice of business organizations in the Philippines. The conference was held at the home of high society and political intrigue, Manila Hotel, with the theme, “One. Global. Filipino. Investments and Governance, Pillars of Economic Growth.” I left this action-packed conference feeling it could have been, in President Aquino’s words “the results of our commitment to balance prudent spending, and reforms to increase competitiveness.”
Varela said that “the theme of this year’s 38th PBCE, highlights the crucial roles investments and governance play in promoting the growth of commerce and industry and in creating the conditions to attain sustainable and inclusive economic development, where all decision makers, industry stakeholders, business chambers, industry associations and foreign delegations, distinguished government officials and high-profile businessmen from all over the country, contributed to the creation of a more competitive business and investment environment to further propel the country into becoming a key player in the regional and global investment arena.”
The level of excitement was high at this high-level event among the Philippine’s government and business elite to promote collaboration between public and private entities to address critical issues about business and economy; and to foster camaraderie and networking opportunities for government officials, business leaders, along with meeting so many fellow Ateneans from all over the country with excellencies and members of the diplomatic corps and foreign delegations.
Meeting and seeing so many important and energetic figures in our country’s government and business sectors at one time was overwhelming, as if it were the Academy Awards of Filipino Governance and Business. Most of those leaders were very approachable. President Benigno Aquino is humble, modest and has a sense of humour. (Did you see the picture of us on the front page?) Vice-President Jejomar Binay is not snobbish at all and joked freely with me (He is running for President, too!). DILG Secretary Mar Roxas is guapo. (See the picture of us together — but alas, he is recently married.) Governor Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu is sociable. Lots of movers and shakers and they remain humble. Quite reassuring for all Filipinos depending on the leadership of our government and business community.
Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker President Benigno S. Aquino III received a warm welcome and concluded the session of the conference. In President Aquino’s speech, he stated that the growth of Philippine economy this year has been robust. He stated that the Average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for the first semester of 2012 has exceeded expectations at 6.1 percent. He believes that the country will be able to achieve this year’s projected GDP growth of 5.0 – 6.0 percent. The President also noted that the 2011 debt-to-GDP ratio was marked at 50.9 percent which is lower than the 52.4 percent recorded in 2010.
I felt the strong spirit among these visionaries who still believe that they can design and create a better future. Everyone aims to find realities and sustainable solutions to the most pressing business and economic issues. How good is the dream that one does not need to go abroad to feed his family! Business and government leaders will work hand-in-hand towards building a better future for Philippines.
This conference made me proud that I have decided to stay home with my family and use the fruit of my M.B.A education at Ateneo de Manila to prosper in my own country.
I learned how local government units are really reforming their bureaucracies to become friendly and compete for investments. PCCI is activating its agreements with the chambers around the world to help the government in promoting investments in Philippines. Our business leaders undertook a significant strategic government roadmap planning to reframe some measures ranging from anti-smuggling, rice production, energy sufficiency, housing, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations economic integration are some of the measures to sustain the economy. The approved eleven (11) point resolutions which contain the government’s roadmaps of programs and its corresponding completion dates were given to President Aquino for proper government action.
Indeed, the Philippines is the world BPO market leader and the world’s best country in business English. I am able to thrive here in the Philippines with my own company, iSynerji Global, providing a multitude of outsourcing services.
It is the PBCE’s goal to inspire unity under the flag of accountability, integrity and transparency among all stakeholders and attain a globally competitive Philippines. And hence, PinoyWatchDog.com was also well received there as demonstrating the new Philippines, and the new Filipino concerned about accountability, integrity and transparency!
PHILIPPINES is the RIGHT place. FILIPINOS are the RIGHT people. Now, it is the BEST TIME to INVEST in the Philippines.
“This is the most bullish conference because businessmen are more inspired now than ever because of the assurance of the President. We can move on now and compete,” PCCI President Varela said.
I commend the leaders and members of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, headed by its President Atty. Miguel Varela, Chairman Antonio Lopa, Chairman Alfredo Yao, Honorary Chairman Edgardo Lacson, Honorary Chairman Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr, Honorary Chairman Donald Dee, Dr. Jose “Titoy” Pardo, Dr. Francis Chua, its distinguished members and officers of PCCI, on the occasion of the 38th Philippine Business Conference and Exposition. MABUHAY!
Melissa Salvador earned Master in Business Administration from Ateneo de Manila University. She is the President of iSynerji Global (www.iSynerji.com) and Digital Strategist of PinoyWatchDog.com.