On Monday, February 27, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Banking and Finance Committee held its 2023 Philippine Economic Briefing. The event brought together distinguished government and private sector speakers, including Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) Lead Convenor and Aboitiz Group President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sabin Aboitiz.
Looking back at the past few years upended by uncertainties, the briefing tackled government interventions and policies that would mitigate the negative impact of global crisis, while opening trade and investment opportunities. In line with the discussion, Aboitiz delivered a speech highlighting the importance of partnerships between the private and public sectors in unlocking progress for the Philippines, as illustrated by the PSAC.
“We believe in partnerships because they are not just about sharing the load, but about multiplying the impact,” Aboitiz began.
“President Marcos himself formed the Private Sector Advisory Council on this basis. Neither the government nor the business community can save this country alone, and therefore they need each other.”
“It is deeply encouraging to see this kind of partnership between the government and the private sector, where real and meaningful progress for our country is made quickly and decisively through the political will of the President and his Cabinet,” he continued.
PSAC is focused on six sectors: digital infrastructure, basic infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare, tourism, and jobs. Each sector is composed of respected business leaders who have committed their time, effort, resources, manpower, and brainpower to a shared belief, that is, the Philippines can become the Next Big Thing in Asia. PSAC aims to provide smart, pragmatic, and structural recommendations that are built to last, coming from the best business and economic minds in the country.
PSAC has already made significant progress across its sectors by providing insightful recommendations that have been approved by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. Policies on streamlining permits for telcos have been institutionalized in digital infrastructure, and the GoDigital Pilipinas (GDP) movement was launched. In basic infrastructure, they recommended supporting the amendment of the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), supporting the creation of the Department of Water, and the privatization of the operation and maintenance of airports. They also pushed the digitalization of the Agri System and introduced the Food Balance Sheet in agriculture. Meanwhile, for healthcare, PSAC recommended the audit and digitalization of PhilHealth, the ladderized program for nurses, the fully digitized FDA, and encouraged green lanes. Additionally, to kickstart the tourism industry, they advocated the revival of holiday economics and the Value-Added Tax (VAT) Refund Program for foreign tourists, as well as replacing the military uniforms of Philippine Coast Guards in airports.
The recommendations fell on open and welcoming ears, with President Ferdinand Marcos listening closely and reflecting on every issue and recommendation.
Aboitiz shared the observation that the President runs the government like a corporation, with the interests of its shareholders and customers–the Filipino people always at the top of his mind.
“Like a corporation, the President wants the Philippines to be valuable, profitable, growing, and responsible for all its stakeholders. He wants it to be efficient, innovative, and always focused on the things that actually matter. He wants it to be strong, resilient, and adaptable to change. This is why we believe in him,” said Aboitiz.
Despite the challenges businesses and economies face, Aboitiz told a room of businessmen and investors that there is hope and optimism about the country’s future. Public-private partnerships and synergies are given an atmosphere to thrive, working together towards building the Philippines so it is sure to be the Next Big Thing in Asia.