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We are our greatest enemy

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The question often asked today is if we are ready for a freer, more open global market. Might I stress that in many more ways than we realize, it is quite free and open? Many ask: Can we compete? Will our SMEs (small and medium enterprises) survive? Will the Philippine economy benefit, or will it be buffeted by the larger and more powerful wings of our Asean neighbors?

Posted: April 12th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Making integrity everyone’s business

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The battle to end corruption in the country is far from over, considering recent developments that show how deeply rooted the problem is in our system. Nevertheless, significant progress has been made, both by the government in its good governance reforms and by the business community through its ongoing Integrity Initiative.

Posted: February 7th, 2014 in Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Enhanced disaster management by private sector

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At the end of 2012, I sounded in this space a call to the private sector, especially big business, to make as one of its strategic considerations profit with prosperity for all. As we end 2013 with the country still reeling from the effects not just of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” but also of the Bohol-Cebu earthquake, Typhoon “Santi” (which roared through Central Luzon in October, ripping off roofs from homes and uprooting trees in its path), and the Zamboanga siege, this call has become even more relevant—urgent, even.

Posted: December 28th, 2013 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

We mean business!

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Last Thursday, the 3rd National Conference of Independent Business Clubs was held in Davao. Organized by the Mindanao Business Council and Makati Business Club, some 50 leaders and members of independent business clubs gathered to focus on the theme “Venturing Outward and Moving Forward: Exploring the Regional Potential.” Among those represented were the ARMM Business Council, Cebu Business Club, and Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Posted: November 29th, 2013 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Promoting PH not easy, but we have to do it

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I get very frustrated when the private sector is charged with fence-sitting on an issue and is projected as uncaring about the country’s welfare. First, because the part of the private sector that I belong to hardly ever fence-sits. We certainly did not on the Priority Development Assistance Fund! Second, because the larger private sector is always busy pursuing initiatives that impact positively on nation-building. And this is what I’d like to discuss, by focusing on certain recent efforts that get very little traction in the media, probably because they are not controversial. But, hey, they are good news!

Posted: October 11th, 2013 in Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Paths to inclusive growth

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Last June, Philippine Business Groups (PBG) including the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) sent a letter to President Aquino listing key issues and proposed measures that his administration should train its sights on to achieve its vision of inclusive growth through job generation, poverty reduction, and global competitiveness. PBG also includes the Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Business Process Association of the Philippines, and Employers Confederation of the Philippines, among others.

Posted: August 9th, 2013 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

‘Pilipinas, anyare?’

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Becoming executive director of the Makati Business Club in 2011 brought me new opportunities to again experience other countries regularly. I first earned this opportunity as head of the secretariat of Amnesty International Philippines from 1987 to 1997. With the MBC, the travel came when we took on the role of providing staff support for the members of the Apec Business Advisory Council (Abac) Philippines—Doris Ho, Jaime Zobel de Ayala and Tony Tan Caktiong. During my recent Abac adventures, I find myself often comparing the countries I am visiting with what they were 10-20 years ago. Often, I find that the change in these countries over the last decades has been tremendous.

Posted: June 21st, 2013 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Social enterprise as innovative business model

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ABAC Philippines presented some best practices in social enterprises in the country at the last Apec Business Advisory Council meeting in Singapore in April. These best practices were presented as innovative business models that can support entrepreneurship, encourage the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and help promote inclusive growth.

Posted: May 24th, 2013 in Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Fil and the business of doing good

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Today’s Business Matters column should have been written by Prof. Felipe “Fil” Alfonso. Unfortunately, Fil passed away last April 5, a week before he was to turn 76. His passing marks a loss to the business community, especially because of his passionate commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR), or what many refer to as the business of doing good.

Posted: April 12th, 2013 in Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Growth and resilience in Asia Pacific

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Our column last Jan. 19 welcomed the members, staffers and guests of the Apec Business Advisory Council (Abac) Meeting that was held on Jan. 20 to 23 here in Manila. Abac brings together business leaders from each of the Apec’s 21 economies to identify policy priorities and key concerns of the business sector.

Posted: January 25th, 2013 in Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Welcome to the Philippines

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Since joining the Inquirer’s pool of Business Matters contributors in 2011, I have twice written about the Apec Business Advisory Council (Abac) Meetings that I have been attending as lead staffer to our Abac Philippine representatives, Doris Ho, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Tony Tan Caktiong. The Makati Business Club (MBC) was tapped to serve as the Abac Philippines secretariat, and our office has been in a managed chaos of sorts since December last year, as the Philippines is playing host to Abac’s first meeting of 2013 this Jan. 20 to 23. When MBC first agreed to help our Abac representatives, little did we know that such commitment would mean organizing an Abac conference in Makati City.

Posted: January 18th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Profit with prosperity for all

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The staff of the Makati Business Club (MBC) organized last Dec. 19 a Christmas outreach for 30 children of Sitio Gipit in Antipolo, Rizal. The whole MBC team participated in an afternoon of storytelling, games, art, gift-giving and merienda. The little treat was appreciated tremendously by the children and their parents who live in a rural poor community spawned in part by the operations of a huge cement factory in the area. We crossed some rice paddies to get to another side of the community and were informed that these were the work of tenant farmers who use their harvest to pay for the use of the land and for debts incurred and feed their families either with the harvest itself or with the little they still manage to sell.

Posted: December 28th, 2012 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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