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‘Kasali lahat sa walang iwanan’

The just concluded 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos affirmed that “globalization has created global growth and development but also given rise to excessive inequality.” Its message was clear. “For the next wave of globalization, leaders need to learn from past mistakes and build more inclusive societies and better protect vulnerable communities.”

Just this week, two multisector initiatives were launched to better address the same phenomenon of excessive inequality amid growth in the Philippines. At the 48th annual membership meeting of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), the “Kasali Ako Movement” was launched. A day later, the 42nd annual general assembly of the Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference for Human Development (BBC) detoured from its usual assembly format and began its “Walang Iwanan” dialogue on how business and the Church can partner for inclusive growth.

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PBSP’s concept revolves around ongoing collective engagements for health, education, environment, livelihood, and disaster risk reduction and mitigation that support efforts to end extreme poverty in the country. The movement will not be limited to just the business sector and the ongoing programs and projects, but will seek to engage more and more youth to be part of conversations, of communities and of partnership projects that promote inclusion. The “Kasali Ako Movement” will become a key platform to realize the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and the Philippines’ “Ambisyon Natin Vision 2040.”

BBC, on the other hand, launched the “Walang Iwanan” dialogue between business and Church leaders with three conversations on organizing farmers, on operating soup kitchens and on financial technology and microfinance. The conversations were like typical business matching sessions. Resource persons and experts from the business sector were matched with bishops from dioceses that had specific sectoral interests.

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BBC’s workhorse cochair, Victor Paterno of Philippine Seven Corp., convinced business resource persons like Tony Meloto of Gawad Kalinga, Gisela Tiongson of Jollibee Foundation, Ernesto Mascenon of Nestlé Philippines and agricultural economist Bruce Tolentino to provide inputs to the conversation on farmers.  Cecile Ang of Diamond Hotel, Chris Po of The Century Group and Benjamin Abadiano of Hapag-asa Integrated Feeding Program were engaged for the soup kitchen conversation. And for fintech and microfinance, Ron Hose of Coins.ph and Innovation Endeavors, Dr. Aris Alip of CARD MFI, Fr. Jovic Lobrigo of the diocese of Legazpi’s successful MFI and Anthony Thomas of Mynt and Gcash were enlisted.

In his opening remarks, Victor described “Walang Iwanan” as “an attempt to explore what common causes might benefit from collaboration, and further the vision of inclusive growth that the BBC was founded on.” He encouraged the use of the successful three-step business process of identifying the opportunity, piloting it and then scaling, a method that “has been used to create enormous value all over the world in recent years, with the most successful valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars.”

For his part, Bishop Pablo David said in his welcome remarks: “I do hope that this morning’s general assembly can generate new ideas and stir up a new impetus for the BBC as we face a lot of new challenges in the pursuit of total human development in the country today.”  Having sat through the fintech conversation, I am confident that Bishop David’s wish for new ideas and plans are indeed forthcoming.

After attending both the PBSP and BBC meetings, I couldn’t help but imagine in my mind how these initiatives, if combined with the Joey Concepcion-led GoNegosyo programs like Kapatid Mentor Me, Kapatid Agri Mentor Me, Mentor Me On Wheels and Mentor Me E-Learning with Singapore Polytechnic, could actually eliminate extreme poverty across the country.

Pope Francis, in his message to the Davos meeting in 2018, told the leaders: “We cannot remain silent in the face of the suffering of millions of people whose dignity is wounded, nor can we continue to move forward as if the spread of poverty and injustice has no cause. It is a moral imperative, a responsibility that involves everyone, to create the right conditions to allow each person to live in a dignified manner.”

In short, “Kasali lahat sa walang iwanan!”

Peter Angelo V. Perfecto ([email protected] gmail.com) is public affairs director of the Phinma group and was former executive director of the Makati Business Club.

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Business Matters is a project of the Makati Business Club.

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TAGS: 2019 World Economic Forum, church, economic growth, Makati Business Club, PBSP, Philippine Business for Social Progress
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