The Founder of ICD and ISA, Dr. Jess Estanislao… outlined a very comprehensive approach to improving governance at all levels of Philippine society. He highlights the critical importance of institution building, the key to long-term sustainable and equitable development. The missing link has been the sustained institutional strengthening and transformation program on the part of the many institutions in both the public and private sectors.
A recent poll among business leaders revealed that 52% of the respondents are still bearish about the Philippine business environment, expecting full recovery from the pandemic to take two more years to happen. However, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and other international organizations forecast that the growth of Philippine GDP will be among the highest in the Indo-Pacific region in the next two to three years, together with India and Vietnam. These institutions expect our GDP to grow at the 6 to 7% growth rate that had systematically been attained during two Administrations (2011 to 2019) just before the pandemic.
This average growth rate can be attained through the continued large remittances from OFWs, double-digit growth rates of the BPO-IT sector, the strong rebound of domestic tourism and increased Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs)… thanks to an improved climate fostered by the amendment of the Public Service Act (PSA) that now allows 100% foreign ownership of infrastructures in telecom and transport (e.g. airports, seaports, railways, etc.)
The upside is that our GDP can grow at a faster rate of 8 to 10 % if the present Administration can respond to the 2022 CEO Survey which emphasized the need to take concrete steps against corruption. The Survey showed that 67% of the respondents believe that the government should give more priority to fighting corruption than to attracting FDIs.
Indeed, the Government is indispensable.  Its role is irreplaceable in promoting the common good.  It has to set clear strategic priorities for the country and in mobilizing resources to provide critical public facilities and other much needed infrastructures. The list of essential Government functions is a long one, and there can be no substitute for government. In addition, the Government necessarily has to work with non-governmental players in various sectors of society, and especially the economy, and ultimately with individual private citizens.  There is no way we can attain the good governance needed for socio-economic progress without working with the many instrumentalities of government and the public sector.
This process calls for aligning the institutional transformation roadmap with the country’s strategic priorities and delivering substantive contributions towards meeting those national priorities… There are already institutions in both the public and private sectors that have accomplished this transformation process who have “transformed” themselves from corruption-ridden agencies to some of the most improved in transparency and professionalism. Transformation:  it can be done, yes, right here in PH. The task ahead is to scale their number up:  their ‘tribe’ must be made to increase, so we reach a critical mass for the institutional strengthening process to become inexorable and irreversible in the Philippines.
In order to improve the Philippines’ economy, institution building is a must. In his article, Dr. Villegas explains the various reasons why this is so and shares some excerpts from Dr. Jess Estanislao, The Founder of ICD and ISA, who emphasizes the need to transform both the public and private sectors in the Philippines. Doing so will help the country reach even greater heights in terms of economic performance and will in turn address the citizens’ continuous concerns.

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