Our Last Chance

I guess we have been saying for many years now that the Philippines has its last chance, but somehow God has been gracious enough to keep giving us many opportunities to be a great nation. Last week, after a lot of consultations with some senators, entrepreneurs and professional managers, the basic conclusion is that 2010 is when we reach a very critical point to make correct decisions for our future. I am referring to the need to integrate in the forthcoming 2010 elections the modes and process in adjusting our economic and political structures that will spur a more robust growth cycle for the country. What should be our systems and policies? This is similar to what entrepreneurs do when they review their company’s business model either thru the usual strategic planning process or the new Blue Ocean approach.

It’s time for the so-called Philippines Inc. to start the review of its “business model”, which translates to the socio-economic and political structures and policies that influence the overall macro-environment which we live in. We can expect the country’s future leaders running for public office and the highest position of the land to be talking about real issues during the campaign, mainly their platform and positions on critical provisions in the constitution.

This is why I have launched the 2010.2016, a movement for change or “pagbabago”. One of the senators that I had the chance to talk to was Sen. Nene Pimentel and we did share ideas. I told him 2010.2016 is not pushing for a parliament or status quo or Federalism. We are pushing for a mindset change for people to get involved and start the process of discussions, and the need to put in the agenda the review of our system. We need to start the debates and push for the process that will make this happen, either through a constitutional convention or a constitutional assembly, whatever Congress believes as the right approach.

Together with the national election in 2010, the process could include the election of the members of concon. Unless if congress feels a con-assembly is more practical, that could be the mechanism where elected members of Congress will constitute themselves into a constitutional assembly after the 2010 elections are held. We encourage the discussion to start now for people to understand. For example, which form of government is best for our country in light of all the socio-economic and political considerations? Should it be a bicameral or unicameral parliament or federalism? Or just a status quo of Presidential form with bicameral Congress? Other important constitutional provisions can be reviewed. We need the experts and the people to debate on whether or not it is better to have a geographical representation in Senate. What is the ideal term limit for national and local executives? What is the ideal degree of fiscal independence for local governments? Do we need to open up the foreign ownership of land just like in most Asian countries? Or determine first if ownership of land and the development of natural resources are critical at all to foreign investment decisions? Or what should be the degree of foreign ownership in media, public utilities, telecommunications and schools? These are just some provisions that can be revisited as we aim to strengthen our economic and political systems.

We are glad to see that Sen. Nene Pimentel filed Senate Resolution No. 10 which calls for a federal form of government. Ten other senators co-signed this resolution: Senate President Manny Villar, Senators Eduardo Angara, Pia Cayetano, Juan Ponce Enrile, Cheese Escudero, Jinggoy Estrado, Gringo Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Kiko Pangilinan and Bong Revilla. Not to say if we are for or against federalism as many Filipinos would have their own views. But it is high time we consider all the pros and cons, or the modifications necessary. The point is we start talking and hopefully engage the electorate in voting for leaders that do make sense of the vision on how the new constitution will be able to help improve the lives of the Filipinos.

While Go Negosyo continues to inspire and empower people to have an optimistic and entrepreneurial mindset, it also wants to see a more stable entrep climate. Go Negosyo supports a move towards greater empowerment of the regions, encouraging leaders and the people to be creative and enterprising. Leaders should be elected on the basis of how much development they can bring in pushing for structures that will benefit a negosyo climate thru creative opportunities for people to invest in agriculture, tourism, and service industries. All these should lead in the development of products and services that are the strengths of the province. This will happen if we start to review our structures to enable our country to achieve a more sustainable progress. 2010 is not far away. Now is the time for 2010.2016 “PAGBABAGO”.