Moving On

Last Sunday, I read the column of fellow Philstar columnist Babes Romualdez. I don’t normally comment on what people write or say but what he wrote really made a lot of sense. Babes mentioned that what we need is a change in our political structure. What I guess he was referring to was a move to a Parliamentary form of government. The current system that we have is clearly not working well as I have reiterated in many of my previous columns.

As we can see, most stable and progressive countries in the world follow a parliamentary form of government. These include Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden, and also neighboring Asian countries such as Japan, India, Singapore, and Malaysia. At present, the Philippines is the only country in Southeast Asia with a presidential bicameral form of government. Isn’t that already saying something? Presidential form of government may work well in more politically mature countries. Since a vote of confidence is important in our society, I would prefer a parliamentary form where the Prime Minister can be removed due to loss of confidence.

I also agree with Babes that the only way we can stop or lessen corruption is to make it less expensive to run for office. Spending hundreds of millions to run as a Senator and billions to run as President is a waste of money even if it comes from private individual donations. Not to mention that nowadays, it requires big budget and longer period to pass good laws given the two chambers we have.

We hope we can see the conclusion soon on this controversy so we can move on as a nation. We also hope that in these investigations, more weight can be given to evidences since even in private corporations, one needs evidence of corruption before taking out the person. Hearsay while it may be material, cannot be used in getting a person fired. I am glad Senator Jamby Madrigal filed the case in court as this is the proper venue for issues like these. If they are found guilty, then let the full force of the law take its course on them. That’s the way a civil society should work, by the rule of law, not the rule of a mob.

We hope this Senate inquiry can lead to laws that will minimize corruption. Bidding procedures should be more transparent, maybe we should start by mandating the clergy to be part of bidding above a certain amount. All bidding of mega projects can also be publicized using a tri-media coverage which shows bid documents being opened at the same time.

Let us focus more on solving poverty which is our country’s biggest problem. Organizations like Gawad Kalinga continue to do their part in helping solve poverty and the various foundations created by large corporations. Go Negosyo in its small way thru the advocacy wants to help create more enterprising Filipinos. Surely more negosyantes will want to see us move away from this reality show because letting the issue linger without concrete action would clearly be a waste of everyone’s time.

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Amidst the clouds of controversies dominating the news nowadays, it is very encouraging to witness inspiring moments that took place two weeks ago when the Ernst and Young SGV held their awards night for the Entrepreneur of the Year (Philippines) 2007. The gathering was filled with the country’s leading entrepreneurs, including the previous years’ awardees led by Go Negosyo Trustee Nanay Coring Ramos, our mentor Senen Bacani and my good friend Lance Gokongwei.

This annual activity was organized by SGV Foundation led by Chairman Dave Balangue, and attended by Former President FVR, Secretaries Peter Favila of DTI and Arthur Yap of DA, RCBC Chair Cesar Virata and several Go Negosyo advocates Johnlu Koa of French Baker, Henry Lim Bon Liong of Sterling, Cecilio Pedro of Lamoiyan, Myrna Yao of Richwell and now NCRFW Chair, Gaita Fores of Cibo (who is a finalist, and who eventually won the Woman Entrepreneur award, Willy Tan of Hausland (who was our Pampanga Go Negosyo awardee and who eventually won the Realty and Construction Entrepreneur award) and Dr. Cecilia del Castillo of Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (another Gonegosyo Bacolod awardee and a finalist in this award). We congratulate them and the other entrep awardees- Rajo Laurel for Small Business Entrepreneur, Abelardo Tolentino of Aidea Phil. for Innovation, Angela Villalba of Unlad Kabayan Migrant Services Fdn. for Social Entrepreneur, and Fred Uytengsu for Master Entrepreneur, and the overall Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines award.

Recognizing these tough entrepreneurs always bring to fore the ideal role models for the Filipinos. Most of them have emphasized the importance of hardwork and discipline, and having the right entrepreneurial mindset that banked on innovative products and services and continuous search for what is needed by their markets. Humbling remarks were even heard from Fred who instead recognized the entrepreneur in the family, his father, who started Alaska. He further credited the other entrepreneurs in the crowd who have started their businesses from scratch. But I believe everyone would agree that Fred was responsible to taking the growth of their company to higher levels and to where it is now. Fred to me is an example of someone with strong entrepreneurial mindset inside a corporation or what we also call as an intrapreneur.

I must mention the equally inspiring finalists such as Joey Antonio of Century Properties Group, Exi Robles of Sta. Lucia Realty, Rajo Laurel, Edward Lee of Citisec Online, Roy Rivera of RD Realty, Jose Cervantes of Portion Fillers, Chester Cokaliong of Cokaliong Shipping Lines, Sebastian Tamayo of Far East Hotel Management, and Evelyn Lao-Yap of Benby Enterprises.

We can glean from the awardees their unique and impressive businesses, but all with strong passion and determination to succeed. Our big congratulations to the well-deserving winners and finalists.