My President, my advice

Today, a new president and vice president will be elected. While surveys may have shown Noynoy’s lead increasing, the real test will be the actual votes to be cast today. It’s anybody’s game at this point.

Over the past months, the people’s attention has been in politics. After nine years, the Philippines will see a new president. Some are even desperate to see a new leadership. PGMA has been there for nine years now. It is quite a long time for some people who felt that she has not done well for the country. Those who feel that she has moved this country forward with her economic programs appreciated those nine years and would want to ensure the continuity of the good things she has done.

While PGMA will finish as an unpopular president after the Marcos era, I believe that she has done well for our country’s economy. This is evident with the economic numbers, job generation, and growth in business and infrastructures you see all over. There is also the boom in real estate, tourism and BPO industry. Even our consumer spending has continued to increase. So, entrepreneurs who have done well would want to make sure that the good things she has done are not reversed.

I have also spent the past week asking other entrepreneurs, financial managers and investment bankers on their choice of presidential color and on what would be their advice to the next president of the Philippines.

In fact, one of our youth entrepreneur awardees, Raymund Punzalan of Team Manila, goes for Villar. As for his message to the next president: c
onsistency of projects, helping promote graphic design as a great tool for beautifying the surroundings, and stopping poor graphic designs done by subcontractors and media suppliers.

Go Negosyo Davao Awardee and Sagrex President Ferdinand Marañon was thinking of three presidentiables: Villar, Gibo or Gordon. He also thinks “a President that we should elect had plans what to do before he presented himself to the electorate for election. He should have already the plans and program and the implementation guides to solve the problems of the country.”

We have also gotten a response from Annabel Wisniewski, President of Discovery Shores. “I am not registered to vote here, but if I were, I believe Villar would be my choice. Mainly because he seems to have the executive ability and experience the job needs, as compared to the others. (We) cannot have a ‘president-in-training’ or an ex- president who already showed that he could not do the job!” Her advice to the next president? “Put country first before self – and before your family and friends!”

CATS Motors President Felix Ang votes for Noynoy. “What attracted me to this candidate is the strong promise of a fresh change on a clean slate. By keeping this promise fundamentally imbedded in the culture of government and work ethics of its officials, we can be sure of a new Philippines – one that will promote our strengths as a nation over personal or individual interests. Areas such as education, poverty and fiscal governance will be addressed and corrected, thus restoring the Republic of the Philippines to its proper place as the new tiger of Asia,” he said.

On the other hand, Tony Llanes of ATRIEV School for the Blind chooses Gordon for President. “
Kung sino man ang manalo, magkaisa nalang tayo at suportahan natin. Huwag na sanang vindictive. Sa susunod na president, sana suportahan ang disabled and push for entrepreneurship, as simple as that,” he said.

“My president is Gibo,” said Condura’s Ton Concepcion. “My advice is for him to solve poverty by opening up 100% land ownership to foreigners of projects worth at least one billion pesos. The project will be tax exempt for five years. In return they have to develop/adopt a depressed community and lift them from poverty by providing housing education and livelihood training. This is how a free market economy and foreign direct investment can have a direct and immediate effect on poverty.”

From Cebu, Justin Uy of Profoods goes for Noynoy. His advice is to “create a good business environment so we can expand and create more jobs”.

The man behind Sukang Pinakurat, Rene Stuart Del Rosario, also chooses Gibo. His advice is for the next president to have the political will to implement changes.

For Investment Banker Toby Gan, Villar is his President. His advice: use BOT for infrastructure projects; fix fiscal deficit by revamping BIR customs and increase VAT if need be, plus bring down income tax rate; concentrate on entrep development; increase education budget; amend constitution; and, take out foreign ownership barrier in land and all industries.

Another entrepreneur for Noynoy is one of the PCW-Go Negosyo Inspiring Women of the Year – Rosalind Wee. “My advice: give incentives and encouragements for people who want to go into business.”

Noynoy for President and Mar for VP is the choice of Renato De Guzman, CEO of Bank of Singapore. “We have no time to waste.  We have been so left behind and marginalized. We need to raise productivity to compete and declaring too many public holidays is counter-productive. Please stop this bad habit. Good governance is essential to economic development. Execution is key and always our weakest trait. It needs a combination of leadership with vision, strong political will and unquestionable integrity and a team of capable and nationalistic public servants. We are blessed to be in the Asia Pacific, which will be the fastest growing region in the world in the next decade. Have a strategy, particularly towards China, on how to position the Philippines to capitalize on such growth. You need a lot of support and prayers to succeed in this job.”

Tess Ngan Tian of Lot’s A Pizza goes for Gibo. Her advice: eradicate corruption; widen tax base to increase number of taxpayers; make the government more business-friendly by eliminating bureaucracy and red tape; above all, serve with humility and transparency.

It is very difficult to say with certainty that my candidate will be the key to the solutions of our country’s problems. Someone who says that he is absolutely certain is not being real. There is always that possibility that our choice of candidate will not live up to our expectations. Only time will tell, but let us remember that our future does not only rely on how good our next president and government leaders will be. Yes, it does make a big difference to have real enterprising leaders being elected, but our destiny is still within our control. Our future relies on how much we do want to succeed in life. For those struggling against poverty, the answer to your problem is not with Villar, Noynoy or Gibo. The answer is still with you, with each of us – having a positive attitude in life and ability to improve on our current situation and move up. There’s a saying that “we have to learn to paddle our own canoe”.  All it takes is a clear positive mindset, skills and creativity, and always add prayer. In the end, after all these months of campaigning, I pray that our Lord gives us the right leaders who will continue to help our country and its people to rise from poverty.