MANILA, Philippines – Entrepreneurs, representing the different chambers of commerce around the country, gathered in historic Manila Hotel last October 18 to 20, 2022 to be updated and revitalized at the 48th Philippine Business Conference and Expo with its theme, “The Philippines is ready and open for business.”
These local chambers from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao are under the umbrella of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), “a non-government association of private businesses that works to influence government actions on issues such as Agriculture, Information Technology, Human Resources, Tourism, Education, Energy and others.”
The first day was a chamber development forum that showcased the best practices of the selected local chamber organizations.
Highlight of the second day was the keynote message of Vice President Sara Duterte who emphasized on properly educating our youth, especially ensuring that the Grade 12 graduates are skilled to be able to get employment. She then appealed to the businessmen to be open and absorb these graduates when the time comes. Top government officials from the key departments laid out their plans for the ensuing years, promising on the “ease of doing business.”
The presence of Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and the PCCI submission of the Ten-point Resolutions were the climax of the 48th Philippine Business Conference. (Delegates and other attendees had to present a negative COVID-19 document to the Philippine Security Group upon entrance to the venue.)
President Marcos, Jr. said,
“Our business sector has always been recognized as an important partner and a source of new and bold ideas on how we can bounce back and prosper in the long run. We are very appreciative of the prepared Resolutions that you have made that embody the policy recommendations and proposed reform agenda from different sectors.”
10 Policy Resolutions
The PCCI urges the national government to achieve food security by amending the Agrarian Reform Law to increase land retention limit from five to 24 hectares, implement a debt condonation program for unpaid amortizations of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries, and convert Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) into simple titles.
On public health – for the government to reform the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. into a science-based and transparent healthcare system and encourage Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Law,
For the government to “work together with the private sector to re-energize the economy by supporting new investments to generate employment, provide assistance to pandemic surviving MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises), amend all restrictive and punitive labor laws and enact laws that will increase productivity.”
On education, PCCI proposes for the amendment of the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF) law to create a Philippine Qualifications Authority (PQA), which will establish and maintain qualification standards for all levels of education and training.
On national security – for the government to deepen cooperation with neighboring states, expand participation in regional and multilateral defense agreements while accelerating the Modernization Program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
PCCI also calls for the development and implementation of a nationwide internet connectivity program that is reliable and competitive by passing into law the Open Access in Data Transmission Act.
On climate change, the group recommends public-private partnerships to establish world-class water and waste management infrastructure.
On power, PCCI proposes for the acceleration of the integration of the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao grids to enable the free flow of electricity nationwide and allow foreign investment in solar and wind projects.
On the issue of transportation, the group urges the government to “provide world-class integrated transport systems and decouple the regulatory and commercial functions of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and other similarly situated transport agencies.”
On international trade, the PCCI calls to “hasten the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and to join bilateral free trade agreements and trans-pacific partnerships to minimize barriers to the free flow of goods and services.”
PCCI president George Barcelon said that the set of resolutions took a four-month series of dialogues all over the country with PCCI businessmen members.
(GMReyes, Southern Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry)