President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday made a renewed call to the business sector to help his administration address corruption and red tape, which have been plaguing the country for decades and affecting its growth.
Fighting corruption, eliminating illegal narcotics trade, and criminality were President Duterte’s major campaign pledges during the 2016 presidential election.
“I have tried my best day one of my administration to really do something about corruption. Good that we have now the ease of doing business,” he said in a speech during the 45th Philippine Business Conference and Expo held at the Manila Hotel.
“Sinabi ko na noon, I am bent to minimize if not totally eradicate. Ngayon, sinasabi ko sa inyo na katulong ko kayo. I cannot succeed no matter how, even if I fire or dismiss every day, as I did, as I’ve been doing for the last so many months, ‘pag hindi kayo tumulong sa akin. I need badly the cooperation of the business sector.”
He told the country’s business leaders that he needs their input to better serve the country and “thereby fulfill what I promised to the people.”
The President wants businessmen to be assertive and vigilant and inform him whenever they experience abuses in the government or any extortion attempt.
“And ito, simple lang. At the first mention of corruption in exchange for what you are applying for, following up, just let me know and I will guarantee you that I will call the guy you are complaining for the delay or just putting up to another day to act. Paalaman mo lang ako.”
President Duterte also wants businesses in the country to become responsible players in waste management and environmental protection.
The Chief Executive, who urged businesses to adopt sound waste management practices, was delighted by the signing of partnership agreement between the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) and Natural Resources Development Corp., noting environment protection is a priority under his administration and the business sector should also do its part.
“You can contribute by helping us build more disposal sites for our waste and treatment facilities. And for waste water and farms to produce food to nourish our people in the years to come,” the President said.
President Duterte also highlighted the inevitable and increasing digitization and technological innovation in business and the need for the industries to cope with changes.
The government, he said, is doing its part in bridging digital divide in the economy by building appropriate infrastructures.
“The government on its part is working hard in bridging the digital divide by establishing the necessary infrastructure that will give our people access to better information technology services and by implementing programs that will enhance the skills of the labor force to cater to the digital economy,” he noted.
A strong business sector, the President stressed, is key to inclusive growth, adding that the administration will continue to foster a dynamic exchange of ideas among policymakers, business and development partners, and other stakeholders through various platforms such as Sulong Pilipinas, an annual consultative conference that brings together different stakeholders from all over the country.
The President congratulated the PCCI for successfully organizing the business conference and exposition.
Recognizing the event as an important occasion for the country’s business sector, he said that through the gathering, business people can propose various development plans and recommendations that would help the government craft measures for greater competitiveness and efficiency.
In fact, he said several recommendations are now being reviewed and implemented, which include the streamlining and simplification of government processes, active conduct of peace efforts to address local insurgencies and initiatives that bring about sustainable development.
The President also made an assurance that the government would remain committed to exploring and implementing measures that foster dynamic business growth and development for the benefit of the Filipino people.
“Together, let us harness the strength, ingenuity, and resources of the business sector towards building a stronger and more progressive Philippines,” he said.
The 45th Philippine Business Conference and Expo has for its theme “Enabling Business in a Digital Economy.” This week’s conference and exposition aims to look into the dynamics of a digitally driven economy and how it impacts on people’s growth and business sustainability.
It also serves as a platform for PCCI members and partners in the private sector and in the government to converge, organize dialogue, and come up with policy recommendations to improve the country’s business environment. PND