PSC Holds the First Philippine Services Conference
PSC Holds the First Philippine Services Conference
By: Edilberto C. de Jesus
As with planned caesarean procedures, we know beforehand this baby’s birthday. On Jan. 21, 2019, the people within the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will determine in a plebiscite whether to welcome the birth of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR). But, as with any delivery, we cannot predict with absolute certainty the baby’s health condition at birth, or its future life prospects. It will take many years and much effort before we can proclaim the BAR a success.
The plebiscite to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) is only one part of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro concluded between the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to end nearly 50 years of the separatist insurgency. The “normalization” process requires settling security issues, such as the decommissioning of MILF combatants. A ceremonial decommissioning of 145 combatants took place in June 2015. But by the time of BOL ratification, 30 percent of MILF forces or about 4,000 combatants should already have been decommissioned and absorbed into the government’s security forces, or provided alternative livelihood opportunities.
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By: Guillermo M. Luz
The Philippines has had a spotty record of urban planning. What started out as beautifully master-planned cities generations ago have ended up as cities characterized by congestion and traffic, little or poor access to mass transit, few open spaces, parks and public spaces, and many blighted and derelict sections. And yet we’ve also seen some areas beautifully planned and built out in different parts of the country. Whether by design or accident, the parts that have become “liveable” are thriving, booming and driving growth.
Cities are drivers of economic growth and innovation. They are hubs of consumption, resource use and waste. They are also generators of wealth, production and development. The world has been on an urbanization trend for some time now. Over 80 percent of global GDP is generated in cities; 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from cities as well. Over one-half of the people in the world live in cities. And over 30 percent of global city residents live in slums; 75 percent of the global urban population live in a developing country.
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By: Ramon Del Rosario, Jr.
Education has historically been the domain of academicians. But that now needs to change, given the fast-changing world of work, advances in technology and economic growth that has not resulted in opportunities for all.
This was the consensus from the recently held 2019 Higher Education Summit organized by Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), an organization I serve as chair.
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By: Ma. Aurora “Boots” D. Geotina-Garcia
Business leaders often receive invitations to regional and international conferences. Sometimes we meet the same personalities or hear the same speakers talk about the same topics. Have you experienced “conference fatigue,” and feel that these gatherings are irrelevant and incapable of bringing about meaningful and fruitful discussions?
However, I would consider the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Asean held in Hanoi, Vietnam, last September as something different than the so-called “more of the same.” The main theme of the Forum focused on how Asean, as a regional community, can embrace the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”—a new and important area that needs to be addressed and requires regional cooperation as Asean is now moving toward becoming a key driver of the global economy and a critical player in international affairs.
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Figure 1. Philippine Services Coalition Co-Chair Doris Magsaysay-Ho delivers the opening remarks for the event
October 4 – Industry experts, business executives, and leaders from key services subsectors came together in the first Philippine Services Conference and Roundtable Discussion held at the Makati Diamond Residences, Makati City. The conference is the first major event of the revitalized Philippine Services Coalition (PSC), the leading services organization designed to act as the voice of the country’s dynamic services sector and represent the industry’s diverse interests in relevant trade in services and policy issues.
With the theme “Creating Synergies and Value for Global Participation,” dialogues were held among the key stakeholders to surface the issues and challenges faced by the industry in the context of ongoing regional trade initiatives, such as the ASEAN Economic Community, Trans-Pacific Partnership, and Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (explored by Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation).
Status of the Philippine services industry and outline of strategies to improve the sector
Figure 2. DTI Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba talks about the Philippine services economy
Representatives from the government, local and international services industries, and trade experts shared their knowledge in the substantive sessions. For the first session, “Assessing the Growth Environment for the Services Sector”, Department of Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba and Dr. Cielito F. Habito, Chief-of-Party for USAID’s Trade-Related Development Project talked about the current conditions and key aspects of the Philippine services industry. Ms. Doris Ho, Philippine Services Coalition co-chair, gave a response to the presentations of both speakers and stated the need for a long-term direction for the industry and consistent follow-through to improve the competitiveness of the sector. Mr. Cris Frianeza of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry moderated a discussion among the three resource persons and open forum to wrap the first session.
The second session, “Defining Strategies for a Globally Competitive Sector”, featured National Economic Development Authority OIC-Assistant Director-General Mr. Carlos Abad Santos and Ms. Hanim Hamzah, Board of Founders member of Indonesia Services Dialogue. Mr. Abad Santos discussed the policy reforms, initiatives, and strategies the government seeks to implement to make the country’s services industry more competitive, while Ms. Hamzah talked about Indonesia’s services industry and its experience in liberalizing the sector. Mr. Alvin Juban, Game Developers Association of the Philippines President, gave his response to the discussions and shared about the need for government support in pushing for a more competititive services industry. The three resource persons participated in a discussion with open forum moderated by Makati Business Club Executive Director Mr. Peter Perfecto.
Ms. Glenda Reyes, an independent trade consultant, wrapped the substantive sessions by discussing the key provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement with the audience.
Drawing sector-specific issues, challenges, and reforms
Figure 3. Breakout session for Creatives group, moderated by Mr. Daniel Enriquez and Mr. Norman Lee of DLSU-College of Saint Benilde
Five services subsectors were identified as key growth drivers \ for the services industry and Philippine economy, and thus, were the focus in the afternoon breakout sessions. These include Professionals
(engineering, architecture, accounting, legal, medical, nursing, dental, tourism, surveying professionals), Creatives
(animation, gaming, and IT), Health Services and Medical Tourism
, Construction and Public Utilities
and Transportation and Logistics.
Participants took part in the five simultaneous focused group discussions moderated by academic experts, covering the issues and challenges facing the selected subsectors especially in the context of ongoing regional trade agreements. They were encouraged to give their views and positions on the Philippines’ participations in international trade deals, as well as what they deem should be done to improve the competitiveness of the respective subsectors.
Charting the future of the Philippine Services Coalition
Views and positions drawn from the group discussions were summarized by the moderators and reported to all the participants. Insights from the discussions will be compiled into an in-depth report to be submitted to the government for their review and future action, as they continue to craft the roadmaps and long-term plans for industries and the Philippine economy.
Outlining the next steps for the coalition at the conclusion of the conference, concurrent PSC executive director, Mr. Perfecto, said that more in-depth dialogues between the government and specific services sub-sectors will be convened to determine the bottlenecks and outline the measures needed to boost their competitiveness. The PSC intends to participate in the discussions in the ASEAN Summit to be hosted by the Philippines in 2017, as well as continue its engagement with Asia-Pacific Services Coalition and will build a larger representation for the country’s services sector in future regional meetings.
As the coalition works on extending its reach and expanding its membership, it also plans on holding regular meetings with invited resource persons to discuss critical developments in the industry. With this, the PSC hopes to champion the policies and reforms needed to strengthen and advance the Philippine services sector on the global stage.