14 January 2017 – Just like that, a whole year has gone by. And, in the same fashion, half of the first month of 2017 has come and gone. Indeed time flies and apparently not just when you are having fun. By many accounts 2016 was not a year of fun and enjoyment, and yet it just whizzed by.

Certainly, quite a number of people just wanted 2016 over and done with, and perhaps this contributed to our mad rush to welcome 2017. Many of us hoped against hope that with the entry of the new year and with enough noise made, all the bad spirits, the seemingly unreal turn of events, and the hopelessness of 2016 will just fizzle out.

But halfway into January 2017, we all should probably accept that this year will likely be just as, or possibly even more, challenging than the year that passed.

As we continue into the new year, it is worth remembering that we do not have to rely solely on the power of noisemaking to shoo away evil and misfortune from our lives. A new year is a time for resolutions, commitments, and promises to improve ourselves; it is also a time to do things better and make lives better.

And make new year’s resolutions we all must. May I propose that aside from our personal resolutions, we as the people of the Pearl of the Orient adopt in solidarity some national resolutions?
There is a little book titled “12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country.” I hope we can all commit to read it and commit to share a copy with a fellow Filipino, especially our young ones. And can we take to heart these 12 definitely doable things as we go about our business in 2017? I am convinced that if we can get 12 million Filipinos to read the book and do at least half of what it suggests, our country will not only survive these challenging times but will also stand much taller in the community of nations.

In 2017, can we also commit to more inclusivity? This will require less pride and a pocketful of selflessness. This will require corporations to further chop off from their bottom lines so that open green spaces will not be drowned in steel and concrete, so that CSR programs will be funded despite a slowdown in profits, and so that smaller entrepreneurs will be integrated into supply and value chains and inclusive business models, despite increased costs. This will require the government, beginning at the very top, to do away with labels and focus on things that unite rather than divide us.

In this light, may I propose that inclusive growth and inclusive business, which the Kapatid Program and Philippine Business for Social Progress are aggressively pushing, become that one BIG THING that would unite us all? Leaders of industry like Joey Concepcion and Manuel Pangilinan are passionately committed to this initiative, and we need more champions in both the private and public sectors working together to get the job done. There are millions of Filipinos who have been left behind in various ways. We must focus on them and make them feel included in more ways than one.

In 2017, can we also all adopt one institution of our democracy to support, protect and correct? The strength of our democracy is founded on our institutions, and hence, our democracy will only be as strong as our institutions make it. I, for one, will commit to supporting the Commission on Human Rights as it reaches out to more and more Filipinos with the message that human rights are everybody’s business. I will help push the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Through the Integrity Initiative, we will also continue to work with the Office of the Ombudsman, and through the Judicial Reform Initiative, we will strive to make justice for all not just a dream.

We must STOP all efforts to undermine and destroy our institutions. They are not perfect but we can make them perfect given time, and only if we begin to care enough.
Bring it on, 2017! Our resolve is to make you better than the last.

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Peter Angelo V. Perfecto is executive director of the Makati Business Club and vice president of Integrity Initiative Inc.


Posted on 14 January 2017 under Business Matters section of The Philippine Daily Inquirer