Onward to new beginnings

MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Atty. Mike Toledo - The Philippine Star
Onward to new beginnings
Stratbase ADR Institute president Prof. Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit, Ayala Corp. president and CEO Cezar “Bong” Consing, Makati Business Club treasurer Rizalina Mantaring, Aboitiz Infra Capital president and CEO Cosette Canilao, Philippine Women’s Economic Network (PhilWen) president Ma. Aurora Geotina-Garcia, PLDT president and CEO Al Panlilio, International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) executive vice president Christian Razon, the author, and Stratbase Group chief operating officer RP Manhit.

For the past six years, the Stratbase Albert Del Rosario Institute, or Stratbase ADRI, has held its annual Pilipinas Conference to spark ideas and generate discussions on the pressing issues of its time.

The Pilipinas Conference 2022 aimed to continue forwarding multi-sectoral collaboration and impacting policies on the most urgent social, political, and economic challenges that influence the Philippines and the Indo-Pacific region.

Last year, the Pilipinas Conference was held in November at the Ayala Museum (with livestreaming via Zoom) with the theme “Onward to New Beginnings: Sustaining and Improving Philippine Development.”

With it, the conference engaged the new administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. across three key areas of development: governance, security, and the economy.

It was through the conference that Stratbase ADRI, under the helm of the astute Prof. Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit, aimed to raise awareness on key steps the government was taking to improve the country’s conditions as it builds back from the various crises it experienced in the last two years.

Prof. Dindo Manhit, Ambassador Albert del Rosario, and RP Manhit.

In its concept note, the Institute said that moving forward from the 2022 national elections and keeping in mind the various crises the country faced, it was important to engage the new government on how it intended to set the course for the next six years.  The conference served as a platform for the said engagement and would also be an avenue for thought leaders from the business sector, academe, and civil society to share their insights on the new administration’s agenda.

It was also noted that it would be an event to tackle Philippine development today.

The morning session of the first day discussed “Governance and the Private Sector: Carving Paths to Inclusive Development” and delved into government reforms and private sector initiatives to thresh out development challenges and opportunities. In essence, this twofold session projected and analyzed the political and economic opportunities in crafting sustainable development strategies under the PBBM administration.

The afternoon of Day One saw a two-part session on “Leveraging Strategic Partnerships and Multilateral Cooperation in the Promotion of a Rules-Based International Order.” This sought to provide a platform for experts and scholars to come together and share their insights and recommendations on building a more responsive and strategic foreign and security policy for the country. This was also an opportunity for important stakeholders, including government officials and members of the diplomatic community, to iterate their mutual commitment in promoting a rules-based international order that would be beneficial to all states.

The second and final session on Day Two, also divided into two parts, dwelt on “Business Value Creation: Paving the Path for Inclusive Growth” and served as a platform for the Philippine government’s economic managers, business groups, and industry thought leaders to share their insights on how meaningful partnerships between the new government and the private sector could promote inclusive growth and sustainable development in the years to come.

Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual.

It was also ADRI’s fourth virtual business roundtable discussion for that year, a quarterly series that gathered the country’s business community to spark discussions on the vital role of businesses in nation-building.

I had the honor of being the moderator for the third panel session in the afternoon of Day Two, a panel discussion on “Creating Long-Term Value for All Stakeholders.” The distinguished panelists were Bong Consing, president and CEO of Ayala Corp.; Cosette Canilao, president and CEO of Aboitiz InfraCapital; Al Panlilio, president and CEO of PLDT; Christian Razon Gonzalez, EVP and chief risk officer of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. or ICTSI; and Riza Mantaring, treasurer of the Makati Business Club and former CEO and country head of Sun Life Philippines.

An all-star cast, no doubt, of the current Who’s Who in business, which made for an interesting discussion. It was not easy to pick the brains of these stellar personalities who were good friends as well. Nevertheless, the insights that they shared were valuable, timely , and at times provocative, not just for the business sector but for all.

As Professor Manhit said in his statement during the second day, “A sustained, committed partnership between the government and the private sector will be a game-changer in our recovery and development.”

Wise words that should guide us all into 2023.

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno.



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