Government should stay out of business
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - September 9, 2019 - 12:00am

The government should govern, and business should focus on managing the economy. Each should stay out of the other. That way, life would be better for all of us.

Trouble begins when government officials start poking their fingers into the realm of business and when businessmen begin becoming senators and congressmen and start to dictate policies to the rest of the nation. It would be easier and less problematic when government focuses on governance, minding the national security, peace and order, foreign affairs, justice, education, public health, social services, and other matters of public interests and national concern. And businessmen should concentrate on managing the factories, the production, movement, and distribution of goods and services, focusing on trade, commerce, and industry.

The foregoing premises constitute the rationale and, if you will, the philosophy behind the privatization of many agencies and institutions, companies and offices, properties and assets. Because of these, the old Fort Bonifacio and a large part of Villamor Airbase were privatized under the administration of President FVR. They are now owned, managed, and used by private businessmen. Hotels, restaurants, world-class hospitals, condo towers, malls, supermarkets and branded outlet stores proliferate like giant mushrooms in an urban metropolis. The fort used to be a grassy wilderness bound by Forbes and Dasma villages and the urban poor settlement in the Taguig side. Global City and its neighboring Newport City are the symbols of business rising when government lets go and allows private enterprise to take over.

The business of electricity, water, and transportation used to be monopolized by government. Now power is in the hands of the private entrepreneurs like Meralco, Veco, Davao Light, Cotabato Light, and a hundred or so of privately-owned and managed electric cooperatives, and power companies. Maynilad, Manila Water and a hundred or so water districts all over the country are distributing water. There are a myriad of challenges, but then again, these are really better run by the private businessmen. Transport firms, like airlines, shipping companies and bus firms and car rental services are all privatized. Albeit there are problems, some excesses, and deficiencies here and there, negligence and abuses once in a while, what matters most is that in the whole, the people are not really disappointed altogether.

The PNOC, including Petron (which used to be called Petrophil) and all its subsidiaries in petroleum, geothermal, dendro, hydro, and other sources of energy used to be owned by the government. Philippine Airlines was government-owned, as well as Philippine National Bank, but now both are in the hands of Mr. Lucio Tan. Manila Hotel was a government property but the Bulletin Group now controls the iconic hotel replete with history, culture, and arts. Clark Airbase, Subic Naval Base and the Baguio Country Club and many other military and commercial establishments have become privatized. Rice should not be sold by NFA, and all other commodities should be in the hands of private enterprises.

The government's attention, energy and determination should not be distracted by private affairs. Privatization is more in keeping with the interests of the people. Government should focus its limited resources and time to matters of governance and of public concern.

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