Let’s get in touch.
We’d love to hear from you.
As the Philippines continues to grapple with challenges on several fronts, it is heartening to see competent individuals being assigned to address critical sectors such as health, agriculture and tourism.
As a CEO myself, I know how important it is to have leaders within the organization who understand and can carry out the smooth day-to-day running of the company. A good leader knows to trust his delegates, and he knows that in order to do this, he must be wise in choosing the people who make up his team.
Successful organizations are like good basketball teams: each player holds an important role, and how well they perform that role increases the chances of victory. The team can’t win unless it works together, and the team can’t survive a nail-biting overtime bout if it has a shallow bench.
I believe the President has chosen individuals who have proven track records in their respective fields, and who are able to carry out his vision for the country. Because they are in charge of critical areas, their success will be crucial to the country’s economic growth.
I have come to know these individuals in the course of my work at Go Negosyo, some even more so when we went through that crucible that was the Covid-19 pandemic. Department of Health Sec. Ted Herbosa, for example, was a unique combination of a physician who can see beyond his profession and appreciates the importance of crafting sound policy to respond to the situation on the ground. He sees how policy in one sector of public health can impact the economy; this was so important when we were trying to balance health and the economy as we struggled with the pandemic.
Fortunately for the country, we had already in government then-MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos. He united the Metro Manila mayors to agree to a controlled lockdown back in 2021, and that delivered for the country a healthy return to normalcy beginning Christmas that same year. Needless to say, his appointment as Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government – one of the first appointments made by President Marcos Jr. – was beyond question.
Another sector that we were concerned about during the pandemic was tourism. Of course, back then, we were imagining that we would have to factor in lengthy quarantines and vaccination cards for tourists from hereon, but as we grew to understand and accept that Covid is going to be part of our lives, it became clear that tourism will have to go and move forward, maybe even double-time, in order to make up for lost revenues.
I got to know Department of Tourism Sec. Christina Garcia Frasco when Go Negosyo held its Tourism Summit last March and I can say that the President couldn’t have chosen a more passionate and competent tourism secretary.
Our agenda for the Tourism Summit was to see how MSMEs can best position themselves for growth, and how social media can help tell the world about what the Philippines has to offer. Many micro and nanopreneurs like souvenir vendors and trike drivers – especially those based in the provinces where the tourist spots are located – depend on tourism. The industry has the potential to contribute significantly to the country’s economic growth, employ people and uplift entire communities. After talking to Sec. Frasco, I knew she understood the assignment. Her work is so much more than nifty campaigns; the real heavy lifting happens behind the scenes and it involves working with local governments, numerous government agencies and cooperating with the private sector for capacity-building of our tourism spots all over the country to help them become tourist-ready.
Another key appointment is Mayor Eddie Guillen, who is now leading the National Irrigation Administration. What is exceptional about Mayor Eddie was how he was able to work with the private sector back when he was mayor of Piddig, Ilocos Norte. I first met him when we were starting projects that would eventually become the Kapatid Angat Lahat sa Agri Program. I was thoroughly blown away by his methodical and sincere approach to making farming a viable livelihood for his constituents. His partnership with Universal Leaf’s Winston Uy has helped the farmers in the region; in fact, they have done so well that the Philippines is now a leading exporter of tobacco. His experience in working with the private sector will bring much-needed expertise to the government’s efforts to revitalize Philippine agriculture.
What makes me even more optimistic about our agriculture sector is how carefully the President is choosing key people that will help him in his job as agriculture secretary. He appointed a dedicated Cabinet-level secretary for rice, for example, and chose Usec. Leocadio Sebastian to head the rice program. Usec. Sebastian’s success will mean food security for our country and improved incomes for millions of small farmers. He joins Sec. Conrad Estrella III, who is tasked to lead the Department of Agrarian Reform. Now Sec. Estrella’s job is probably the toughest and most complicated of all because he will have the very difficult task of untangling decades of land titling issues that have plagued the country for far too long. On his shoulders rests how soon the country can join its ASEAN neighbors in achieving economies of scale and become an agricultural powerhouse.
The Private Sector Advisory Council, which the President created to gather inputs and harness the expertise of the business community, will be there to help the individuals who have these difficult jobs ahead of them. But to ensure success in these critical sectors, we must all work together – the private sector, the public at large, MSMEs, everybody – to help the government achieve its goals and address the challenges in these sectors and ensure a brighter future for the country.