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Speech of Dr. Jess Estanislao at the ABAC luncheon

from APEC2015.PH
Luncheon with APEC Senior Officials - 05

Speech of Dr. Jess Estanislao*
At the ABAC luncheon with APEC Senior Officials

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Delivered on November 13, 2015, at Fairmont Hotel, Makati]

The Chair and Delegates of the APEC Senior Officials Meeting; The Chair and Members of the APEC Business Advisory Council; Honoured Guests; Ladies & Gentlemen:

Thank you for this privilege and opportunity to present to you the on-going advocacy against corruption that civil society, business, and government have been undertaking for several years now in the Philippines. We are pleased to showcase actual examples of transformation in our public sector.

Corruption is evil. It weakens. It kills. It leaves many millions of people in poverty. It undermines faith and trust in government. It needs to be fought. Relentlessly and successfully!

The fight against corruption, however, cannot be a mere flash in the pan. It has to be systemic; strategic; and sustained.

This is how we have come to pursue the good governance advocacy. We have found that good governance is the other side of the same coin as the fight against corruption. Moreover, good governance sounds more positive; it also builds (rather than merely destroys); it also cleans up and restores trust (rather than merely removes dirt and the sources of dismay); it also strengthens and secures the continuity of regimes that tread on the right path (rather than merely disempowers those marked by graft and corruption).

Our good governance advocacy started with business. We worked with our private sector to embrace the principles and practices suggested by the OECD and now also by the G20. In particular, we worked with our publicly listed corporations to abide by the best practices espoused by ASEAN. We are pleased to show that 11 of the 50 top-scoring ASEAN publicly listed corporations are Philippine corporations; and may I add that four of those 11 Philippine corporations are under the leadership of one of your ABAC members from the Philippines.

However, it takes two to do the good governance tango. We therefore had to extend our advocacy to the public sector as well.

For our public sector, good governance means: their having to think long-term and strategic: they had to craft a shared vision, further specified by a Transformation Road Map. It also means their having to act systemic and on a sustained basis: pursuit of the Transformation Road Map has to be a shared responsibility on the part of everyone in the public sector enterprise. This means having to cascade and win buy-in from virtually everyone working within the enterprise; it means continuing monitoring of everyone’s performance; it also means rewarding above-target performance; and it demands having to stay the course until breakthrough transformative results are actually delivered.

This is how we have adapted the balanced scorecard into Philippine public sector institutions. We have called it the Performance Governance System: it is after all about good governance that is systemic and sustained so as to deliver transformative performance.

We applied the Performance Governance System from one city to another. Now, we have 5 Philippine cities that can be shown as examples for other Philippine cities to emulate. They are our first “City” Islands of Good Governance. One is from Luzon: the City of Balanga represented by the vice mayor, the Honourable Noel Joseph Valdecañas.

Two are from the Visayas: the City of Mandaue represented by the city administrator, Atty. James Abadia and the City of Talisay represented by the city mayor, the Honourable Eric Saratan;

And two from Mindanao: the City of Butuan represented by the city mayor, the Honourable Ferdinand Amante and the City of Dipolog represented by the city mayor, the Honourable Evelyn Uy.

Their representatives are here to be recognized. Their stories of transformation are available for other cities to look at and possibly learn from.

We have also gone from one national government agency to another. Now we have 5 Philippine national government agencies that we can hold as examples for others to emulate. They are our first “NGA” Islands of Good Governance. The first is the Philippine Heart Center under our Department of Health, represented by Dr. Maria Linda Buhat.

The second is the Department of Trade & Industry, represented by its Undersecretary, the Honourable Nora Terrado.  The third to fifth agencies are under our Department of National Defense: they are our Armed Forces of the Philippines, represented by the Chief of Staff, General Hernando Iriberri; the Philippine Army, represented by the Commanding General, Lieutenant General Eduardo Año; and the Philippine Navy, represented by the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Bayani Gaerlan.

Their representatives are here to be duly recognized and acclaimed. They have earned enough battle scars from the fight to transform themselves through good governance.

We have also worked hard to transform our state-owned enterprise sector. We call those belonging to this sector as “government-owned and controlled corporations.” The first national law passed under the current Administration was the Governance Act for our
government-owned and controlled corporations of 2011.

We are proud to present the first mature fruit of that law, the first GOCC Island of Good Governance. This is the National Electrification Administration, represented by the Administrator, the Honourable Edita Bueno. Their governance journey has been long; it has been inspiring; it has been marked by genuine, externally audited breakthrough results. Their Administrator is here to receive your applause and encouragement.

Regulators have great exemplary and beneficial influence upon the sectors they oversee and regulate. It is for this reason that we are especially proud to present the first Island of Good Governance from our regulatory sector. This is the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, our central monetary authority, represented by the Deputy Governor, the Honourable Vicente Aquino. Our central bank has embedded good governance practices into its system.

Now that we have these 12 Philippine public sector institutions as Islands of Good Governance, we set them up as beacons for anti-corruption and good governance. This demands that they should continue to give good example and inspiration to all other institutions. They are to be re-certified every 3 years: for their observance of the Code of Ethics and Integrity; their practice of solidarity and promotion of entrepreneurship in social enterprises; and their governance outreach proving that social responsibility has been embedded into their transformation program.

Even as they share good governance practices, we implore our Philippine public sector institutions to learn from the best anti-corruption and good governance practices from the entire APEC community.

In doing so, we will one day be able to realize our shared dream—our country, the Philippines, as an archipelago of good governance.

Thank you for your patience and attention.

* Jess Estanislao is Chairman Emeritus of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA)[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]