Archive for May, 2008

OUR DREAMS FOR OUR CHILDREN

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

As the summer vacation in the Philippines comes to an end, high school graduates who are now bound for college should start taking life more seriously, especially if they have not done so in high school.

For most of us who have taken our high school education in the Philippines, it was a time when we enjoyed the most. We met friends and continued to be friends even after high school. This is why today, the veladas, homecomings and alumni gatherings in the different schools are growing more popular, with more people taking time to attend these events.

As parents, we now enjoy taking trips down memory lane. We still enjoy the company of our friends from high school, some who have not changed at all in attitude, but mainly in looks. When my wife and her batch mates get together, they still think they’re in high school. I guess this is how you build on a relationship that cannot be learned but experienced and developed overtime.

I am a parent with five children, with a one-year-old youngest child. Some people can’t believe that, specially my friends who think I am over the hill as I turn half a century old next month. But, I am still able to pull off looking younger while on our summer trip in America. I was buying a cigar in a shop and a lady asked me for an ID. I asked her if she was sure about asking for my ID, and as she saw it, she was surprised to see my age. Another instance was in a restaurant in Washington, I was with my kids and I asked for a margarita. Again, a lady asked for my ID. She was surprised as I told her that the people sitting with me are my children. I told my kids, “You guys look ‘our’ age.”

Taking time out and being with our children this summer is something my wife and I have been doing for many years. Now, as my only son is in college and with a daughter who is going to college, my dream is for them to be able to do what they really enjoy doing. Yes, they do need a bit of pushing and directing but that is the most one can do as parents. The best we can do is to teach the right values that will make them successful in life.

Success is not guaranteed even if one is a bright student. There are values that we are able to give our children in terms of what they have seen in us as parents. First and foremost, for parents to keep a good family relationship, both parents must hold on to their marriage vows. They must always remember to live a God-centered life and the rest of the values will just come along.

Carla Limcaoco, daughter of Carlos Salinas, a low profile entrepreneur who is into shipping and transport, has been able to live on her father’s dreams. Presently a trustee of Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship, Carla was able to make her dream come true, with her daughter who is into teaching. Her daughter has started to put up her own school this June. Carla says that as parents, we provide our children with the roots and wings and let them fly.

This is the very essence of our role. We may make millions of pesos but in the end, if it is turned into waste because of chaos among family members, then all is lost. I guess what we all really want is for our children to live a happy life no matter what. Some might want just a simple life, but they may still be the happiest persons in the planet. I guess for those who have watched the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness”, this movie best shows what life should be.

For the next two to three columns, I have asked other parents to share their dreams for their children. We all want the best for them, but we have to show them how to be the best. Remember that we are the examples of what they will follow.

I asked the following questions to parents from the Go Negosyo community: What would you want your children to be? Do you think local schools can help attain that goal? Do you see your own son or daughter owning a business one day? What would your advice be to other parents?

Here are some of their insights:

ATTY. FELIPE GOZON (CEO, GMA Network Inc.)

Apart from being professionals (if the college course they choose to take is not commerce or business administration), I’d like my children to also have their own businesses. I will advise other parents to encourage their children to have their own businesses and be entrepreneurs.

Eric Alberto (Senior Vice President, PLDT)

I would wish for my three pre-college kids (two girls and a boy) to finish post graduate studies in a course of their choice and best interest. Paramount to such wish is for them to all become socially responsible and productive Filipino citizens. I still believe excellent education can be obtained in the country which can mould any diligent student to be a successful corporate professional, better yet entrepreneur. Yes I would be thankful if one or all of my children would pursue entrepreneurship, as this would allow them to create value multipliers not only for themselves but for others as well. Their mother, Chari, and I do everything within our means to support each of our children to be the best of what they can be in their chosen vocation.

Carla S. Limcaoco (Vice-Chairman/Executive Managing Director, Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc.)

I would like them to pursue professions or establish businesses in accordance with their passions. I would like to see them succeed in all aspects of their lives and whether they work because of necessity or because they love what they do or maybe because they have to, I would like to see them happy.

Yes, I believe that the top universities are able to provide the foundation for this goal although they must constantly look at what is happening around the world and in the area of teaching and education to ensure that the youth are provided the standard and substance of education that will allow them to be competitive in today’s globalized world.

What concerns me more are the other schools that may not have the capability due to limitations in teachers and equipment and since many of our youth go to these schools, we are once again challenged in terms of how we can help them compete and responsibly contribute to our society.

Yes (I see my children owning their own business someday), if he or she has it in his or her blood. From the time she was young, my eldest daughter wanted to be a teacher. After graduating she taught for awhile and then decided, together with a group of friends, to put up a pre-school. After a lot of hard work, this has become a reality and now they are marketing their pre-school which is scheduled to open in June. I believe that she is very lucky to be able to pursue a business which is also her passion. This is where it has to begin. There has to be that passion for something, whether it is a product or service, and then there has to be that willingness to venture out and take the risk to make your dream a reality.

Somebody once said that our role as parents is to provide our children with roots and wings. If we do our job right then our kids will have the foundation that they need to start their own lives and more importantly, take responsibility for their actions. In the end they must discover their happiness. We can continue to support and help them along the way, but ultimately, they must make their choices and stand by it.

There will be more insights and sharing from parents in next week’s column. We will be featuring an interesting insight given by Dean Pax Lapid of the Entrepreneurs School of Asia.

The John Maxwell Leadership Summit

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Live via Satellite on June 10, 2008
Philamlife Auditorium Manila
Tickets: Balcony P750 (sold out) and Orchestra P1800

 

Tickets available at:

Program

08:00—Registration
08:30—Opening Remarks
08:45—Live Session: The Leadership Challenge by Lloyd
Luna
09:15—Live Session: The 360 Leader by Anthony Pangilinan
09:50—Break
11:00—John Maxwell Live from Edsa Shangri-La Hotel
02:00—The CEO Leadership Forum
02:45—Closing Program

 

Reserve your seat! Text LUNA (space) MAXWELL (space) YOUR
NAME and send to 2299. For questions or inquiries, you can call Lloyd Luna at 0927-7562777
or e-mail him at lloyd@lloydluna.com

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Global Entrepreneurship Monitor

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor gem.gif

The Philippines, through the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE), has participated for the first time in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Research Consortium. GEM is the largest single study of entrepreneurial activity in the world. No other benchmark exists that can be used as basis for reliable international comparison. Because of its worldwide reach and rigorous scientific method, GEM has become the world’s most influential and authoritative source of empirical data and expertise on the entrepreneurial potential of nations.

To learn more about GEM and the results, download the report .

Copyright 2007 by Imelda J. Madarang, Cielito F. Habito and the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship

No part of this report may be reproduced or otherwise used without
prior written permission from the publisher unless such use is
expressly permitted by applicable law.

Following guidelines must be followed:
Proper accreditation is given to the article writer
Proper accreditation is given to the photographer or artist (if material will be used)
Proper and prominent accreditation is given to Imelda J. Madarang,
Cielito F. Habito and the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship

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Food for Thought on Food Crisis

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

What is causing the insufficient rice produce in the country? Should we blame the free trade disciples who have been saying “let the countries with the lowest cost structure produce the crops which will make it cheaper for people”? While this may have some truth, I believe we now see what happens when things are overdone.

It shows that even in the Philippines, we cannot be overly dependent on the importation of lower cost products because the situation can change; like what we see now on major categories like rice, wheat, sugar, beef and other commodities, prices of which have gone up to record levels. There are cases when orders of these products are not being served as the exporting countries would prioritize their local needs.

We see the interplay of several factors, such as the phenomenal increase in oil prices and the tragic combined effects of limiting supply and growing demand. We all observed the increasing purchasing power of two of the world’s largest markets; that of China and India has raised the demand to all-time-high levels. Meanwhile, the continuing increases in oil prices have encouraged several countries to search for oil substitutes. Countries have started to allocate land to plant crops for biofuel, while oil producing nations have also started efforts to buy farms all over the world, especially in Asia in a bid to assure themselves of food supply (or perhaps to encourage the use of land for food rather than for oil substitutes). How serious will this food crisis go? These things will be corrected in time; but as commodity prices are also exaggerated with many hedge funds buying commodities, prices of commodities will stay high.

Moreover, uneven playing fields or plain market forces in source countries may lead to undue comparative advantage. Typical example would be the exportation by the US to the Philippines of dark chicken meat, which to them is given very low value since the American consumer would prefer white meat parts. This reality almost killed the local chicken industry in the Philippines.

As I was driving down from Los Angeles to San Francisco (and the last time I did this was five years ago), I was amazed to see areas near Santa Barbara and noticed a remarkable change. For over 100 miles on both sides of the road, huge tracks of land were converted to vineyards and planted with other fruit crops. I am sure lots of investments were made. This reminded me of the potential we have in the Philippines, especially in Mindanao. You can imagine Mindanao and the huge tracks of land we also have there. With an almost perfect weather, Mindanao has the tremendous potential of becoming the food basket of the Philippines.

The real situation lies in the Philippines considering we used to be one of the main exporters of rice and good potential in fruit and root crops. We actually trained people from China and Thailand in terms of rice production. As a goal, we must bring up rice production in the Philippines and eventually become self sufficient. How can this be done? What opportunities do this present for entrepreneurs? Likewise, the risks of the weather have been a deterrent to many entrepreneurs venturing into agriculture.

I have asked active Go Negosyo mentors like former Agriculture Secretary and 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year Senen Bacani, together with Arsenio Barcelona and Henry Lim Bon Liong, to share their thoughts on the notion of the Philippines being self-sufficient with rice in the next five years and on what opportunities it presents to entrepreneurs. These are their thoughts and recommendations on the country’s agriculture and food security.

From SENEN BACANI:

Realistically, it may take two to three years for our country to be self-sufficient in rice as we need to build/rehab and restore some of our irrigation facilities as well as generate enough certified and hybrid seeds. Programs are in place and what we need is a more effective implementation. Previously, prior to the world crisis, there seems to be ambivalence on the national policy on becoming self-sufficient in rice, whether it takes 100 percent or just about 90 percent of the requirement. Under normal times, it makes economic sense to import rice as other countries like Vietnam and Thailand can produce rice at 200-300 US dollars per ton vs. the Philippines’ 400 US dollars per ton. Plus, having self sufficiency also runs the risk of having surpluses at certain times which drives down farmgate prices. But, we see the reality now that when the crisis becomes a global scale, exporting countries will first prioritize their local requirements before serving buying countries like the Philippines. Thus it pays to ensure preparing for our full requirement. Moreover, there is the phenomenon of population growth that must require agriculture planners to prepare for the requirement of the growing population.

On the risk of excess production, assuming we have reached the point of self-sufficiency, there must be a support fund that will allow buying off buffer stocks to keep a good price for farmers, for future use and for possible exports (if price and cost warrant). Export price of course would depend not only on global price but also on the forex rates.

On foreign companies wanting to buy farmlands, our constitution prohibits ownership but investments in JV operations and long term leasing are always possible and would oftentimes make more sense for foreign investors.

Negosyo opportunities would be in the commercial production of organic fertilizers, which right now has remained mostly backyard operations. There are also opportunities for certified and hybrid seeds supply and rice-based value added products.

From ARSENIO BARCELONA of Harbest Agribusiness Corporation

The spiraling prices of basic commodities such as rice and corn have brought up concerns on the soundness of our agricultural policies regarding the efficiency of our development program and their sustainability in the municipal level. Many reasons were given. The doubling of chemical fertilizer costs, high cost of transporting the farm produce to market or to processors, the pressure on labor cost and the increased cost in the procurement of imported rice and corn brought about by the steep increase in Petroleum price per barrel. Many technocrats are also questioning the soundness of Bush’s national policy of producing ethanol from corn which placed a lot of pressure on corn price, with fuel competing with feed for cattle. The queuing up of Metro Manila’s “poor” before the NFA rice rolling stores seemed to show the reality of a rice shortage. Or is it a “price” shortage for cheaper rice?

With this scenario, our attention is again focused on the rice and corn situation of the country’s agricultural output. However, there is sector that ought to have the attention of our local executives to address urgently and immediately the supply of affordable food for the daily needs of Filipinos. This is the vegetables sector. The often neglected yet highly effective means to provide an affordable substitute for imported food that will provide the basic nutritional requirement of most Filipinos with rice.

As an immediate action to address the high prices of rice and corn, as well as food items in the market, it is suggested that LGUs take the lead in implementing a serious vegetable production in the barangay level, with logistical support for basic inputs and irrigation system that can provide the necessary element for success in its vegetable self-sufficiency program.

From HENRY LIM BON LIONG and JOH DUNGCA of SL Agritech Corp.:

The government will succeed in its rice self-sufficiency program which was started by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2001, if we will go into hybrid rice production in a more massive scale. The average yield of the inbred rice variety is only three tons per hectare whereas; hybrid rice variety can yield more than 10 tons per hectare. At present, only 200,000 hectares out of the 3.9 million hectares of the country’s total rice farms are planted with hybrid rice. If we can increase the hectares planted with hybrid rice by 800,000 hectares, this will produce an additional 3.2 million metric tons of palay or two million metric tons of rice (800,000 hectares x 4 tons per hectare = 3.2 million metric tons of palay). With this production, we will be able to attain self-sufficiency in rice and would not need to import a single grain.

There will be more recommendations and thoughts on the country’s agriculture and food security from Go Negosyo mentors and entrepreneurs next week.

PAGBABAGO 2010.2016

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

As the USA elections unfold, I took time to visit Washington with my kids just a week ago. We went to see the tourist attractions, one of which was the World War 2 Memorial. I was surprised to see the Philippines as one of the countries recognized for helping America. Our country’s name and flag were acknowledged, together with the 51 states of America. For a while there, I thought the Philippines was the 52nd state. I’m sure a number of Filipinos would have wanted the Philippines to be the 52nd state.

Kidding aside, Americans take pride in honoring their nation, same as in honoring their heroes, like Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, who have brought America to its present democracy and political maturity. It will take generations for the Philippines to get to where America is in terms of their mature political system – a two party system and a bicameral presidential system, with senators representing each state. The Philippines has basically copied the American system, but not quite completely. We don’t have a two-party system and our senators are not representing a particular region or province.

For more than 20 years since the EDSA revolution, we have gone through a Philippine boom and bust cycle brought about mainly by political ramblings. We have come to a point when we need to put forward more serious discussions on the country’s future; and it starts from a review of our current constitution. We have started a movement called Pagbabago 2010.2016, which calls for our country’s leadership to start taking the desired changes that our people want to see.

The presidential race in America has Obama as the favorite with his unique advocacy to change the culture of American politics and failed policies of the past through the grassroots movement. People see him as someone who will lead change in America.

So far, our country has a number of possible aspirants planning to run for presidential elections: Mar Roxas, Manny Villar, Loren Legarda, Chiz Escudero, Richard Gordon, and Noli de Castro. This list will become longer as we come closer to the 2010 elections. As elections approach, we hope that discussions will center on issues and platforms that need to be changed. What political structure is fit for us? What economic structures need to be changed in our constitution? What provisions need to be re-examined like on the extent of foreign investments in our country’s utilities, education and media. How can we allow more recognition and participation from provinces towards national development? These are only some of the questions that voters have to ask themselves as the 2010 elections approach.

Time has come for aspiring candidates to come forward and present their clear programs for change. Will the Philippines have an Obama in the making? America may have their first woman president or the first young African-American President. For us, this is our chance to elect the Philippine President who will start real changes.


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In line with the objectives of PAGBABAGO 2010.2016, Go Negosyo continues to move forward in our desire to build an entrepreneurial nation. Our stories of success reached as far as the Middle East as the Go Negosyo: Joey Concepcion’s 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurial Stories was featured in the Times of Oman Magazine. “Stories that Inspire” referred to the book as it was acknowledged as one of the top-selling books in the Philippines.

Let me share with you some comments on the book from the article:

STORIES THAT INSPIRE by Nasima H. Khan

“In this collection of stories written by different people, there are valuable entrepreneurial lessons to be learnt.”

“The actual stories are exciting and cover entrepreneurs of all ages irrespective of gender. The sole factor in featuring them is their success as entrepreneurs.”

“The write-ups are short and precise by different writers – almost like newspaper articles – focusing on the person and how the entrepreneurship was built up. The reading is simple and, well, inspiring. Entrepreneurs are not born, this book convinces the reader. Indeed, they are discovered and developed…”

We also got very good feedback from new entrepreneurs from as far as Davao and Dipolog, who have credited their venture into entrepreneurship and their current strategies from Go Negosyo mediums like our weekly Bigtime TV show, forums and the books we published.


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We were also happy to see a good crowd in our Go Negosyo: Joey Concepcion’s 50 Inspiring Stories of Entrepreneurs Celebrity Edition book tour last Mothers’ Day in Powerbooks Greenbelt. We would like to thank the people who participated in the intimate business forum with Tintin Bersola, Abby Arenas-deLeon, Cathy Brillantes-Turvill and Mike Turvil. It was inspiring to hear their stories and their learnings as they were too generous in sharing their entrepreneurial advice. We also invite you to join us in the next mini forum with our celebrity entrepreneurs. Go Negosyo will be in Powerbooks Trinoma on May 25, 3-5 pm for a mini-forum and free business consultations.


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Last Tuesday night was also a proud moment for entrepreneurs, as the Nokia Mobile Entrepreneur Awards recognized the innovative Filipino entrep. Nokia Philippines General Manager William Hamilton-Whyte and Go Negosyo Exec. Director Mon Lopez presented the award to two very young entrepreneurs, who have shown creativity and innovation and who have also been using extensive mobile technology in their business. They are Alvin Tan of Technominds and Oliver Kuy of Kuy Digital. The other 4 finalists are Mary Grace Pauline S. Llamas of Asian Link Bath and Body Essentials, Francis Anthony Zapanta of Netland Cellcard Station and Cellphone Repair Center, Dennis T. Camus Autozone Paint and Bodyworks, and Paulo M. Tibig Vintel Logistics, Inc.. We are glad to be a part of this project that aims to surface new inspiring entrep business models. We thank Go Negosyo advocates who helped in the judging – Dondi Mapa and Dickie Gonzalez, together with Director Myrna Pablo of DTI and Nokia’s Nikka Abes Singson. Joint efforts of various sectors for the common good really go a long way in touching lives.

The Perfect Storm

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

As recession hangs over America today; it brings about memories of the Asian crisis during the late 90s, which was also the last three years of President Ramos’ tenure. If not for the Asian crisis, Ramos would have scored close to a ten for bringing the Philippines to greater heights. But, the Asian crisis was brought about by greed, pushing property prices and development as if there was no end to good times.

This was not a Philippine problem to start with, but more of our Asian neighbors – Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, etc.. Their rapid expansion in property development led a lot of companies to borrow money in US dollars. As the foreign funds pulled out of their country, it led to a massive devaluation, which caused the property bubble to burst.

In the Asian crisis, the property bubble and foreign exchange losses hit the developers and larger corporations. In America, the property bubble which led to the financial crisis is hitting not only the financial institutions but the American consumer who has borrowed with very low equity, even for as low as ten percent. Before the crisis, at that time, even a zero down gets a consumer to finance a house. People live by credit in America, compared to Asians who would rather pay cash. Now, financial institutions have realized this mistake. They have increased standards in lending, which is now making it difficult for people to finance the homes they want to buy or refinance homes. This reminds me of how lax traveling in America was prior to the 911 incident. After the terrorist attack, travel security has been so strict to some extent, maybe even to an extreme point. This is how credit in America is and this is how it will be in the future.

I hope I am wrong, but America is still going through the same denial stage as what I saw in Asia. Now, the questions are how long will this recession last and how will it affect us in Asia.

Stock markets surely don’t reflect a recession. Having dropped to 12800 from a high of 14200 is not a major correction. In fact, China, Asia and especially the Philippines have dropped a lot more – close to 30 % on the average.

Jobs are becoming more difficult. Now people have to face the high prices of gas and other commodities, from meat, milk, rice to wheat and sugar. Name it. All prices of food products are on the rise. This will hit the American consumers’ pocket. This could be the making of the perfect storm. With a looming recession and inflation, not caused by high demand but by basic commodities and gasoline hitting the roof, the American consumer will surely be affected.

How will Asia be affected? We, too, will have our share of problems but more on the high prices of oil and other commodities. I always believe that these situations are exaggerated by the hedge funds who bet on commodity and oil prices. These are the speculators – all part of the financial derivative system we live in today. Luckily, these have been mitigated to some extent with the currencies in Asia appreciating to high levels. Can you imagine what it would have been if the peso were at the rate of 56? How much would rice, bread, milk and gasoline be? Despite all these, I believe that if Asia will be able to show growth even with the recession in America; China and other Asian countries will eventually decouple from America. In a way, however, we also benefit from a recessionary environment in America. Due to cost pressures, several American companies choose to outsource or import cheap labor through call centers and other services in Asia, especially in the Philippines. This presents us with a unique advantage, as Filipinos are one of the best English communicators in the world. We will continue to have a shortage of accountants, legal professionals, architects, etc.; but the best part is that we don’t need to export these people. They stay in the Philippines. The high cost structure in America will force them to import this labor.

What we also need to build is our food security program. I think the current situation shows us that we need to manage a balance between the necessity of a food security program and import liberalization. While importation is a way to ensure the availability of basic food items in normal times, we also see that it may not be that reliable as a source during tight global supply situations. We see some supplying countries naturally ensuring first the ample supply in their country before exporting priced food commodities. We therefore have to secure our capability to produce the basic critical commodities like rice and corn at any time. Like I said, we need balance. We cannot allow industries to be destroyed because it’s cheaper to import.

I believe that our ability to face challenges depend on the strength of our system and the resilience of our people. We have proven the resilience of Filipinos in facing one crisis after another, having lived with a boom-bust cycle over the previous decades. What we need is to further strengthen the very fiber of our economic and political structures to have a more robust growth. It is high-time we let the people and the experts review the important provisions in our charter; such as finding out the most effective form of government for our country, reviewing policies on land ownership by foreigners, development of natural resources, and foreign ownership in public utilities and telecommunications, to name a few.

Our advocacy to encourage Pagbabago in 2010.2016 presents us the opportunity to discuss these issues to have a more conducive Negosyo climate. We seek a stronger political-economic structure that allows greater unity and speed in moving the country and its people forward, a structure that can put us in a better position to face the perfect storms in our times… a structure that will empower the regions and create an entrepreneurial environment.

Time has come for real issues to be tackled. Let it start now…

Our Last Chance

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

I guess we have been saying for many years now that the Philippines has its last chance, but somehow God has been gracious enough to keep giving us many opportunities to be a great nation. Last week, after a lot of consultations with some senators, entrepreneurs and professional managers, the basic conclusion is that 2010 is when we reach a very critical point to make correct decisions for our future. I am referring to the need to integrate in the forthcoming 2010 elections the modes and process in adjusting our economic and political structures that will spur a more robust growth cycle for the country. What should be our systems and policies? This is similar to what entrepreneurs do when they review their company’s business model either thru the usual strategic planning process or the new Blue Ocean approach.

It’s time for the so-called Philippines Inc. to start the review of its “business model”, which translates to the socio-economic and political structures and policies that influence the overall macro-environment which we live in. We can expect the country’s future leaders running for public office and the highest position of the land to be talking about real issues during the campaign, mainly their platform and positions on critical provisions in the constitution.

This is why I have launched the 2010.2016, a movement for change or “pagbabago”. One of the senators that I had the chance to talk to was Sen. Nene Pimentel and we did share ideas. I told him 2010.2016 is not pushing for a parliament or status quo or Federalism. We are pushing for a mindset change for people to get involved and start the process of discussions, and the need to put in the agenda the review of our system. We need to start the debates and push for the process that will make this happen, either through a constitutional convention or a constitutional assembly, whatever Congress believes as the right approach.

Together with the national election in 2010, the process could include the election of the members of concon. Unless if congress feels a con-assembly is more practical, that could be the mechanism where elected members of Congress will constitute themselves into a constitutional assembly after the 2010 elections are held. We encourage the discussion to start now for people to understand. For example, which form of government is best for our country in light of all the socio-economic and political considerations? Should it be a bicameral or unicameral parliament or federalism? Or just a status quo of Presidential form with bicameral Congress? Other important constitutional provisions can be reviewed. We need the experts and the people to debate on whether or not it is better to have a geographical representation in Senate. What is the ideal term limit for national and local executives? What is the ideal degree of fiscal independence for local governments? Do we need to open up the foreign ownership of land just like in most Asian countries? Or determine first if ownership of land and the development of natural resources are critical at all to foreign investment decisions? Or what should be the degree of foreign ownership in media, public utilities, telecommunications and schools? These are just some provisions that can be revisited as we aim to strengthen our economic and political systems.

We are glad to see that Sen. Nene Pimentel filed Senate Resolution No. 10 which calls for a federal form of government. Ten other senators co-signed this resolution: Senate President Manny Villar, Senators Eduardo Angara, Pia Cayetano, Juan Ponce Enrile, Cheese Escudero, Jinggoy Estrado, Gringo Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Kiko Pangilinan and Bong Revilla. Not to say if we are for or against federalism as many Filipinos would have their own views. But it is high time we consider all the pros and cons, or the modifications necessary. The point is we start talking and hopefully engage the electorate in voting for leaders that do make sense of the vision on how the new constitution will be able to help improve the lives of the Filipinos.

While Go Negosyo continues to inspire and empower people to have an optimistic and entrepreneurial mindset, it also wants to see a more stable entrep climate. Go Negosyo supports a move towards greater empowerment of the regions, encouraging leaders and the people to be creative and enterprising. Leaders should be elected on the basis of how much development they can bring in pushing for structures that will benefit a negosyo climate thru creative opportunities for people to invest in agriculture, tourism, and service industries. All these should lead in the development of products and services that are the strengths of the province. This will happen if we start to review our structures to enable our country to achieve a more sustainable progress. 2010 is not far away. Now is the time for 2010.2016 “PAGBABAGO”.