FPI PUSHES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, GOES AFTER ILLICIT TRADE
The 2015 General Membership Meeting of the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) at the Intercontinental Hotel last August 7, 215, underscored the federation’s thrust to promote sustainable development in the industry sector, even as it tackled pressing issues on smuggling and other forms of illicit trade among others.
The program kicked-off with FPI President George Chua’s report on how the federation handled the industry sector’s major challenges like the port congestion, which did not only cause delays in the delivery of much needed raw materials to the factories, but doubled the costs to both importers and exporters.
“FPI was instrumental in working with the concerned government agencies to find ways to resolve the port congestion issue.” Chua said, even as he reported that port operations at the country’s two major ports had been normalized and the Manila truck ban was lifted and aligned back with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) truck ban. The Manila truck ban was seen to have triggered the worst port congestion ever in the country.
Chua also reported that the Industry Development Council (IDC) was formally convened for the first time on April 4, 2014. The IDC is chaired by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Gregory Domingo, together with other government agencies, where FPI is among the representatives from the private sector.
“This is a testament of the recognition of the importance of industry in our economy and in the generation of employment to enable inclusive growth.” Chua said, adding that “The Industry Development Council has provided FPI the venue to air its concerns and advocacies on issues like the high cost of utilities such as power and water, the monopolistic and uncompetitive structure of our port facilities, the intrusive nature of our annual minimum wage increases, the controversial and arbitrary Writ of “Kalikasan”, the confusing requirements of Local Government Units (LGUs) and many other issues such as smuggling, product standards and the ease of doing business.”
According to Chua, the FPI will continue its advocacies to make the country’s industry sector, particularly its members, globally competitive.
Promoting Sustainable Development
To promote sustainable development in the industry and government sectors, FPI conducted a competition among industry stakeholders and LGUS for the best in resource utilization, health and safety and corporate social responsibility.
According to program host and FPI Director Dr. Ernesto Ordonez, the competition’s criteria were anchored on Profit, People and Planet. And for this year’s competition, AGC Flat Glass Philippines garnered the best in resource utilization, Shell Philippines for Health and Safety and Toyota Motor Philippines for corporate social responsibility. From the association and LGU category, the Philippine Plastic Industry Association captured the title for its optimum use of resources, management of wastes and corporate social responsibility, while the Municipal Government of Naga in the Province of Cebu won for its optimum use of resources and waste management program.
The “Bayabay” Awardees
Every year and every FPI General Membership Meeting, the FPI, aside from its program to promote sustainable development through a competition also give recognition and awards to all those who have helped in nation building and the promotion and protection of the Filipino nation’s interests.
In rationalizing the FPI “Bayabay” awards, FPI Chairman Jesus “Jess” Arranza explained the beginning of the award three years ago. According to Arranza, they found it most fitting to honor those in the government, media and other sectors who have unselfishly shared their time, expertise and heart in serving the nation and its people.
A “bayabay” according to Arranza, is a “Bicolano” word for town crier. He was a man who would go to the town plaza and rumble his drum to get the public to listen to his announcements, typhoon warning and municipal notices among others. The “bayabays” were unsung heroes at that time who risked their lives and spent their time and effort to bring the good and bad news to the public” Arranza said.
For the 2015 FPI “Bayabay” awardees, the line-up tells of people and government officials who have not only shown their passion and commitment for public service, but of their utmost care and concern as well for all Filipinos, regardless of their social and economic strata, in the dispensation of their duties as public officials and as members of media.
This year’s line-up of “Bayabay” awardees was led by Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Ombudsman ConchitaCarpio Morales, Department of Justice Secretary Laila De Lima, Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Jacinto Henares and Paranaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez from the government sector. From the media, the awardees were Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Conrado Banal, GNN President Mr. Philip Chien and TV and radio broadcasters Anthony Taberna and Gerry Baja. From the business sector, the awardees were Mr. Ramon S. Ang, President & Chief Executive Officer of San Miguel Corporation and Mr. Lucio C. Tan Sr. Chairman of Asia Brewery, Inc. While University of the East President and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Ester A. Garcia and environmentalists Dr. Edgardo G. Alabastro and Dr. Ely Anthony Rosales Ouano received the awards from the academe.
FPI’s Campaign Against Smuggling and Illicit Trade
In reporting the federation’s fight against smuggling Arranza said the FPI and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) establishing closer coordination between the two parties in the fight against smuggling and illicit trade. “We have now included in our advocacies the fight against cartels, monopolies, fake and adulterated products.” Arranza said.
Arranza pointed out its anti-illicit trade milestone when a cigarette company that allegedly illegally manufactured cigarettes finally paid the government over 800 million pesos in revenues. This was followed by another payment of over 200 million pesos. “Is it not an admission of guilt on the part of that cigarette manufacturer?” Arranza stressed. The FPI is also spearheading the FIGHT IT Campaign or the Fight Illicit Trade. And among its first breakthroughs is disrupting the illegal operation of said cigarette company.
According to Arranza, as Chairman of FPI, he filed a case against an alleged cartel in the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industry. The case is perhaps, the first case against a suspected cartel that got the prosecution’s favorable recommendation. “Warrants of arrests have been issued against the eight (8) respondents.’ Arranza said.
The federation, according to Arranza will even be more aggressive this year in its fight against smuggling and other forms of illicit trade, especially with its new partnership with the National Bureau of Investigation.