MAP gives PNoy 220 items for July 25 SONA

THE Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) on Tuesday came up with a long list of wishes for President Benigno Aquino III to adopt in his State of the National Address next July 25 and put into effect during his remaining five years in office.

The list includes 220 recommendations which the association submitted to President Aquino early this month.

In a press briefing Tuesday, MAP president Felino A. Palafox said the recommendations are supposed to address business competitiveness, widespread corruption, and rising criminality.

"I'm confident that he will consider our 220 recommendations... Sinabi n’ya tayo ang boss n’ya. We are just giving the President solicited and unsolicited advice," Palafox said.

While corruption is a major concern of the business community, MAP is also urging government to devote more time and resources to programs and projects that address corruption, criminality, and climate change.

"Corruption continues to be one of the biggest impediments to business growth and sustainability and economic development and prosperity. It has been eroding the moral fiber of the nation, and it deprives the poor beneficial programs on education, health care and housing," Palafox said.

Criminality and climate change

But criminality and climate change, if not properly addressed can discourage tourists and foreign businesses to visit and invest in the Philippines, according to the group.

For travel and tourism, MAP recommended that government adopt "You'll love it here. Mabuhay Philippines!" as the country brand.

A positive country brand can enhance nationhood, strengthen national pride, and improve international credibility, Palafox said. The country brand may also serve to shield the Philippines against reputation risks and help lead to sustainable growth for business and enterprise, he added.

The potency of a country brand has been put to good use by South Korea, India, and Thailand after establishing a National Branding Council, which the Philippines should also adopt, Palafox said.

200,000 new classrooms

For education, MAP recommended that the Aquino administration build 200,000 new classrooms in 2012 and 2013 to address the classroom shortage in public schools.

"MAP believes that as a result of the unabated population growth, coupled with the government’s inability in the past decades to cope with accumulating demand for huge resources [to build] new classrooms and repair dilapidated ones school buildings, the country faces what could become serious shortage crisis," according to MAP.

“This could be averted if new and doable approaches in funding and partnerships are adopted urgently," Palafox said.

Money from the Special Education Fund taxes may be used to build the classrooms, MAP said.

Palafox also urged legislators to allot 30 percent of their "pork barrel" money amounting to P7.4 billion a year to construct some 9,300 new classrooms.

Among the factors the raises the cost of doing business in the Philippines is the cost of energy, the group explained in asking President Aquino to do something about it.

"If energy cost can be tempered, the Philippines may become the preferred investment destination in the region," MAP said. — VS, GMA News