“I hope they listen to these experts.”
Much has been said about presumptive President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr’s qualifications and capacity to lead the country in the next six years . This will be a legitimation baggage that will need heavy lifting with the help of a highly competent and honest team of what I always say, should be the best minds and talents of the land to run a government that will inherit a country reeling from the deep economic crisis of the pandemic.
Last Friday, I had the honor of moderating the proceedings of top think tank, Stratbase ADR Institute’s (ADRi) launch of their latest publication, “Beyond the Crisis: A Strategic Agenda for the Next President” as part of a continuing advocacy to provide policy recommendations in the context of challenges to be passed on by the Duterte administration. The book focuses on strategic analyses and policy agendas on security, economy, and governance in the spirit of sustainable development, the rule of law, and a participative, all-of-society approach.
Stratbase Group CEO and ADRi President Prof. Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit authored the special paper titled, “A Responsive and Strategic Foreign Policy Outlook in an Interconnected and Multipolar World” which concludes that the new leadership must pursue a future-oriented, responsive, and strategic Philippine foreign policy that secures the country’s national interest amidst uncertain international order and challenges resulting from the Duterte administration.
“The next set of leaders must also foster multilateral and inclusive cooperation through alliances and strategic partnerships with like-minded states including the United States, Japan, Australia, and the European Union. Likewise, economic diplomacy must also be prioritized through participation in regional and global initiatives,” Prof. Manhit said.
Dr. Renato Cruz De Castro, Professor of the De La Salle University (DLSU) and ADRi Trustee and Program Convenor discussed his paper titled, “A National Security Strategy (NSS) for the 17th Philippine President: The Case for A Limited Balancing Strategy.” It pushes for territorial and sovereign rights based on the 2016 Arbitral Ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. In his paper, he highlights human security priorities such as public health security, sustaining the AFP modernization program, organizational and legislative reforms involving the PNP and AFP, and strengthening new and existing partnerships and alliances founded on a rules-based international system.
Dr. Francisco “Kiko” Magno, likewise a DLSU professor and an ADRi Trustee and Program Convenor, in his paper “Governance Agenda for Development in a Post-COVID-19 Philippines” emphasized the need for reforms and innovation to build strong institutions for citizen deliberation, participation, and oversight in the exercise of authority and the disbursement of public resources. He posits a comprehensive approach in fighting corruption that strengthens institutions for efficient public services facilitated by legislative, political, bureaucratic, and digital reforms.
Dr. Ronald U. Mendoza, Dean and Professor of the Ateneo School of Government discussed his study on “Reducing Inequality in the Philippines: Rationale and Reform Options” zeroing in on reforms that builds strong social safety nets and competition in the market economy and political system to break free from the inequality trap. He calls for a review implementation strategy of passed laws such as TRAIN, Bangsamoro Basic Law, Rice Tariffication Law, Universal Health Care Law, 4Ps Law, Anti-Political Dynasty Law among others.
Dr. Carlos Primo “CP” David, Professor of the University of the Philippines (UP) National Institute of Geological Sciences, ADRi Trustee & Program Convenor, Philippine Business for Environmental Stewardship Convenor, sees the need for greater government support and private sector participation in agriculture to develop self-contained food production areas. He proposes strategies that would adapt climate-resilient measures, promote crop overproduction and food processing, strategic farm development for cool weather crops, small holder farm optimization and land consolidation strategies, and the creation of social enterprise farms.
Dr. Toby Melissa Monsod, professor of the UP School of Economics, the lead author of the paper titled “Accelerating Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation: Strengthening the Philippines’ Contribution to the Global Decarbonization Agenda” dives deep into the Philippine’s high vulnerability and consequences of climate change. She proposes a shift away from greenhouse gas inventory-centric approach to a sustainable development-contextualized approach for power and energy, transportation, among others.
This book by some of the country’s top thought leaders is a must read for the next government, The other esteemed authors are: Former BSP Dep. Governor Diwa Guinigundo on investment led, more sustainable economic growth; Richard Heydarian on China, US, and the new cold war in the Indo-Pacific; Dr. Chester Cabalza on Philippine civil and maritime security; Dr. Mely Caballero-Anthony on non-traditional security threats to peace and security; Charlotte Justine Diokno-Sicat on inclusive growth with innovative public sector governance.
Dr. Vicente B. Paqueo and Dr. Michael R. M. Abrigo proposes a development agenda on human capital and labor markets; Magdalena A. Barcelon, M.D., Katharina Anne D. Berza, Eleanor A. Jara, M.D. advocates for a genuine “People’s Health Agenda”; Zy-za Nadine Suzara calls for the rethinking of public spending towards recovery; Dr. Sherwin Ona pushes an inclusive digital transformation agenda; and Dr. Rizal Buendia explores the lessons and prospects of Philippine political governance.
I congratulate these pro-active and forward-looking thinkers for this compendium of policy recommendations that will hopefully serve as initial guidance for our country’s sustainable and inclusive recovery beyond this crisis.