By Joe Zaldarriaga
News of Filipino business leaders recognized by the Holy See for their philanthropic work and for advancing humanitarian causes recently made headlines to the delight of many of our fellow Filipino faithful.
As Asia’s bastion of Catholicism, it brings pride to see our fellow countrymen get recognized by the Pope with no less than the “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” award—the highest papal honor that a lay person can receive—for their work that contributes to the betterment of the lives of the poor and the needy.
Among the five Filipinos receiving the prestigious recognition is Metro Pacific Investments Corporation Chairman and President Manuel V. Pangilinan or MVP for his unceasing commitment and support to humanitarian causes. Joining him are Ayala Corporation’s Fernando Zobel de Ayala, PHINMA Corporation’s Ramon del Rosario Jr., Unionbank’s Maria Gonzalez Goolsby, and Caritas Manila’s Arnulfo Veridico.
Truly, it is inspiring to see the likes of MVP using their businesses and influence to make a positive impact on the lives of Filipinos–especially the marginalized.
With the majority of the awardees widely regarded for their business expertise, the recognition made me think about how the private sector can further its role in nation-building—essentially doing business for good.
After all, public-private partnership is part of the 10-point economic agenda of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to spur and sustain economic growth and national development.
The President has made it clear that encouraging private sector engagement and investment for the benefit of the public forms part of his administration’s top priorities. This includes providing legal and regulatory support to public-private partnerships to boost investor confidence in the Philippines.
Today’s prevailing economic conditions present an opportune time to advance public-private partnerships given the encouraging numbers from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Data showed that inflation slowed to 3.9 percent in December while unemployment and underemployment figures dropped to 3.6 percent and 11.7 percent, respectively in November 2023. With an estimated 96.4 percent or around 50 million Filipinos employed as of November, the country’s employment rate is also at its highest since 2005, according to the PSA.
To boost the positive economic sentiment, Marcos recently said the Philippines had gotten back on its feet from the effects of the pandemic—a welcome development for Filipinos and a lucrative invitation to investors looking to do business in the country.
If any, the current economic conditions send a positive signal to the private sector to invest more in our country to grow their businesses not only for their benefit but to uplift the poor too. Gone are the days when business success was measured solely in terms of the bottom line. Today, it should also be measured by the impact it has on the lives of the people they serve.
To achieve this, it is ideal that the private sector incorporate corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a pillar of business development strategy for sustainable growth and to contribute better to social development.
Further, it would be helpful for companies to align their CSR activities with the nature of their business to expand the array of social support and aid available. For example, CSR activities of MVP’s companies are aligned with the nature of the business such as Meralco’s electrification programs in far-flung areas and Maynilad’s promotion of sustainable water management.
Doing so contributes to national growth and development which in turn widely benefits our countrymen.
By promoting the conduct of business for good, we not only reap economic benefits but also develop a stronger social support system that is aligned with the government’s priorities.
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Presidential Communications Office.
About the Columnist
Joe Zaldarriaga is a veteran, award-winning communicator immersed in public service within and beyond the energy sector. He has more than 30 years of experience serving the country’s biggest electric distribution utility and is involved in a number of public service functions, as member of various committees on public safety, power supply security and electrification. Concurrently, he is a prominent figure in the Philippine communications industry, as Chairman and Past President of the US-based International Association of Business Communicators Philippines (IABC PH). He is also an awardee of the University of Manila’s Medallion of Honor (Dr. Mariano V. delos Santos Memorial) and a Scroll of Commendation, a testament to his celebrated years in public service exemplified by outstanding communications.
Joe also shares his opinion and outlook on relevant national and consumer issues as a columnist in several prominent publications and is now venturing into new media via hosting a new vlog called Cup of Joe. Previously, Joe was a reporter and desk editor of a Broadcasting Company and the former auditor of the Defense Press Corps of the Philippines. A true green Lasalian, he finished with a degree in Asian Studies specializing in the Japan Studies program at De La Salle University, Manila, where he also spent his entire education.