With Manila's hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting this month, the Philippines is set to highlight the importance of good governance in propelling a globally competitive economy by showcasing its own experience.

Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) chairman Francisco Duque III said the Philippines will be presenting reports about how transparency and efficiency have transformed public institutions in the country at the APEC, citing the newly recognized "Islands of Good Governance."

"There's going to be a showcasing, a public showcasing of these compelling transformation stories during the November 13 sub-APEC meeting that's going to be conducted by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council chaired by Doris Magsaysay-Ho. We will be given time to showcase the 12 Islands of Good Governance," Duque said in an interview with Cathy Yang on ANC's Market Edge.

Duque explained that good governance boosts the economy as it "spurs economic activity, jobs, employment" and serves as a building block for long-term sustainable economic programs.


As a public governance reform advocacy group based in Manila, the ISA earlier named 12 public sector institutions as the very first Philippine Islands of Good Governance to acknowledge the reforms and programs that the agencies have undertaken.

Among the agencies awarded were the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), National Electrification Administration (NEA), and the Philippine Heart Center (PHC).

At the local level, the city governments of Balanga, Bataan; Butuan, Agusan Del Norte; Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte and Talisay, Negros Occidental were also recognized.

Aware of the skepticism over the recognition of some agencies, Duque said the assessment was conducted based on a credible platform and metrics which adhere to global standards.

Citing the DTI, he said the agency was awarded for its reforms which supported the ease of doing business and consumer awareness initiatives.

“They had a clear-cut governance reform which enabled them to achieve sustainable breakthrough results and of course, their claim was a subject of an audit by a third-party certifying and auditing body,” Duque said.

He added that the DTI was able to increase the country's competitiveness ranking in the World Economic Forum report, from being in the lower third to the upper third.

As for the AFP, Duque said it is just right for the military agency to claim a spot after going through a governance reform.

“Why not? They have been engaged by the Institute for Solidarity in Asia. Precisely, they went through a governance reform through the performance governance system,” he said.

Duque also mentioned Butuan's endeavor of promoting the economy by placing its products in the global market without harming the city's natural resources.

“The claim of Butuan is to be able to plant five million trees which are geo-tagged this year with policies on protection and production. And they have two main products and these are plywood and chocolate. In fact, this is one information that I think is vital – they have struck a deal with the makers of Mars chocolate,” Duque said.


Even after the APEC, the ISA chair assured that the drive for good governance will continue and extend across all public sector institutions.

"We will continue to spread the seeds or the DNA of good governance to many more public sector institutions, many more NGAs, local government units, as well as government-owned and controlled corporations," Duque said.

The former Civil Service Commission chair also noted that the reforms need not start from scratch again even with the possible changes the new administration would pose in 2016.

"Many of the governance elements have already been embedded and institutionalized. So I think whoever comes in in the next administration will have a very difficult time scrapping or eliminating all of these because it's already deeply embedded," he added.