W.Whenever I dream of what we can be, the word “Total Package” crosses my mind. It is mission-oriented and considers the capabilities, capabilities and tools needed to make things happen. At ground level, these include:
A. Transform our educational, political, cultural and economic systems and the institutions needed to drive nation-building initiatives.
B. To develop the faith of the brain of the country with the right mentality to influence the government and the society for the continuous improvement of the state.
C. A valuable collection of international and domestic partners to build all the necessary infrastructure for the growth and development of our economy.
There is a catch though. These are long-range in nature, and not appealing to short-sighted self-service time framed politicians. It is more suitable for statesmen and country-builders with vision, will and patience to win the future. Admittedly, only a few are willing to fold their sleeves for a good long trip to the Philippines.
Let’s take a look at Vice President Lenny Robredo’s vision of transforming the country into a maritime power. It will take time but the foundation needs to be laid. It is clear to him that the Philippines is an island nation with a large maritime domain that requires a strong merchant marine and navy. The main components of a marine power are: geographical location; Coastline Adequate and well-positioned port; Population size; Sea related activities; And good statecraft. Except for that last element that must be met, our country has all the other elements. Unfortunately, past and present administrations have failed to put them to good use.
We do not build our own ships even though we have foreign shipbuilders working here. Our mariners are about one-third of the world’s mariners, but they operate on other flagships. The UNCTAD’s Review of Maritime Transport 2021 named the Philippines as Asia’s top global supplier for both seafarers and officers, playing a key role in global supply. IDE-Jetro provides research on how the Philippines has changed policies and laws related to maritime training, overseas employment assistance, and legal protection while responding to changes in the global maritime labor market, such as overseas deficits in developed shipping countries. In this regard, we value gold. But we can do much more.
If VP Robredo defeats adversity and becomes the next president of the country, his hand will be full. The shipbuilding industry has a very specificStayC character. For example, accessories, fixtures, and man-hours requirements vary from ship to ship. This is not a mass production item. Explicit policies, appropriate legislation, economic growth, are needed to build the industry. FFinancial support, technological innovation, managerial and technical skills and expansion of trade routes. The ancillary industries, such as the manufacture of steel, tools and parts, will be essential to its success.
We have scattering of small shipyard buildings, for example, multipurpose attack craft, landing utility transport, offshore patrol ships, fishing boats, barges, tugboats, leisure craft and fast ferry boats. But they have no way to meet the huge commercial and security needs of the local and international markets, such as cruise liners, super yachts, oil and gas tankers, bulk cargo and container vessels. Failure to support them has clearly hampered the growth of the industry. And since we have neglected it, we have not built the ships our navy and coast guard need to protect and safeguard our national interests.
I envy the countries that were behind the Philippines commercially and militarily in the 1950s and 60s. For example, South Korea, Indonesia and Singapore who have increased their production and technological capabilities in the process. If we were to do the same, we would supply the region and other parts of the world. If we only keep up with our neighbors, we will now have our own landing docks, submarines, frigates, corvettes, mines for war, offshore patrol ships, rapid missile strike craft, replenishment and floating dry dock platforms.
Not only that. We will work with foreign suppliers of weapons, combat equipment and non-combat equipment to equip those platforms that can be built internally through public-private partnerships over time. These will include helicopters, communications systems, radar and gold systems, missiles and rockets, guided weapons, air-sea- and land-based drones, crew-served weapons and ammunition. Direct benefitStayGDP growth, technology transfer, purchasing power parity, value addition, efficiency and knowledge.
VP Robredo gives the unique idea that he understands the security-development relationship: both are two faces of the same currency, one cannot stand without the other. Becoming a maritime power will require transformative institutions, brain beliefs and partners and collaborators to make it happen. If he does it right, he will strengthen the elements of our national strength – academic and training institutions, human resources, economic diplomacy, industrial base, strategic infrastructure and national security.
I am picking the signal that foreign investors see VP Robredo as the best candidate who can restore trust and confidence.StayDance in the country. By providing a viable environment, foreign direct investment can exceed the maximum limits registered during the Ramos and Duterte administrations in 1998 and 2017, after 20 years of mostly moderate and irregular performance. With a good economic team, good governance in movement, socio-political stability, and professional security forces, the country can influence the world in a climate of natural and geopolitical instability.
A full government effort will be needed nationally and locally to increase incentives for good behavior and performance, as well as to discourage misconduct and misconduct. A united and visionary leadership, futile governance and civic responsibility for the common good are essential to this endeavor. That’s basically the total package.
Repeat this articleFWrites the personal opinion of the author and does not reflect itStayThe cial stand of the Philippine Management Association or MAP.
Rafael “Rafi” m. Alunan III is a member and former governor of MAP, chair of the Philippine Council for Foreign Relations, vice-chair of Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc. and sits on the board of other companies as an independent director.