The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s biggest business organization, is urging local governments and entrepreneurs to form local investments promotion councils to take advantage of opportunities for small businesses and employment in the provinces and regions.
As a practical mechanism for public-private partnerships for local economic growth, these investment promotion councils will be composed of heads of local government and representatives of business chambers.
PCCI chairman Miguel B. Varela said these councils should be strategic organizations with a focus on detecting, analyzing and acting on investment and job-creating potential with consistency and effective results.
Varela made the proposal as guest speaker during the Forum on Growing Local Economics organized by the Department of Interior and Local Governments and the government of Canada recently held at the Marco Polo Hotel in Pasig City.
The councils may designate implementing arms tasked with preparing to-do lists within a timeframe, resources needed and expected results, Varela said.
As an example, he cited the success of the South Cotabato-Sarangani-General Santos city (Socsargen) area formed in the early 1990s to shape a new regional growth center in Southern Mindanao.
He cited six lessons from Socsargen. First, economic development is best pursued in the context of a contiguous growth cluster. Second, its overall team leader must be acceptable to all players, with a success-driven private sector orientation and with direct access to top economic decision-makers. Third, its team effort must be organized for sustained investment promotion. Fourth, the government units must be business friendly. Fifth, local business chambers must be actively involved, and sixth, entrepreneurial development must not be ignored.
Institutional movers were the Office of the President for Mindanao, the provincial governments of South Cotabato and Sarangani, and the city government of General Santos, local business chambers and the United States Agency for International Development.