THE European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) launched a new platform to bring the business sector to a closer dialogue and cooperation with local government units (LGUs) in addressing issues at the local government level.
ECCP president Michael Raeuber stressed that the new ECCP LGU-Business Forum will become a series of meetings that will discuss LGU-related business issues with key local government officials.
He said the idea is to bring both parties to adopt a collaborative mode of solving problems and to jointly arrive at win-win solutions to promote sustainable and inclusive growth in provinces, cities, and municipalities.
“It is time for the business sector to partner with LGUs. We realize that the business sector shares common goals with the LGUs. We both want businesses to invest in localities. We both want local residents to find jobs in their localities so they do not have to migrate to urban areas. And we both want people to enjoy steady economic growth that is in pace or faster than the national growth,” Raeuber said.
He added, “More business-LGU dialogues are needed to better understand their perspective and to also make them aware of the business perspective in addressing business issues. “
LGU officials present during the first forum were Oriental Mindoro Governor and League of Provinces of the Philippines president Alfonso Umali, Cagayan de Oro City Mayor and League of Cities of the Philippines chairman Oscar Moreno, and Sorsogon Mayor and League of Municipalities of the Philippines spokesperson Manuel Fortes Jr.
All three LGU organizations were created under Republic Act 7160, more commonly known as the Local Government Code of 1991. The three leagues are membership organizations that help LGUs adopt best practices, foster linkages with international and local organizations, and at the same time collaborate and supplement national government programs.
The ECCP has been working closely with the three leagues since January 2014 in an EU- Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) funded project called Integrity for Jobs.
Raeuber highlighted ECCP’s interest to explore areas where the business sector can work together with the leagues to bring about faster and immediate solutions to solve key business and LGU concerns.
Among the general LGU concerns that ECCP raised during the forum were the red tape relating to business permits and approvals, integrity issues, unclear policies and regulations, taxes, penalties, and fees imposed by LGUs on businesses.
Among the investment areas in localities that the ECCP is looking at promoting are infrastructure, health, water, energy, and waste management.
The ECCP was joined in the forum by the League of Corporate Foundations, Management Association of the Philippines, and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.