ECONOMIC experts of the country report that the Philippines remains on track to meet its full-year growth target of 6.5-percent to 7.5-percent, after the National and Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reported a first-quarter GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of 6.4-percent.
“GDP expansion in the year’s first three months illustrates that growth remains steady and could gain momentum for the rest of the year, partly as a result of this administration’s ‘DuterteNomics’ strategy to stimulate economic activity and achieve financial inclusion for all Filipinos in the long haul via an aggressive expenditure program on infrastructure, human capital formation and social protection,” explains Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd in the official statement of the Department of Finance after the declaration of the 60 days Martial Law in Mindanao by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Dominguez added, “Solid macroeconomic fundamentals plus strong domestic consumption and investment sentiment have enabled, and will continue to enable, our country to sustain its pace as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies on the Duterte watch despite the ever-changing global market conditions.”
The finance chief also stressed, “The economy is in no way threatened by the imposition of martial law. The military is in full control of the government installations and major infrastructures on the island.”
He pointed out that President Duterte himself, upon his arrival from Russia, said at the airport that the government is prepared to do “anything and everything” to put an end to the lawless violence and restore normalcy in the affected areas as quickly as possible so as not to affect the economy.
CSR amid stable economy
Because of this stable economy, an increasing number of corporations in the Philippines in various trades and scales, both international and local, are challenged to be at par with global market trends. Maintaining Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) accounts for one of these business directions.
Corporate social responsibility is known as a business approach that contributes to sustainable development by delivering economic, social and environmental benefits for all stakeholders. It is a concept with a lot of definitions and practices but in the Philippines, it has taken various forms. There are prevalent directions that corporations take when implementing their CSR in the country. Here are some of them.
Dole outs. World Bank Philippines Country Director Motoo Konishi, in his paper titled “Corporate Social Responsibility: The Business Model for the next Asian Miracle,” explains, “CSR is not about dole out or charity or hand out to the society. It is what corporations do to solve social problems that help create a sustainable society that in turn increases business and profits.”
In dole outs, companies provide financial support to the third sector. It presents limited to no company engagement after the monetary aid is granted so long as the donation is used for the benefit of the common good or a certain project. One of the examples of this is when a corporation gives a check in the name of philanthropy.
Responsibility-sharing. There are CSRs when companies involve the consumers in the program. This concept will invite customers to be part of the solution of the problem to alleviate its target recipients of its support. In this case, many companies create an awareness campaign and educate the public about the problem then invite the consumers to be part of the solution by asking them to donate for the cause. After successfully collecting donations, the amount will be directed to specific project site.
Financial allotment with employee involvement. Many companies chose to involve their employees in the CSR projects. Together with allocating budget to implement the task of improving lives, a lot of companies empower their workforce to be involved in the project. It sometimes becomes part of the company’s effort to encourage its employees to experience being part of the company’s effort to help certain communities. Hence, it sometimes creates a sense of affinity toward the program and ultimately a loyalty towards the company.
Why invest in CSR?
There are sessions in the Philippine government requiring companies to aid in nation building through CSR activities but as of the moment, the proposed ruling hasn’t been passed into law.
Since CSR is non-compulsory, why invest in CSR? For some companies, gaining some tax breaks through CSR is important. Sometimes, the company’s task of giving back to the community is usually done based on the sector of society wherein their products are centered on. For example, the food industry advocates for the improvement of health and nutrition especially among the lower stratum of the population.
This approach has led many businesses to implement CSR. Although the spirit of CSR is sometimes lost, above all these intentions of the companies, one cannot deny that the CSR efforts that corporations give play a very big part in the enhancement of lives and help the country solve its poverty-alleviation programs.
After all, the bottom line is the depth of involvement of the company or the sustainability of the program.
In effect, CSR should embody the quote, “give a man a fish and he will eat for one day, but teach a man to fish and he can eat for a lifetime.”