Dr. Jesus Estanislao: Chairman and President, Institute for Solidarity in Asia and Institute of Corporate Directors

Manila Bulletin, October 17, 2010 | Go to article overview

Dr. Jesus Estanislao: Chairman and President, Institute for Solidarity in Asia and Institute of Corporate Directors


Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao currently heads two organizations committed to governance reforms: the Institute of Corporate Directors and the Institute for Solidarity in Asia. He has spent much of his career founding or rehabilitating institutions. He was the founding Dean of the Asian Development Bank Institute in Tokyo, founding President of the University of Asia and the Pacific, and founding Executive Director of the Center for Research and Communication, among others.

He is best known for being appointed to the Cabinet of President Aquino in 1989, where he served as Secretary of Economic Planning, Director General of the National Economic Development Authority, and subsequently as Secretary of Finance. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University and an MA in Economics from Fordham University.

Here, Dr. Estanislao shares with Business Agenda valuable insights on the economy, governance and love for country.

BA: What are your expectations for the Philippine economy under P-Noy?

JE: Very good; this is real change. It just so happens that he's coming in when emerging markets are being favored, which brings us real support. There's quite a financial flow coming our way, projects that have been shelved before are being reactivated, and a lot of money is coming in.

BA: Your advocacy is good governance in LGUs. What is your level of achievement in this area?

JE: My first advocacy was Corporate Governance-working with the BSP, the SEC, the Department of Finance-that's how I started. Then it became very clear that it was impossible to push that unless there's a parallel advocacy on Public Governance. With Corporate Governance, we deal with corporations, which are profit-oriented, and so we get them to live up to their CSR, because justice for all and the small people, and the public interest are easily forgotten in the promotion of self-interest.

Public Governance, on the other hand, operates on three levels: the LGUs in the city level, national government agencies, and the national government. For the LGUs, we work with the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), in particular, with city mayors who are committed to good public governance. We are working with provinces, cities and municipalities, which are in various stages in our Performance Governance System (PGS) Pathway. Over the past six to eight years, we have worked with about a third of the country's cities, or 40 out of 120. If we are to cite the top five participants on the basis of the results they've produced, these would be: San Fernando, Pampanga; Iloilo; Marikina; Tagbilaran, Bohol; and Calbayog, Samar.

BA: Do you think that the current growth spurt experienced by the Philippines is sustainable in the long run?

JE: The current growth of rate of 6.5 to 7 percent is something we can use as a base for something higher, as we should be aiming for 10 to 12 percent growth per year. We can get there if we want to, if we organize ourselves, if there is more fiscal responsibility-In San Fernando, Pampanga, for example, there is less dependence on the Internal Revenue Allotment or IRA. The goal is to bring the IRA dependency ratio to less than 50 percent.

BA: What industries would support this growth?

JE: It depends, because it varies with every city. Many are agriculturally-based, for some it would be the BPO, or tourism, or manufacturing-You have to find out the possibilities of every city. And you have to continue promoting investments in small- and medium-scale enterprises.

BA: Do you foresee the Philippine peso hitting below the P39-level next year? …

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