An Institute for Corporate Governance

Manila Bulletin, November 28, 2014 | Go to article overview

An Institute for Corporate Governance


The bigger canvas against which corporate governance issues were framed led to the initiation of the advocacy to promote higher standards of actual corporate governance practice, starting in the Philippines, and working with others in other economies of East Asia.

The undertaking of such an advocacy at the time it was initiated (at the turn of the century) in the Philippines obtained the immediate endorsement of public regulators and key reformers within the domestic economic community. They gave strong impetus to it; but "it" meant an institute that had to be specifically put up to carry it out.

The circumstances were propitious for such an institute: the need for it was made abundantly obvious by the East Asian financial crisis; the reform agenda imposed on bail-out programs put together for Thailand, Indonesia, and South Korea put corporate governance reforms at the center of such agenda; a set of basic corporate governance principles (with suggested best practices) had just been issued; and a few international institutions such as the World Bank and OECD were in the forefront of drumming up interest in action to favour corporate governance reforms.

With all these pluses came a few minuses as well. No one had undertaken such an advocacy before in the Philippines. Moreover, there were no specific local resources that had been set aside for corporate governance. No one could claim to have any special expertise in such a new field, which was literally a "green field".

On balance, it had to be a "go" for a corporate governance advocacy, which had to be undertaken with these distinctive features:

Independence and autonomy. Since the purpose was to encourage reform of practices within corporations - which were mainly in the private sector, in the case of the Philippines - the new institute (Institute of Corporate Directors, ICD) could not be affiliated with, or controlled by, any business group or conglomerate. It had to be open to all, and not controlled by any business group.

Training based on research, laced with actual exposure to real corporate governance cases. …

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