Thursday, October 25, 2007

Gordon receives standing ovations at PCCI’s 33rd Philippine Business Conference and Exposition

Gordon receives standing ovations at PCCI’s 33rd Philippine Business Conference and Exposition

Senator Richard J. Gordon received standing ovations for a speech made before the 33rd Philippine Business Conference and Exposition organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) today even as he challenged the chamber to let its collective voice be heard more loudly on crucial issues facing the country.

While the times urgently call for “transformational leadership” in order to take the nation to the next level, our politics is hopelessly dominated by “transactional leadership.” Instead of transforming and modernizing the conduct of government to meet the challenge of global competition, our public officials are preoccupied with negotiating deals, rigging contracts, trading favors, and rank opportunism. And when they’re not cooking deals, they are engaged in their zero-sum political warfare," said Gordon.

He cited a number of instances where the PCCI’s voice should have been heard. He pointed out the times when Comelec refused to implement the amended Automated Election or RA 9369 in May 2007 and for the Barangay Elections in October 29. He said that Automated Elections would have had far reaching effects towards transforming our country’s political culture.

This single innovation in the electoral process might have had far-reaching effects not just on how we vote and count the votes, but on how candidates and parties shape their strategies and run their machines,” said Gordon.

He also pointed out that the PCCI could have raised its voice during the time when the House of Representatives had failed to work on the passage of vital bills in the last congress, including the Tourism Bill which could have resulted in higher economic growth that would have been felt directly by the people.

Nevertheless, Gordon said that he was optimistic that the PCCI could help the government catch the second wave of economic growth flooding Asia and one area that private businesses could focus on would be the field of education, particularly to address the education/employment gap as well as to address the need to equip our labor with skills that would get them better jobs abroad.

“It is not enough for us to keep sending our workers abroad and to rely on cheap labor. We have to invest in our people’s education, training and health, so that they can be more productive workers here at home and abroad. This will require more commitment than we have traditionally made in this field. We need not only more resources, we need better teachers and training facilities. And we need the public and private sectors to collaborate in meeting this challenge. I see hopeful signs in the fact that Government is moving to increase its focus on education, and that many of our taipans have moved to invest in colleges and universities and taken the lead in their modernization.

He said that by uplifting our people through high quality education, they would be able to get better jobs here and abroad. This would translate in an incease in purchasing power which would in turn enable businesses to reap higher earnings and achieve greater growth.

In response to the business sector’s calls for the jailing of big fish or big time law offenders, Senator Gordon reiterated his view on moves to grant pardon to Estrada.

He said that after the government had taken the high road in bringing former President Joseph Estrada to trial and securing a conviction against him, pardoning the former President would have the nation retreating to international ridicule and disrespect by cravenly trying to appease him.

Gordon said the law and justice should not be tempered with mercy, saying that the former President should at least have a taste of life in a real jail cell.

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