Widespread poverty; graft and corruption; high price of food products and basic utilities; traffic congestion; high cost of college education; unemployment and underemployment; labor tenure uncertainties due to contracting practices; bureaucratic inefficiency; poor public school system; poor road and communications infrastructure; inadequate housing; poor maritime port and transport infrastructure; low manufacturing output; population explosion; inadequate external investment; poor urban zoning plan and compliance; inadequate rural industrialization; and low agricultural productivity are what I initially recognized when one early morning I performed a mental exercise of identifying national development problems in the Philippines. My problem identification exercise continued. Declining fish catch; poor postharvest facilities for agricultural, fisheries, and forestry products; inadequate credit facilities; high cost of agricultural production inputs; poor coastal resources management; poor forestry resources management; inadequate flooding and drought preparedness; environmental degradation due to deforestation and mining; lack of facilities in waste management; air and biological pollution in congested cities; poor services for healthcare and for the control of infectious diseases; inadequate water and sewerage facilities; communist and Muslim insurgencies; low pension income; fake news; drug addiction; urban migration; family separation due to overseas employment; poor justice system; irresponsible electorates; and finally irresponsible journalism were added to complete my list. At any given day, these problems are legitimate topics at home, in print and broadcast media, in government offices, in schools and universities, in the social gatherings of Filipinos in faraway foreign countries, and in the halls of our bicameral Congress.
The problems listed above as I recognized are by no means complete nor presented in distinct orders of importance and cause-and-effect relationships. As an optimist, I have long embraced the virtue of patience and I firmly believe there are available solutions to overcome our national development problems. On this basis, I presume that the crafting of business models to be integrated into inclusive development agendas for assimilation into the existing system by way of the collective governance model is the noblest approach. After three and a half decades of experience, I wish to deliver these experiential research and writing works, the “Business Models for Collective Governance.”
In March 2003, we published three sets of a compendium of business models entitled Modernizing Philippine Agriculture, Model Farms for Agricultural Modernization, and Model Agro-Industrial Infrastructure Systems. After 15 years, the business models are still untouched and never been tried. In 2004 I received a piece of advice that it would take at least 10 years before the relevance of the works would be appreciated. Until today, however, there is still no plan to build the network of food postharvest handling and processing infrastructure across the country that would serve as the anchor infrastructure of the country’s national agricultural modernization program as we proposed in our model. Instead of being modernized and replicated in strategic sites, the Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) in Taguig is about to die. Furthermore, the highly political rice self-sufficiency goal is still elusive, but 15 years ago, we recommended the establishment of 20 integrated milling districts for hybrid rice that would employ modern production and processing technologies with each milling district covering a service area of 15,000 hectares. We believe achieving rice self-sufficiency is a symbol of national pride and this goal must not be compromised. From largely agricultural concerns, my exposure in the diversified areas of socioeconomic planning widened. In the year 2006, I then received an advice to explore the field of international private capital. While in the process of studying this alternative funding, I found myself gradually being engaged in the development of business models that ultimately straddle the fields of healthcare, renewable energy, electric bus transportation, training, education, cooperatives, and regional and national planning. In the fund generation, I first received a surprise e-mail from YES Bank of India in December 2008 to introduce to the Philippines the international food park model prepared by Wageningen University and Research of the Netherlands. At that time, India was just planning the establishment of its first mega food park. Unfortunately, the cost of the project was too high and it was difficult to introduce a project of that magnitude in the Philippines.
My serious personal journey doing research on alternative funding started when I traveled to Aachen and Cologne in Germany in May 2009 where I would be introduced to a funding program. One evening in February 2012 at the JFK Airport in New York City, before taking their flight to Manila, I met a Swiss engaged in the international banking business with his Filipino wife and their son. My research partner, who arranged the meeting, assured me that this occasion would introduce me to the “Swiss private banker’ practice. In February 2013 we met an international lawyer in Washington, D.C. whose expertise is on infrastructure bond and pooled financing. In February 2014, I was in Hong Kong upon the sponsorship by a group of Koreans and Chinese to help them place into fund generation program an account deposited in a world’s top bank. While we were unsuccessful in the transaction, I found out that a large amount of heritage fund exists. A month later in the same year, I was introduced again to a funding program by a “Swiss private banker.” These new acquaintances and information on private capital funding further boosted my belief that a large amount of funding is really available for the whole world to use someday.
While updating my resume one day, I realized that 15 years flew away since my last writing project and I have already adequate materials for another compendium of business models, including the results of my own research and experience on alternative funding models. However, my current concern is not just to write and publish. The most important now is to be able to demonstrate in the updated and expanded works that the business models would be funded and implemented even with little government participation. After years of studying the alternative fund generation, I found out that the logic of starting small would not work in the Philippines anymore. Furthermore, starting small at this time is no longer the right way. Inclusive development is also useless if it is not done on a grand scale. On this basis, the first part of this work is about the application and the funding of business models in preparation for the coming years of abundance.
The Business Models as the Working Tools for Enlightenment and Unity
The Philippines is growing in terms of the traditional indicators of socioeconomic development. However, the economic performance of the country is upsetting compared to the real value of the progress already realized by the neighboring countries in Asia. In fact, the Philippines was more advanced economically than these countries at a certain period in our history. Why do we lag behind may require a very complex analysis of what transpired? It appears that what we really need as a nation are a collective wisdom and a steadfast resolve in understanding the problems first. By aligning these virtues with our national development direction, we would be shown the ways in addressing the interrelated development problems that are both unique to the Philippines and we have in common with other people of the world; particularly those in the developing countries. Nonetheless, there is no such national development problem that can be addressed overnight. Perhaps the belief in fast-tracked solution to development problems is the trap that has been suppressing our relevance to national development.
This compendium of business models for development is written to inspire. Once we are united in embracing fearless imagination, creativity, and resiliency, there is no impossible dream. However, in any great undertaking, we must be guided by a plan as an architect first draws the sketch of the edifice and then he follows it with the detailed architectural plan.
The popular cry of fighting graft and corruption has been tried for decades. Instead, the cry has become a trap rather than a unifying interest that would rebuild a nation. Graft and corrupt practices are still existing in the more developed countries of the world but these nations are able to develop faster than us. We have been mind-conditioned that the only causes of our poor performance as a nation are graft and corruption and inequalities. These problems are already the given coefficients in the national economic development equation. In this regard, we have to shift our focus first towards exploring economic opportunities, which then result in improving government services that end up raising people’s productivity and happiness. Then together as one nation, good governance with community participation naturally result in minimizing graft and corruption.
After regime changes that could be the vital economic turning points in our history, first the independence from the U.S. in 1946, and second the People Power Revolt of 1986, we were not able to transform these energies into concrete edifices. We still need to accept and wholeheartedly embrace the complex problems and prove to ourselves that we are able to face these development problems head-on. What we really lack is the collective energy. We have already spent so much time and resources in blaming our government officials and the oligarchs without achieving the positive changes we are always hoping. It is time to think positively and explore new business models that can bring Filipinos together and work in unity instead of entrusting our destiny as a nation to our political and even religious leaders. We the people have the power and we must be always reminded of this gift from our Creator. In this regard, we have to appreciate the importance of business models as our working tools in addressing the complex development problems that exist in our country.
The Transition to Collective Governance
These business models are meant to inspire, to enlighten, and finally to show the ways to endless possibilities. Furthermore, the business models as presented in this compendium still need further improvement through continuous research and development undertakings. Business models are also like living organisms as they adapt to the environment. Together with the alternative funding options how the business models are going to be funded, the roads towards global abundance are cleared and paved. Using the tools of scientific research, the business models are aligned together by way of development experiment. Finally, while the business models presented in this work attempt to cover the most vital enterprises for national development, this piece of work sets the trend in the development of new business models that accordingly provide every Filipino community to participate in nation building wherever they are dispersed. The event is the transition to the practice of Collective Governance.
334 pages, 8″ x 10″ (20.32 x 25.4 cm)