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On the moral responsibility of business: An alternative view

In November last year, the largest business and professional associations in the Philippines — collectively called the Philippine Business Group (PBG which includes the Management Association of the Philippines, sponsor of this column) signed a “Covenant for Shared Prosperity” by which it pledged to address the universal issues of economic and social inequality and non-inclusivity by ensuring “… ethical wealth creation and the sharing of prosperity with all their stakeholders.”

The criminalized corporate governance reform under the Revised Corporation Code

The most profound effects of the Revised Corporation Code in the pursuit of corporate governance (CG) reforms in the private corporate sector may be grouped into three areas, namely:

Pushing the agribusiness trade

Friends ask me: Where do we invest post-COVID-19?

The weight of influence in trust

They are omnipresent, quite inescapable, and — let’s face it — growing in number. As more people gain access to social media platforms and discover their voice and amass followers, influencers as we call them, have exponentially increased digital content and, ultimately, changed the way we interact with brands.

Mainstreaming diversity and inclusion for good corporate governance

“Unprecedented” is one word that we hear over and over again — unprecedented demands, challenges, threats, impacts, and the list goes on. Quoting the World Bank Group, what we are experiencing is “an unprecedented crisis, with devastating health, economic, and social effects felt around the world.” The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely left an indelible mark and has caused distress on everyone.

The need to protect flood-management infrastructure from floods

Eleven years ago in September 2009, Tropical Storm Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) plunged many parts of the National Capital Region (NCR) into waist- to rooftop-level floodwaters. The people of NCR, especially those in the cities of Pasig, Quezon, Manila, Caloocan, Muntinlupa, and Marikina lost their homes and livelihoods. Some, unfortunately, lost their lives. Cold, tired, hungry, and weak, some even had managed to climb the highest parts of their houses, waiting for the flood to cease.

CREATE is the only choice!

At the forthcoming legislature’s bicameral conference on corporate tax reform, it should only be a choice between CITIRA (Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Reform Act, House Bill No. 4157) and CREATE (Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, Senate Bill No. 1357). CITIRA is the House version of Package 2 of the comprehensive tax reform. CREATE, on the other hand, is the Senate Version. Both are good packages, each complete and balanced on its own, and worthy of our support.

New tax relief for small businesses

On May 2, 2020, I published an open letter to all legislators and sent a copy to both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Basically, the message is urging our legislators to end injustice by legislating tax policy reforms to help all businesses adjust to the new normal.

Here’s why river overflow can lead to flood damage

Flood can be very terrifying if you live near rivers. Though called in much literature as a source of life, rivers can actually take lives when they overflow. Rivers carry many risks, especially when there is heavy rainfall and overtopping happens. When there is too much water because of very high volume of rainfall, water can burst the river banks, causing dry areas to be flooded.

Your network is your net worth

What’s in it for me? This — more often than not — is a question we frequently ask before we get involved in any project or even join an organization. This is not a judgment. In fact, I think it is understandable for people to sometimes make decisions based on what we may or may not gain from any undertaking.

Making agriculture recovery sustainable

Over the last five years, agriculture grew by a meager 0.9% per annum. This year is likely to be no exception, considering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change (such as the recent super typhoons Rolly and Ulysses).

Forging collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future — 2

But the year 2020 has been a bizarre year for all of us. These last few months made what was unthinkable, tangible and real. We now live in a world that’s not merely complicated but tightly interrelated and complex.

Forging collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future — 1

It’s significant that you’re giving me this award exactly 20 years after MAP (the Management Association of the Philippines) conferred the same on my father, Oscar Lopez. No one has influenced me and what FPH (First Philippine Holdings Corp.) is today more than him: his values, discipline, love for nature, zest for learning, his passion for social justice and his zeal for health and wellness. He’s a man of few words and rarely ever displays his approval (only his disapproval, and on that we’d get an earful) but he led us powerfully through his simplicity and his example. I’m doubly honored today because he and my Mom are here remotely to share this moment with me.

Shared Prosperity: The business groups’ response to inequality and the pandemic

A historic event in the annals of Philippine Business happened on Nov. 5. In that event, 26 of the country’s largest business and professional associations signed a Covenant for Shared Prosperity. The signatories to this covenant included the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), the Makati Business Club, the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Bankers Association of the Philippines, the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, the Institute of Corporate Directors, the Institute for Solidarity in Asia and 17 other associations. They are called the Philippine Business Groups (PBGs). Combined, they represent thousands of businesses and an even greater number of individual member-professionals committed to national development.

The social dilemma: What’s the first thing you do upon waking...

Some would answer, “I pray and say THANK YOU for having been awakened out of my sleep.” Okay that’s good. What’s the next thing you do? You reach for your phone and check your messages. Or maybe check Facebook. Yes, an average person checks his or her phone 150 times a day or more.

Big data and Artificial Intelligence to hone last-mile deliveries

Use big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to wipe out waste from last-mile deliveries (LMD). COVID-19 has put disruptive pressure on last-mile B2B and B2C (business-to-business and business-to-consumer) deliveries. Customers demand higher volumes at lower costs in shorter times. As providers scramble to cope with the ruckus, they risk their margins because of the manual, wasteful ways of meeting the demand.

Public spending in agriculture: Is it enough?

In my recent piece entitled “Agriculture and Rural Push,” which was featured on Aug. 18 in BusinessWorld, I cited the factors why Philippine agriculture lags in the ASEAN in terms of productivity, diversification and exports. There are at least three main reasons:

Supporting business survival and recovery

Survival, Recovery, Business Continuity — these are the themes that resonate in the minds of entrepreneurs and likely keep them awake at night, especially with the impact of the pandemic on businesses. Yes, “Cash is King” — but the real question is where to source or access funds? While all businesses have not been spared from the pandemic, the most affected are the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). They are a critical force in our economy, and comprise 99.6% of Philippine establishments, and the majority are owned and/or managed by women.

Kid Stories for Serious APEC Folks: The Eagle, Heaven and Ocean

Kid (K): Grandpa, can you listen to the story I read today?

In the thick of October

A bit of historical trivia: Why is October, the 10th month of today’s 12-month calendar, named after the Greek word “octo” meaning “eight”?

The new global normal

Three major threats stall the global economy today. These were the bases of Jeffrey Sachs’ keynote presentation at the Annual CEO Conference of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) on Sept. 15. These three reflect the convergence of geography, technology and institutions.

The new global normal

Cellphones and coronavirus are icons of the 21st Age of Globalization. Six ages of globalization of humankind preceded the 21st century digital era however. Between robots and humanoids taking over our species, and the decimation of the human race by a pandemic, what are we to learn from the previous ones?

Our new world demands a new breed of leaders

The year 2020 is probably the year we will all look back on with much trepidation. After all, it is the year when everything that could go wrong around the world, happened. Wildfires, volcanic eruptions, hail storm, flooding, earthquake, mass protests, explosions and, of course, COVID-19.

A whole new world: Reigniting the stalled global economy

“Once upon a time, there was a world where resources abound, where there were spaces to explore and enable innovations and creativity, where there were ‘rulers’ who governed with responsibility and accountability, where greed was just the villain in bedtime stories, and where the people were guided by their values in going after their dreams, all living in comfort and harmony. Then a plague cast a cloud in that world and left destruction and deaths in its wake. And things were never the same again.”

Meat, milk, and a new capitalism

When the COVID-19 lockdown happened, some friends, volunteers, and I started Rescue Meal to provide food to healthcare workers. I started with my circle. My friend Miguel (not his real name) owned and managed a network of large cold storage distribution centers across the country. I shared our plan with him. A few days later, I got a call about a donation of 1,000 kilos of frozen meat from one of Miguel’s meat importer customers. Our volunteers distributed this meat to feeding kitchens, a home for poor teens, and a cancer center for kids.

Fixing PhilHealth

PhilHealth is in a deep mess and it needs all the help it can get.

Agriculture and rural push?

COVID-19 or no COVID-19, agriculture needs continuous improvement. It has a long history of mediocre performance. Food manufacturing is underdeveloped, agri-food exports are low...

The COVID reality check for business owners

I have seen many Facebook support groups for restaurant owners, business owners in general, and just about every SME that has founded a business the past decades or maybe even just a few months before COVID started, and all of us, myself included, have wondered how long ECQ and MECQ, and finally GCQ, will last.

COVID-19 exposes global social injustice

Many of us will long remember how mean and wicked COVID-19 is.

Flexible work is gender-neutral

The lockdown and containment measures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic was the “tipping point” for companies, small enterprises or conglomerates, to integrate flexible work arrangements (FWA), whether fully or partially, in their day-to-day operations. We can confidently say that the world is seeing the largest experiment on flexible work anywhere and at any time as an imperative and compelling business solution.

Strategy directions for the new normal

Businesses today face three sets of forces that are concurrently disrupting the global economy. First are transformative changes brought about by the 4th Industrial Revolution. Second are changes that have been set off by the fundamental shifts taking place the world over well before the onslaught of COVID-19, notably the breakdown of globalization, increasing nationalism and growing political extremism. The third and most recent set of forces are those that have been unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Agripreneurs: Experts walk their talk

When Benigno Peczon ventured into tilapia growing, the start-up cost was large, especially for the deepwell and land digging since the area was previously planted with sugarcane.

Agripreneurs: Experts walk their talk

Farming is both a challenging and rewarding endeavor. It involves many factors — land, labor, financing, inputs (planting materials, fertilizers, pesticides), farm machinery and equipment, utilities (water, power), handling, packaging, logistics, market, knowledge of supply and demand in relation to the market, the peace and order situation, the weather, and now, even the pandemic. As a result, success can never be predicted.

The morning after

When business owners ask for help in clawing their way out of this pandemic-turned-economic crisis, they are making a very reasonable request.

What now NGOs?

Is there a future for non-profits in the time of COVID-19?

Philippine agriculture and COVID-19 impact

The Philippine economy is on a downward trajectory. The main culprit: the COVID-19 pandemic which has also affected over 120 countries.

Managing in the post-COVID-19 era: Lessons from the coronavirus crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has forever altered the way business does business. It has ushered in changes in the world of business that have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences not only for business itself, but for the whole of society.

TRUST: The most stable ‘currency’ in the COVID-19 crisis and recovery

The rise of COVID-19 from a “crisis-to-watch” back in late December 2019 to a global pandemic that saw every country go into virtual lockdown, is nothing short of meteoric. The world’s economy fell into the doldrums with businesses (except for a handful) struggling with almost non-existent operations, disrupted supply chains, and an unprecedented surge or drop in demand that were not even in any planning scenario. We are all caught flat-footed by this continuously evolving threat, at a loss as to what will come next, not knowing where to start our business continuity and recovery efforts.

It’s a small world after all

And what I mean by small is being a small business. I was just listening to a webinar by top-notch supply chain executives, and, to quote one of the speakers (Tonet Rivera, formerly of Mead Johnson), he said: SMEs rock! I was tickled pink and wish he saw me raise my hand for a high five.

Fighting the COVID-19 war

Fighting COVID-19 is no different from fighting a war.

Anatomy of a lockdown

When the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) was first put in place, the most nagging question in everybody’s mind was “up to when will the ECQ be?” Or, to be more realistic about it, “when do we start relaxing the ECQ?”

Fighting the virus of bad thinking

The Coronavirus has made many of us very afraid. Our fears are justified. While not enough is known about how to deal with the disease, the online Department of Health (DoH) COVID-19 Case Tracker reported on April 30 that we already had 8,488 confirmed cases of the disease, 568 deaths, and 1,043 recoveries. As the cases and deaths continue to rise, we all hope that the government and health authorities can find manageable solutions soon and that the people affected by the lockdowns will have the support and patience they need to weather this catastrophe.

Bounce back and pivot

There is no turning back. This is the NEW NORMAL. We must accept it and get used to it and most of all, adjust our business, job, or career to adapt to it.

Poverty: North-South Divide

Several observations can be gleaned from the recent poverty survey (2018), especially about two clusters of regions: “North” for Northern Luzon and “South” for Mindanao.