November 21 - December 04, 2005
THE ILOCOS TIMES - OPINION

EDITORIAL-2

Involving the Private sector

The involvement of the private sector can be of immeasurable value in enhancing the thrusts and programs of government.

The involvement or participation of the private sector in government may take several forms. In planning, this is in an advisory or consultative capacity wherein the private sector gives inputs on how to accomplish goals set by the government be it at the national or local levels.

In the local development and tourism councils, this procedure is already in practice. However, there must be improvement towards involving a more significant part of the private sector by not limiting the composition of these councils to close associates of the administration. The inclusion of representatives from business, NGOs and the community would go a long way in providing the information necessary to make government planning both meaningful and viable.

Business in particular, by its nature is concerned with efficiency and profit. Government has often been characterized as inefficient; therefore government has a lot to learn from the private sector, specifically the business groups.

Government has also been scored for its parochial and often narrow planning; this is often due to the subservience of the government agenda to vested interest groups. Again the involvement of a broader spectrum more representative of the private sector in planning should address this problem.

In implementation, private sector involvement would take the forms of either a voluntary or contractual capacity. An example is in the provision of logistical support such as fund raising activities which fall under the voluntary category. Another is galvanizing community participation and cooperation such as in the various barangay groups. One area which may prove extremely beneficial and productive is tapping the corporate sector.

Many corporations have instituted outreach and community service programs. Take the Christmas plaza decoration contest sponsored by the giant Unilever conglomerate wherein a P1 million prize is at stake. Whereas all cities and municipalities have traditionally decorated their plazas for the festive Christmas season, this program instituted by Unilever has given added impetus to the local government units (over 120) who have joined to further improve their beautification efforts. Laoag City is a participant. Thus the private sector would do well to help out in this local effort. However, it appears that there has been no information dissemination concerning this campaign so again how can we help if we are basically unaware of this?

Corporate entities have instituted a more active approach to community involvement; in these cases, government can coordinate with big business to accomplish a mutually beneficial program. Fort Ilocandia has been the premier locally based enterprise which has consistently and continually contributed to various programs and projects instituted by the local government particularly those concerning tourism. Perhaps its involvement can be maximized towards truly beneficial and meaningful undertakings benefiting the entire community such as its contribution of rubber boats for rescue purposes a few years back, instead of the ubiquitous individual sponsorships availed of by only a select few.

As seen in the above, if not numerous other examples, the involvement of the private sector can go a long way towards actualizing the programs of government. Thus it is imperative that government attract the involvement of the private sector such as in the thrust for investment promotion; the more firms which enlist here, the more chances to benefit from corporate largesse, not to mention the obvious economic benefits derived, as in employment.

Participation by the private sector in governmental planning and implementation is essential, for the ultimate beneficiaries of governmental activity are the people themselves.

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Involving the Private sector

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