The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Philippines is seeking broader stakeholder engagement, bolder reform measures, and better public-private sector coordination – to reinforce the government’s “build, build, build” program.

This is in response to the APEC leaders’ call for sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth.

APEC leaders earlier agreed to focus on structural reform to promote innovation and inclusion.

This will include work on competition policy, ease of doing business, regulatory reform, economic and legal infrastructure, corporate and public governance, and human capital development.

The Duterte administration’s socioeconomic agenda complements these areas at the national level, with the planned and ongoing projects to address the country’s perennial problem with transport and logistics.

The entry of more players, especially in the telecommunications industry, is expected to strengthen the digital infrastructure that will boost the Philippines’ competitiveness, according to ABAC Philippines.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Competition Commission, established last year, continues to lay the groundwork for a more competitive and inclusive business environment.

The council also welcomes the passage of the 2018 General Appropriations Act and the new tax reform measure.

“These plans and programs have undergone much review and deliberation. The next step is for all of us to pull together and support the government in ensuring that the laws translate to the promise of being a budget that reforms and transforms, and a tax reform for acceleration and inclusion,” said ABAC Philippines member Lance Gokongwei.

Aside from the infrastructure push and tax reform, the government is making it easy establishing business and investing in the country. Ease of doing business reform is on its way with a legislation already passed and near enactment by Congress.

ABAC Philippines chair Tomas Alcantara, meanwhile, stressed the importance of active private sector participation in the reform agenda to create the much-needed jobs and provide entrepreneurial opportunities for the people.

“Businesses especially SMEs must take advantage of the digital technology and innovation in order for them to be better connected and integrated with the global economy,” Alcantara said.

ABAC Philippines earlier committed to help address non-tariff measures, facilitate labor mobility, enhance MSME participation in the global economy, and expand MSME financing through their work programs.

These focus areas will be carried out in partnership with the government both at the APEC and the national level.