As economies navigate global changes such as the transition to sustainable energy, the business sector will have a crucial role to play, said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during the formal opening of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC) III meeting in Cebu.
Businesses are the “most aggressive agent of change” and its collaboration with governments will be critical on the important issues of food security, health systems, and climate change.
“The government and business sector must come together to identify practical, pragmatic, and promising solutions to sustainably address pressing issues like energy insecurity, the triple threat of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss,” Marcos said during the ABAC III Meeting on Friday, July 28, in NUSTAR Cebu.
He said the government’s 2023-2028 development plan highlights “equity,” “sustainability,” and “opportunity.” Marcos said the country’s AmBisyon Natin 2040 aims for a “comfortable, secure, and strongly rooted Filipinos, where no one is poor or left behind” by 2040.
“We aim to achieve this through, amongst others, strengthening agriculture and food production, industrialization, connectivity, and supply chains; driving growth through tourism, through trade, urban development; providing high-impact social services for health, education, skills uptake, and targeted support; building climate-resilient and green infrastructure that will not only sustain our economic growth but will also trickle welfare effects down to our most underserved sectors and those with untapped economic potential,” he said.
Marcos said that more than just cooperation, businesses also need to show leadership “in setting up standards on responsible business conduct that will encourage sustainable practices while balancing rapid growth, not a simple job to do.”
In welcoming delegates during the dinner hosted by Cebu Capitol on Thursday, ABAC Philippines Member and Sustainable Growth Working Group Vice Chair Sabin M. Aboitiz said it was timely for ABAC III to be held in his hometown of Cebu because it “stands tall as a significant international trade and commerce hub.”
The Aboitiz Group President and Chief Executive Officer said Cebu “has a strong spirit of entrepreneurship” where public-private partnerships thrive.
Aboitiz asked delegates to work on “our shared goal to unlock the potential that we have to foster economic growth and to build a prosperous future for all our nations. Let’s continue to nurture the spirit of collaboration, or innovation, and a shared success that has really been the hallmark of ABAC.”
Asked by reporters after the speech by President Marcos, Aboitiz said their goal in ABAC is to give Asia “a louder voice” in such issues as the transition to renewable energy.
Aboitiz also said business “interest is piling for the Philippines. Everywhere you go around the world they know that the Philippines is open for business. And so now as the investors are coming in and looking, we have to make sure that we treat them well.”