Indulge me, it’s a Friday.
Sometimes I find myself wondering what things I would do to fix this country, assuming I was voted or appointed Supreme Leader of the Philippines. Hmm, where to start?
1) Run the country like a corporation – Start with a mission statement, hire the right people, establish long terms goals and set clear milestones and short term targets, review performance vs. targets.
2) Change form of govt to federal parliamentary system. Enough said about this.
3) Develop other major economic centers such as Cebu and Davao to decongest Metro Manila. Too much of GNP is still centered on Luzon / Metro Manila.
4) Institute compulsory national service at final grades of high school, and college – HS and College students have option to do either military training or civil service/community work. Key point is you can’t do service in your region; people from Luzon have to go to South (Viz-Min) and vice versa. No student can graduate without completing this requirement.
5) Revise the tax code – average personal and income tax rates down to 15-20%.
6) Liberalize Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rules – scrap 60/40 rule. Enough said about this.
7) Prioritize infrastructure – especially mass transport, roads, bridges, airports. Form more private-public partnerships.
8) Develop military capability with focus based on coastal protection – i.e. small boats, frigates, missile carriers.
9) Establish a national industrial strategy – which sectors to target. Off the top of my head, IT , EPC, and shipbuilding seem to be natural competitive advantages. Weapons manufacture may be another one. Build more vocational schools and institutes to act as feeders for the targeted industries.
10) Have a Ministry of Information (Propaganda) – to promote cultural change, love of country, cleanliness etc. This complements the national service requirement.
11) Have the press and media form a self regulatory body that clamps down on “paid” journalism, erroneous, misleading or malicious headlines and stories. Have a government body that issues licenses and has power of suspending or revoking licenses. Have it police errant media practitioners that do not follow guidelines.
12) Promote family planning.
13) Build more parks and playgrounds. Increase the green space ratio in urban areas.
Ok, I realize now that most of these action points are actually modeled after Singapore, but hey, why not? Things clearly work over there. If you are my age, you may also recognize that many of these steps were taken by Marcos in his “New Society” movement in the 70’s. Go figure. The guy had some good ideas, but the corruption and human rights abuses got in the way.
So, that is what I would do if I were Supreme Leader. If you have any other ideas, post some comments.