Approximately 200 parishioners from the Diocese of Parañaque spent last Monday morning debating issues of good governance and transparency and accountability in one of the Philippines’ largest—and most influential—institutions. No, they weren’t concerned—at least that day—with national or local governance issues. Or the private sector and shareholder rights. The concern was the way the Catholic Church, at least in Parañaque, is being administered.
Here’s the background. Back in June, rappler.com published an investigative report entitled, “Bishop accused of diverting millions.” It reported that second collections intended for victims of Typhoons Ondoy and Sendong, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and a 2010 Muntinlupa fire, along with other special donations, were diverted, and in a substantial way. Of P7.4 million in donations, over P3.3 million was diverted, apparently in violation of Canon Law article 1300, which states, “intentions of those who give goods to pious causes, once they are lawfully accepted, must be carefully observed.”
The timing is interesting, if not sublime. This year’s International Outsourcing Summit (IOS 2012) takes place in Manila October 7-9, less than a month before Americans decide whether President Barack Obama deserves another four years to try and get the US economy back on track. What has that got to do with IOS 2012? As it turns out, plenty. Since Mr. Obama can’t run on his economic accomplishments, his platform is “moral ascendancy.”
Another way to describe that strategy is straightforward: “trash your opponent,” a time-honored American electoral strategy. Central to Mr. Obama’s efforts to undermine the integrity of his challenger is outsourcing. Or rather, anti-outsourcing. Branding his republican challenger Mitt Romney the “Outsourcer in Chief,” Mr. Obama’s campaign recently launched a new television commercial to press allegations that Mr. Romney shipped American jobs off to China and India as head of Bain Capital, which Mr. Romney cofounded.
The IT-BPO industry transformed business continuity planning (BCP) into action as last’s week’s surge of prolonged southwest monsoon rains flooded an estimated one-third to one-half of sprawling Metro Manila. Metro Manila is home to hundreds of IT-BPOs in the Philippines.
Flooding was widespread and persistent, even compared to previous record-breaking storms such as Ondoy (international name Ketsana) in 2009. IT-BPO firms reported an increase in the number of employees unable to travel to work due to the calamitous weather conditions. Industry-wide employee turnout varied among companies, facilities, and even time of day, according to industry and Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) executives.
Asked why the Philippines has trailed most of its Asian neighbors economically in the quarter century since it liberated itself from an iron-fisted, corrupt dictatorship, Prof. John V.C. Nye told reporters last week, “We’re overly scared.” Prof. Nye is the Frederic Bastiat Chair in Political Economy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and was recently appointed executive director of the just-founded Angara Centre for Law and Economics (ACLE).
The ACLE was founded, according to Senator Edgardo J. Angara, as “a small, initial step towards trying to open the Filipino mind to the outside world. We try to create new ideas, new insights, so that we can join the global conversation.” It’s about time.
“America isn’t educating enough of our people to get American-based companies to do more of their high-value-added work here,” Robert B. Reich, former US secretary of labor, professor, and syndicated columnist recently opined in explaining why US-based multinationals choose to outsource increasingly value-added work to other countries. In Mr. Reich’s view, America’s outsourcing issues are of its own making.
“Outsourcing is irrelevant,” he continued. “The way to get good jobs back is with a national strategy to make Americans more competitive—retooling our schools, getting more of our young people through college or giving them a first-class technical education, remaking our infrastructure, and thereby guaranteeing that a large share of Americans add significant value to the global economy.”