Stakeholder Consultation in Cebu: “Small Business Advocacy to Reduce the Space for Corruption"
The RVR Center successfully held its second stakeholder consultation at Cebu Parklane International Hotel, Cebu City. A total of 12 stakeholders attended the event from business chambers, industry and business associations, as well as individual SMEs. Participants represented the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, PhilExport Cebu, Philippine Quality and Productivity Movement, Association of International Shipping Lines, Inc., Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines, Brilliant Metal Craft and Machine Design, Cebu Graphic Star, Austal Philippines Pty Ltd., and Belleza Casa Designs, Inc.
The stakeholders agreed that bureaucracy was the main policy issue in Cebu. Business owners still needed to navigate a long list of signatories in order to get permits. Furthermore, enforcing agencies specify some of the same requirements, and the redundancy leads to conflicting regulations and unnecessary payments.
Apart from identifying the main policy issue, they also shared their existing policies and programs aimed at reducing corruption. PhilExport Cebu created a one-stop shop to assist exporters in filing requirements. The other chambers and associations established a network of advocates to lobby for reforms in the private sector such as shortening the list of requirements for permit applications. Some of the stakeholders also ensure that their policies, particularly on bribery and gifts, are effectively implemented. Finally, individual SME stakeholders went through a change in management and created a culture of integrity initiated by the head of the company.
The stakeholders built consensus that SMEs and associations should take on a watchdog role to oversee SMEs’ activities and also form an organization against corruption. They emphasized the need to provide business support, skills training, and activities that would cultivate a culture of integrity and discipline within their respective companies. Finally, they recommended streamlining and standardizing business procedures and requirements as well as push for collective action in order to significantly reduce corruption in private-to-public transactions.
One more consultation is scheduled on Friday, 24 March 2017, in Davao City.
The Stakeholder Consultation is part of the "Small Business Advocacy to Reduce the Space for Corruption" project. The advocacy project is funded by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) in Washington, D.C.