Exploring and Assessing Philippine Corporate Governance Practices
The RVR Center for Corporate Responsibility: Hills Program on Governance conducted a roundtable discussion (RTD) on March 8, 2006, entitled “Exploring and Assessing Philippine Corporate Governance Practices.” The discussion focused on the December 2005 Opinion Survey conducted by the RVR Center’s Survey Research Desk that addressed four governance issues—(1) The Role of Values in Corporate Governance; (2) The Role of the Audit Committee and Auditors; (3) The Corporation’s Own Choice of Corporate Governance Improvement; and (4) The Role of the Independent Director. The RTD was a venue to discuss the current attitudes, awareness and structures of Philippine corporate governance practices.
Special guests at the RTD were Mr. Roderick Hills and his wife Carla Hills. Mr. Hills is a staunch supporter of effective corporate governance, and is the founder of the Hills Program on Governance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and a former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Mrs. Hills is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hills & Company, International Consultants and has served as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and as the Chairperson of the U.S. Trade Commission.
The key personalities from the government regulatory bodies and the business sector present at the RTD were Ms. Fe. B. Barin (Chairperson of the Securities and Exchange Commission), Mr. Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. (President and CEO of Philippine American Life Corporation), Rep. Jesli A. Lapus (Author/ Sponsor of HB00286 or the “Corporate Reform Act of 2004), Mr. Francis E.D. Lim (President of the Philippine Stock Exchange), Mr. Gregorio S. Navarro (Chairman of the Corporate Governance Committee of the Management Association of the Philippines), Atty. Ricardo J. Romulo (Chairman of the Makati Business Club), and Mr. Jose C. Vitug (Chairman of the Philippine Stock Exchange).
The Advisory Board of the RVR Center and Hills Program were represented by Atty. Rene G. Bañez (SVP and Corporate Governance Officer of PLDT), Mr. Ramon R. del Rosario, Jr. (President and CEO of PHINMA), Justice Florentino P. Feliciano (Senior Counsel at SyCip, Salazar, Fernandez, Gatmaitan Law Offices), and Mr. Cesar E.A. Virata (President of the Bankers Association of the Philippines).
Present from the AIM community were Prof. Felipe B. Alfonso (Executive Director of the AIM-RVR Center), Dr. Roberto F. de Ocampo (President of the Asian Institute of Management), Dr. Francisco L. Roman, Jr. (Executive Director of the AIM-RVR Center Hills Program), and Prof. Victor A. Lim (Program Director of Corporate Governance Programs, AIM-RVR Center).
The RTD successfully identified issues and solutions on developing Philippine corporate governance, including: (1) the need for an independent, quality check on the financial statements of companies; (2) the need to increase financial and auditing standards; (3) the need to revive the status of the accounting profession, as well as to ensure that regulators are supported by the business community in pursuing corporate governance reforms. It was concluded that in effectively pursuing corporate governance in the country, there is a need for all sectors of the society—government, business, NGO, and academe—to work collaboratively toward this end goal.