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PH needs 200 new cities, says Palafox

posted October 24, 2015 at 11:40 pm by  Roderick T. dela Cruz [ manilastandardtoday.com]

Architect Felino Palafox has broadened his field of interest, from urban planning to nation-building, in search of fresh insights into the situation of the Philippines, which will celebrate its 500th year as a country by 2021.

Today, he is now more interested in discussing corruption, criminality, climate change, poverty, pollution, traffic congestion and incompetence, instead of just designing buildings.
Palafox, one of the panelists during the recent launch of the fourth Philippine Trust Index by public relations firm EON The Stakeholders Relations Group at Makati Shangri La Hotel, expressed his frustration over government’s inefficiency, such as the fact that the Philippines missed the boat in regional efforts to build a new economic bloc.

The Philippines, this year’s host of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings, was left out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, which recently signed an agreement to redefine global trade.

Palafox described this as an embarrassing situation for the country, a known ally of the United States which is leading the TPP, a new powerful group within Apec.




Shown during the panel discussion on the fourth Philippine Trust Index by public relations firm EON The Stakeholders Relations Group at Makati Shangri La Hotel are (from left) Far Eastern University president Michael Alba; former Interior secretary Rafael Alunan III; Rock Ed Philippines founder Therese Badoy Capati; Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research executive director Rommel Banlaoi; Palafox Associates head urban planner and architect Felino Palafox; Philippine Council on Islam and Democracy lead convenor Amina Rasul-Bernardo; Philippine Center for Civic Education and Democracy executive director Reynald Trillana; and moderator Alma Rita Jimenez.
“The government is suffering not just from corruption, but also from analysis paralysis.  Like in the case of TPP or Trans-Pacific Partnership, how come Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore went into the 12 while the Philippines, which is an ally of the US, is still analyzing whether to join or not,” Palafox says.

The Philippines is still in talks to join TPP, according to the Trade Department.  TPP’s member countries cover about 40 percent of the world economy and include Australia, Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam in the Asia-Pacific region as well as the United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru and Chile. 

The pact includes provisions to bring down barriers to trade in services and remove foreign investment restrictions, in addition to lowering tariffs on goods, according to Fitch Ratings. 

Palafox says the Philippines missing the boat to TPP illustrates the lack of foresight among leaders, a reason why Filipinos have little trust in the government.  He says nobody in the government thinks about traffic congestion, which translates into P2.2 billion worth of man-hour losses a day.

Palafox, who went to Harvard University for graduate courses, says a study done by the US Ivy League school as early as 2000, showed that Metro Manila was the fastest growing metropolis in the world.  

“A projection showed there would be 54 million more Filipinos by 2050.  Computing it at 250,000 per city, we need more than 200 new cities.  Who among the government is thinking about that?   Most of the government programs and policies are short-term and opportunistic,” he says.

Palafox, who dislikes walls separating homes and buildings in the Philippines and whose company designed the Rockwell Center in Makati City and Camp John Hay in Baguio City, says if the next leaders will only be able to address the issues of corruption, criminality and climate change, the Philippines is bound to join the top 20 economies in the world over the next decades.

Other panelists during the launch of the fourth Philippine Trust Index are Far Easter University president Michael Alba; former Interior secretary Rafael Alunan III; Rock Ed Philippines founder Therese Badoy Capati; Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research executive director Rommel Banlaoi, Philippine Council on Islam and Democracy lead convenor Amina Rasul-Bernardo; and Philippine Center for Civic Education and Democracy executive director Reynald Trillana.

The Philippine Trust Index is EON’s proprietary research that was launched in 2011 to examine trust levels and drivers across the government, church, non-government organizations, business and media.
The nationwide survey shows that Filipinos prefer government leaders who are willing to listen to their constituents.  Other important qualities of a government leader, according to the study, are being concerned for the people and having a strong political will.
Similar to government leaders, the most valued quality of a business leader is the willingness to listen to employees’ feedback. “Our findings on the most valued leadership qualities further underlines the importance of conversation and communication in building trust for public and private institutions,” says EON Group chairman and chief executive Junie del Mundo.
The 2015 PTI survey saw no movement in terms of the ranking of institutions based on trust rating. Church remains the most trusted institution in the country, with an overwhelming 73 percent of the general public and 68 percent of the informed public claiming to trust the church very much. 
The academe garnered the second highest trust rating (51 percent), followed by media (32 percent). At the bottom are government (12 percent), business (9 percent) and NGOs (9 percent).

For government, the trust driver with the highest percentage has something to do with national peace and security, followed by housing food, and education; economy; going after corrupt politicians; preparation for calamities; and generating jobs.

For business, the top trust drivers are good salaries and benefits; fair labor; quality of products/service; right taxes; non-discrimination in the work place; treatment of customers; and environment-friendly policies and programs.

Within the business sector, health, telecommunication and water emerged as the most trusted. The least trusted industries are legal services, advertising and public relations, alcohol and tobacco and mining.

While television remains the most trusted source of information, this year’s survey shows that trust on online media improves. 

“Results of the 2015 PTI Survey show how important it is now to utilize all channels – from traditional media, to online news sites, and even social media,” says Malyn Molina, managing director of Engage, the newly launched public affairs and government relations business of EON Group.

“The communication landscape today means that organizations and companies have to listen more to their stakeholders, even consider stakeholders beyond the usual groups it engages, and truly understand their position or concerns,” says Molina. 

“Increasing trust on digital platforms definitely makes the communication landscape more complicated. However, it also means that more Filipinos now can express their opinion in a bigger, more public space and participate in important national and regional discussions,” she says.,

The 4th Philippine Trust Index had 1,620 respondents nationwide.
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