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Sep 22nd
Home Columns Ike Señeres Philippine Corporations Now View CSR Not As a Responsibility But As an Obligation
Philippine Corporations Now View CSR Not As a Responsibility But As an Obligation PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Ike Señeres
Written by Ike Señeres   
Sunday, 06 February 2011 10:45



By Ike Señeres                                         


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Works with the Public-and-Private Partnership (PPP) Program of the Government


Y ears ago, Arnel Doria, an executive of Honda Philippines, told me that his company looks at corporate social responsibility (CSR) not as a responsibility but as an obligation. To add to that, he told me that his company makes sure that their social obligation programs should not benefit them directly; otherwise these will become self- serving. This is also what Frank Guerra, an executive of S.C. Johnson, told me, that they make sure that their CSR programs would not appear to be contrived.


John Raña, the director of the public-and-private partnership (PPP) program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), tells me that there are two kinds of PPP programs that they are working on. The first kind does not benefit the company and the other does. There is actually no moral issue behind these two choices, because PPP investments are all voluntary.


Prof. Tom Lopez, the President of the University of Makati (UMAK) tells me that a real CSR program should “hurt” the company, meaning that it should cost them something, without getting any benefit back. His thinking is consistent with that of Mr. Doria and Mr. Guerra, but we could just say that this view is the norm, because there are now other views that depart from the norm.


Explaining their approach, Mr. Raña tells me further that some companies would prefer to book their CSR programs as PPP programs too, in line with the initiative of President Noynoy Aquino. Again I would say that there is nothing wrong with that, because CSR programs and PPP programs are both voluntary and it is up to the donor or investor company how they would book the use of their money.


A New Way to Look at the BOT Scheme


G oing back a few years, it would appear that PPP is just a new way of looking at the build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme, with some modifications. This is where the view of Mr. Raña would become applicable, because strictly speaking, all BOT programs are money making, always contrived and self-serving so to speak. In both programs however, it is always the investment of the company triggers it.


As I understand it, each government agency is now required to put up their internal PPP program office, but the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has been designated as the coordinating center. Up to now however, there seems to be no center that would coordinate all the CSR programs of the private sector, and that is the direction that the Corinthian Coffee Clutch (CCC) would like to pursue. Still basically a think tank in the first level, CCC now has ISIP BAYAN, a second level that is now involved in more active engagements such as program coordination and project management.


Call it CSR or call it PPP, there is now a mechanism that would enable private companies to donate anything of value to any government agency, in exchange for tax credits, or even without getting anything back, as the case may be. In the past, it has not been a practice to donate to government agencies, but it is good to note that this is now possible.


Disaster warning is one area where PPP and CSR could be applicable. Towards this end, ISIP BAYAN will be spearheading the creation of the Integrated Warning Alert System (IWAS). The system will monitor weather changes and water levels and will send out warning alerts to mobile phones, primarily to school officials and mass media practitioners.


IWAS is designed to collect data locally but it will integrate data nationally. Any local company could donate the local equipment. Only one company is needed to donate, because the system does not cost much. All donations will be eligible for tax credits. Civic groups may also donate, and individual donors who are members of these groups may also qualify for tax credits.


As an added advantage, IWAS could also provide Internet connectivity to the schools that are enrolled in the system. As a true gesture of private and public partnership, we are also going to share our data with PAG-ASA, so that they could improve their own warning systems. In the spirit of open sharing, we are also going to give the data to the Philippine Red Cross.


There are many other areas of cooperation where PPP and CSR could be applicable. What is important is that all donors should be joining their efforts with others, instead of doing things in many directions on their own. Hopefully, many would accept the offer of ISIP BAYAN to become the coordinator and integrator of donation or investment programs for the public good. # # #


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Last Updated on Friday, 25 February 2011 09:25

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