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The joint project of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the Ateneo School of Government policy papers was brought to the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines on May 28. After the policy papers’ introduction to the House of Representatives last April 22, the technical staff of the 24 senators and the technical offices of the Senate were given the opportunity to listen and discuss with some authors of these policy papers.
The Senate Economic Planning Office and the Office of the Senate Secretary headed by Ronald Golding and Emma Reyes, respectively, arranged this half-day discussion which was graced by Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.. The senator stated, that “In a borderless world, we must redefine our ways to fast track our economic development.” He continued by agreeing with Director Novel Bangsal’s assessment (writer of Digital Convergence: An Argument for Constitutional Reform) that “We are not traveling on the international information infrastructure as fast as we should do to speed up our economic development.” He applauded the endeavors of the writers, the Ateneo School of Government, the Offices of the Senate Secretary and Senate Economic Planning and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.
Mr. Novel Bangsal, author of Digital Convergence: An Argument for Constitutional Reform, disclosed how "Digital convergence offers an opportunity to poor countries to polevault to development and narrow the digital gap with advanced economies." Unfortunately, the Philippine constitution is one of the very few countries that restrict foreign capital.
Mr. Jaime Singson, writer of Globalized Services: Towards Liberalization of Professional and Educational Services in the Philippines, expressed the liberal move to open up the country to foreign educational institutions and foreign professionals. Senator Pimentel declared that Mr. Singson’s view is innovative but will need a lot of refinement. Senator Pimentel implied how we need to protect our nationals to avoid our own citizens from being merely implementers of foreign ideas. For example Filipino architects end up being subcontracted to implement ideas of foreign architectural firms in their own country. However, the Senator entailed, that we should not “close our eyes to the need for us to consider that the world is fast becoming borderless even in matters of professional and educational development.”
Dr. Dennis Gonzalez, Associate Director of the Ateneo School of Government gave the overview of the institutional reform papers. Of these 8 (eight) papers, 3 tackle economic issues, 3 legislative, 1 executive and 1 on the religious-political aspect. He asserted, what the papers states: “The series consists of highly informative, objective and reader-friendly papers intended to provide decision-makers, opinion-makers and conscientious citizens with handy, balanced and well-researched papers on the performance of constitutional institutions and the impact of key constitutional concepts.”
Mr. Klaus Preschle, Country Representative of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, articulated the foundation’s mandate and its interesting in partnering with this project. He revealed that “We (the KAS) wish to assist bridging the gab between the legislators and the academe. Legislators and academe both working closer together can help fast-track democracy strengthening in this beautiful nation.”