Vignettes from the Private Sector

Vignettes from the Private Sector

Apr 2, 2024, 1:43 AM
Atty. Junie Go-Soco

Atty. Junie Go-Soco


The accounts that follow refer to my experiences as a Private Sector Representative (PSR) in the 60-member Regional Development Council of Eastern Visayas. I call them vignettes or brief accounts of events worth remembering. This compilation has a common thread: the importance of private sector participation in a coordination council set up to help government do its job of serving the people.

The PSRs, to be effective, and in light of the personal interests of some government officials and employees, there is a need for a second opinion and criticism, if you may, in such a government-initiated and controlled council.

This participation wakes up government officials who are reminded to improve the way they do their jobs, particularly in using government funds for the purpose they were allocated.

Government agencies tend to be very protective of their plans, programs, and projects. Although many are receptive to suggestions from the private sector, there is always the temptation to show only the good sides of a project. Some side effects are not mentioned, some components are missing. It is up to the private sector to point these out.

Also, there are often occasions for reminding implementing agencies to be aware of the importance of other agencies helping them to get things done. The PSRs can see the overall picture while many agencies have a view of their sectors that seldom mentions the significance of the others. This seems to be an unwritten policy which the PSRs try to fix to enhance coordination.

Then there is always the call for projects to be more in line with local priorities. Also, in the last maybe 20 years, focus has been placed on taking care of the environment to ensure a sustainable future. On many occasions, many agencies forget this.

It is safe to say that the fifteen PSRs have observations on the same general issues and concerns mentioned above, there are even times we signal or tell each other to raise a point we all agree on, so we do not speak at the same time, and we can augment each other’s views. For example, this happened in the discussion of issues pertaining to the super-delayed implementation of the Tacloban Airport Development Project. All the PSRs had a comment or suggestion on this issue. Nearly all of them signed the Resolution asking for the termination of the contract for Phase I of the project.

We are organized and selected by sector. It is customary for us to give the first shot in the open forum to the PSR for the sector concerned.

However, often many of our comments are no longer said because of lack of time, such as comments touching on the inability of many agencies to use the funds allocated to them. Also add the inability of many agencies to complete implementation requirements for inclusion of proposed projects in the list of projects to be endorsed by the Council.

Despite the intention of many PSRs to say more, often the announcement of the Secretariat that there is no more time left for exhaustive discussions dampens the enthusiasm to give comments and suggestions. This situation points to a scheduling problem that does not have to be a problem.

It is another vignette worth thinking about to arrive at solutions.

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