Just the right move.
This phrase brings to mind a recent TV series I have seen on a video streaming service. It was about a game of chess. As everyone may know, chess is so cerebral. It is a game of strategies and wits that mostly involve moving the pieces right. From the King, Queen down to the pawns. The game requires planning your moves ahead on the board. A player should be able to read the mind of the opponent, not just in his/her next move but also anticipate up to the next three steps and probably even more.
I fancy not myself a chess player (moreso an expert) like my two brothers. It is from them I often heard this strategizing the next moves. The principle of planning your moves I have applied though in PR practice.
In investment attraction and sustainability, the government must also plan and adopt the right strategy. It did make the right move in appointing Frederick D. Go as head of the Office of Special Assistant to the President in Investments and Economic Affairs (OSAPIEA).
Sec. Go, as we may now call him, was serving as Adviser for investments and economic affairs since January this year. With his new appointment announced by Malacanang on December 18, he would be occupying an office with a real portfolio.
What made me say it was the right move?
Lest we forget, Sec. Go or FDG to many, is the Vice Chairman of LIPAD, the government partner in the operation and maintenance of the Clark International Airport (airport code: CRK). Lest we forget again, CRK has just been recognized as one of the world’s most beautiful airports by the Prix Versailles, the World Architecture and Design Award at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Aside from the aesthetics, LIPAD has been chalking up good numbers, bringing the flights back to Clark to pre-pandemic stage. CRK could have recorded more than 1 million passenger service this year except that some airlines also suffered the global problem on engine parts
How was it the right move? One may iterate.
I was recently in Nustar Resort and Casino in Cebu. This is one gem of a project of Universal Resorts and Hotels Inc. where he serves as President.
This 5-star integrated resort is just awesome and inspiring, at the very least. This place redefines luxury and opulence, giving them true meaning with its dining offerings, retail shopping and gaming experience. It offers the best entertainment too. We were there during that Gabby-Sharon concert and the place was teeming with fans (I wasn’t there though for that event, if I may be clear).
Fine, exclusive shopping at the iconic resort is excellent too. This is the very first location outside of Metro Manila where European luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton has a branch in.
All of these efforts that once again gives the Queen City of the South a MICE advantage over Metro Manila are because of the brain thrust in Robinsons led by FDG.
You see if this P25-billion project has made Kawit Point now more prominent and a highly recommended tourist destination, the OSAPIEA can do even better in managing the investment commitments gathered by President Marcos from his trips abroad.
Sec. Go, under the powers given to his office by Executive Order No. 49 which was issued just few days ago is being given just enough authority. His office would play vital if not lead role in the attraction and maintaining investments in the country.
But it is not a favored office that is armed to the teeth. Perhaps, just like any other units under the Office of the President that are seen to be influential, the creation of OSAPIEA is not about being given power but about the highly respected man that would wield whatever authority he may now have. That ability to wisely, judiciously and carefully dispose of it, certainly, is one of the qualities that President Bongbong saw in him, thus, the appointment.
Tucked in his belt are various awards and accolades too. He was 2023 Person of the Year by the Rotary International District 3810, 2021 Property Man of the Year by the FIABCI Prix D’Excellence and 2020 Real Estate CEO of the Year for Southeast Asia by the Global Banking and Finance Review.
Letting a man of this caliber serve government is like a lethal chess opening, right away.
Assuming for the sake of argument that this office is powerful indeed, perhaps that is what is really needed by investors –whether foreign or local.
Under EO 49, the OSAPEIA and Economic Development Group (EDG) would “ensure effective and efficient implementation of their respective priority initiatives” of agencies like DOF, DTI, NEDA and even DBM, PEZA and SEC.
“to ensure the effective integration, coordination, and implementation of the various investment and economic policies and programs of the government” EO 49 aptly sums it up.
This observation that some government offices sing discordant tunes is being made in view of the mess that was created by the IRR of CREATE Act. There is finger pointing now among government agencies to the consternation of the investors and locators inside Clark Freeport.
Perhaps, the OSAPIEA can get these agencies act together as concurrent chairman of the Economic Development Group (EDG) under EO 49. It’s about time as existing locators in Clark decry the removal of some incentives in violation of the 10-year sunset provision stipulated in the CREATE Act.
Clark Investors and Locators Association President Frankie Villanueva is happy to note of Sec. Go’s appointment, saying that the latter has been helping the locators in Clark. He is optimistic and said that “Sec. Go is from the private sector and he knows what we need.”
In view of this, let us allow Sec. Go to acclimatized first. One must remember that under his baton, other agencies must now hot the right note in order to harmonize. That takes some time to create that symphony. He has this unenviable and gargantuan task of ensuring that would-be investors who committed during presidential visit abroad are taken care of.
And he could win the game with his equally brilliant moves.