RPDEV Celebrates 10 Years
SPECIAL TO THE MANILA BULLETIN
by former President Fidel V. Ramos
26 February 2009 (for the 01 March 2009-Sunday issue)
RPDEV: AFTER 10 YEARS OF SERVICE
On 12 February 1999, the Ramos Peace and Development Foundation (RPDEV) was established and duly registered as a non-profit, non-stock, non-political NGO in the Securities and Exchange Commission. Last week, RPDEV celebrated its 10th year of service to our people -- at no expense to the Government. It has been a long, challenging road, undertaken with modest resources though ambitious goals but, nonetheless, achieving thru persistence, innovation, and forward planning.
In late-1998 some of us who had served in Government decided to remain together and voluntarily put in effort and time to pursue common advocacies for peace and security, sustainable development, democratic governance and socio-economic diplomacy -- to help provide a better quality of life for Filipinos.
VISION AND MISSION
Underlying this decision was our desire to keep busy, stay committed and provide NGO support in the campaigns to fight poverty and promote good governance. RPDEV's Board includes: Alfonso Yuchengco, Gabriel Singson, Leticia Ramos-Shahani, Rizalino Navarro, Roberto Romulo, Roberto de Ocampo, Francisco Viray, Cielito Habito, Victor Ramos, Renato Diaz, Peter Favila, Jose Magno, Tomas Alcantara, Luis Morales, Marietta Primicias-Goco, Luis Sison, Frumencio Lagustan, Angelita Ramos, and the late Datu Ibrahim "Toto" Paglas III.
With these dedicated professionals who had also proven themselves as exemplary public servants, RPDEV envisioned to contribute to the attainment of the "good life" for Filipinos under a modern and democratic society. RPDEV's continuing mission: to synthesize visionary leadership and "best practices" into principles of good governance, people empowerment and social justice.
RPDEV's two-pronged objectives: (1) In the Philippines, initiate research to strengthen democratic institutions; level the playing field of competition; insure for ordinary people a stake in development; and promote socio-economic equity for those whom growth leaves behind; (2) In our Asia-Pacific region, promote mutual security and defense; initiate/support measures to build confidence and trust; promote economic interdependence; advance the process of cooperative prosperity; foster interfaith understanding; and build people-to-people linkages.
RPDEV's major programs:
(1) Achieving lasting peace and stability in Asia-Pacific -- promoting security cooperation; economic integration; harmony in diversity.
(2) Managing sustainable development -- through quality education and skills; environmental protection/enhancement; poverty alleviation; expanding opportunities.
(3) Developing democratic governance and effective local administration -- through predictability, transparency and accountability; responsible leadership; honest, orderly and peaceful elections (H.O.P.E.); GO-NGO partnership; devolution, decentralization, deregulation, democratization of opportunity, development that is sustainable (5-Ds); fighting corruption to restore integrity in public service.
(4) Socio-economic diplomacy -- promoting the Philippines as an excellent investment destination by business matching with foreign investors; upgrading competitiveness in a free market regime; developing strategies to attract trade, tourism, and technology transfer; democratizing the socio-economic structure through privatization and dismantling monopolies, cartels, and other onerous concentrations.
CARING, SHARING AND DARING
RPDEV's thrusts are all about the Filipino virtues of CARING, SHARING and DARING for each other, and for our people's well-being and national interests. As responsible citizens, elected officials, public servants, civil society reformists, and leaders of the extended Filipino family of 90 million, we each have important obligations to fulfill towards the betterment of our common future.
These three little words, collectively, constitute a powerful challenge to Filipinos. In this crucial year 2009, our caring, sharing and daring for one another and for the nation must intensify -- to become an irresistible force that will truly unite the diverse components of our beloved Philippines as we strive for a brighter and more bountiful future.
These virtues of caring, daring and sharing reflect the Spirit of the 1986 EDSA Revolution and derive their roots from the selfless giving and sacrifice of our heroic forebears -- evidenced by their struggle against oppression in 1896, on to their gallant defense of Bataan and Corregidor in 1942. Those three shining years -- 1896, 1942 and 1986 -- mark defining moments in our nation's history and our people's unceasing strivings for freedom and progress.
MARKETING THE PHILIPPINES
Over the last 10 years, FVR as Chairman made 137 foreign trips to lead business delegations, deliver keynote addresses, or preside over international conferences, forums and governing bodies of organizations in which RPDEV is actively involved. These events afforded opportunities to keep our networking lines open, and renew/expand contacts with Heads of State/Government, business leaders, and think-tanks around the world.
Such organizations with which RPDEV interacts as the Boao Forum for Asia (with 28 Asian founding countries), UNDP, International Crisis Group, International Association of University Presidents, Opportunity International, World Water Commission, World Intellectual Property Organization, and Forum for Family Planning and Development are valuable platforms for promoting RPDEV's advocacies in the fields of peace/security, poverty reduction, environment protection, education/culture, democratic governance, socio-economic diplomacy, and sustainable development.
During such trips, RPDEV participated in 489 international events as keynote speaker, conference leader or panel chairman -- meaning that maximum benefit was extracted from such travels. Invariably, FVR submitted a detailed report on these trips to PGMA, and 50 xerox copies thereof furnished to the entire Cabinet and key members of the Senate and House of Representatives.
Under RPDEV's book program, involving the distribution of a core set of 35 books and compilations of articles and essays on Philippine history, economy, environment, education, culture, security, politics and international affairs, more than 8,000 books have been distributed free to some 775 different recipients, particularly public libraries, research centers, business groups, NGOs, Heads of State/Government, plus universities/educational institutions here and abroad.
Indeed, one can find RPDEV books at the Southern Luzon Polytechnic College in Lucban, Quezon and University of Bohol in Tagbilaran; Khon Kaen University in Thailand; Chongqing University in China; National War College in Washington; Harvard Business School in Massachusetts; Stanford University in California; United Nations University in Tokyo, and Oxford University in England. During the past 10 years, as author or co-publisher, RPDEV produced six volumes of essays, speeches and "sermons," and six coffeetable biographies, or an average of one per year -- all of them "pang-Masters" or export class.
Each year, RPDEV organizes, in cooperation with partner-institutions, public lectures intended as platforms to raise people's awareness, expand their knowledge, and encourage them to engage in discussions on economics, governance, education, culture, security, and the environment. More than 30 lectures were organized in Manila and key cities in Visayas and Mindanao, attended by an average of 250-300 participants. Among RPDEV's cooperators in this essential endeavor are: Hanns Seidel Foundation, European Commission, Asian Development Bank, Yuchengco Center, AIM and SGV Foundation.
OTHER NOTABLE ACTIVITIES
(1) Raising funds thru the Boao Forum for Asia and other organizations to build Gawad Kalinga (GK) communities for poor families.
(2) Mission to Timor Leste in July 2007 with Club de Madrid, to help in consolidating the world's newest democracy and its leadership under President Jose Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana Gusmao.
(3) Formulation of principles and guidelines for the ASEAN Charter, under the Eminent Persons Group.
(4) Support to the First Philippine Mt. Everest Expedition (FPMEE) under Art Valdez resulting in successful climbs to the summit -- by Leo Oracion and Pastour Emata in May 2006 and Noelle Wenceslao, Carina Dayondon and Janet Belarmino in May 2007.
(5) Organization of 37 Philippine delegations to international forums and conferences on trade/investment, leadership, governance, environment, urbanization, logistics, agriculture and tourism which provided participants with excellent partnering opportunities.
(6) Holding of musical concerts and golf tournaments in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to raise funds for RPDEV projects.
(7) Assistance to "walk-in" veterans, indigents and handicapped seeking material help or referral to appropriate government agencies for redress of grievances.
THE ROAD AHEAD
RPDEV's work is still far from over, and recent developments in our economic, political and social spheres have made it necessary for all to work harder. Given the national and international constituencies our foundation is privileged to serve, RPDEV's role as a credible people-empowering and government-support institution becomes more meaningful and relevant.
On its 10th anniversary, we can look back and proudly say that -- even with limited resources but benefitting from the unselfish commitment and constant support of its trustees, members, and volunteers -- RPDEV has made its mark and made a difference.
If some degree of success can be attributed to RPDEV, surely this is the result of its patient and intensive networking by way of ICT and frank dialogue. Thus, a wealth of intellectual material has been generated/acquired in RPDEV's research center, museum and two libraries -- open to those seriously interested in Philippine contemporary affairs, particularly in the economic, social, biographical, security, environmental and demographic disciplines.
WE WHOLEHEARTEDLY THANK ALL OUR FRIENDS, PATRONS, AND NETWORKS INCLUDING FILIPINO COMMUNITIES OVERSEAS FOR THEIR CARING, SHARING AND DARING.