Time to Shine


It’s not only more fun in the Philippines, says the Department of Finance, it’s now also better for business.

There is an upbeat and energized tone in Arsenio Pascual’s voice as he reflects on the recent success of the Asian Development Bank’s 45th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors. Mr. Pascual, who serves as Chief of the International Economy Division of the Philippine Department of Finance, is also quite visibly and happily relieved.

While the previous attendance record for the ADB’s world-touring high-level conference was 4,000 delegates the Manila event held last May 1-5 involved 5,000 delegates. “Everyone was visibly impressed, it was so smoothly run with little or no hassles,” shared Pascual. “In fact, one 20-year ADB conference veteran even said that it was the best such conference he had ever attended.”

Such platitudes are not easy to come by given this high caliber of global delegate. Listening to Mr. Pascual tell it, arranging a world-class conference of increasing complexity and scale (which was the primary DOF responsibility) consisted of making sure 5,000 delegates experience Business Class levels of service and competence in all areas for 5 straight days.

PLDT ALPHA Enterprise–Most Reliable

Of course along with that tremendous scale and complexity comes the physical infrastructure concerns to support it all. “I would say PLDT ALPHA Enterprise was the most reliable ICT provider for this most recent successful conference,” he says.

In a process that usually takes an average 60 days, PLDT ALPHA Enterprise was able to provision an extensive PABX system for ADB. This came with complete cabling over hundreds of square meters of conference space, from the “Forum” where Q&As were held, to all outlying areas. This in turn included 3 large buildings to be seamlessly interconnected with links “jumping over” yet another building.

“They (PLDT Alpha Enterprise) also had to conform with strict government procurement guidelines even as they had to have everything set up in time,” Mr. Pascual recounts that tight timetables were ably met every step of the way. “Honestly I was surprised they were able to do it all.” Of course PLDT went the extra mile. The conference even had its own hotline (773-3333) connecting each and every delegate and area.

Even in an age of global interconnectivity, Mr. Pascual still assigns a premium to The Personal Meeting, thousands of which occurred during the ADB conference. “There is an easier dynamic at play when the people you deal with are the people you’ve actually met.” Needless to say, the Filipinos the world met for those 5 days in May, was a true and welcome revelation.

It was in effect, a full-court press by all fronts of government in presenting a more able and capable Philippines. His boss, DOF Undersecretary Rosalia V. de Leon, agrees that nothing less was required since the Philippines is the “Home of the ADB”.

“Hosting this meeting meant opening doors to all the facets of the Philippines, the cultural with the arts and history, the tourist destinations, and of course the business and finance aspects as well,” she says.

Undersecretary de Leon and Mr. Pascual acknowledge various government agencies for their contributions: the MMDA and DPWH with Local Government Units (LGUs) from Manila, Pasay, Parañaque and Makati for smooth traffic management and beautification, the PNP, DILG and National Security Council who were in charge of security for the event, the DOH for medical services, the DTI-CITEM, DOT, CCP, and BSP for the Exhibits of Filipino talent, the Airport Authority, Bureau of Immigration and Customs for assistance at the airport, and even the BOI’s special Delegate Airport Express Lane. All throughout the DOF was led ably by Secretary Cesar Purisima and supported heartily by Malacañan in “showcasing the Philippines”.

“Every detail and nuance of the conference had to demonstrate a sustained competence. All content was relevant and timely, delivered by world-class eminent speakers,” Undersecretary de Leon adds. “We were never left alone here. Of course the partnership with PLDT ALPHA Enterprise continues to grow, things can only get better.”

The growing optimism now reported worldwide on the country’s better governance and economic performance was decisively proved by the DOF’s recent ADB conference success. It was important for ADB governors to get a first-hand experience of the good news that is circulating from a once-dismissed corner of the Asian miracle. The Philippines, in partnership with its people, are setting some world-class trends of its own.

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