IN 2013 the BusinessMirror produced the very first Envoys&Expats section with high hopes to serve as a broader link between the reading public and the diplomatic community in the Philippines.
The brainchild of former Ambassador to Laos and Chairman Emeritus of the BusinessMirror—the late Antonio L. Cabangon Chua—Envoys&Expats captured in features, profiles and news reports the undertakings of embassies, consulates, economic and cultural offices, as well as aid agencies and foreign chambers of commerce.
At the formal launch of Envoys&Expats four years ago, Ambassador Cabangon Chua encouraged members of the diplomatic community to “make the section a platform for your ideas and aspirations.”
The special section, which previously saw print on Sundays and now comes out every Thursday, has documented on how these goals translated into foreign-assisted programs and projects—the best of which created opportunities for the nation’s socioeconomic growth, even as these programs and projects likewise pursued foreign interests.
PROOF of these programs and projects positively impacting the Philippines’s growth and development, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, in an interview by the BusinessMirror, announced that 2017 “has seen many new and renewed international partnerships.”
“We have had fruitful bilateral talks with [many countries such as] China, Korea, Germany, Austria, Italy and Israel on various development projects in line with our priorities,” the socioeconomic secretary averred.
Also last year, during his opening remarks at the Economic Community Council meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez lauded the region’s commitment to inclusive growth:
“The theme ‘Inclusive, Innovation-led Growth’ acknowledges the socioeconomic dimension of regional economic integration and its contribution to poverty alleviation. This priority urges us to strengthen our commitment for more inclusive participation in the process of community building, where we all are partners and everyone contributes. This will, likewise, ensure that the gains presented by economic integration are fully realized and shared by everyone in the region,” Lopez said.
SINCE then, this special section has created a synergy of understanding between the diplomatic community and the general public—one that has augured well for the nurturing of a Filipino public mind-set that appreciates the role of nations as partners in the development of a stable and progressive Philippines.
This year, the said enduring partnerships will be celebrated through Mission: PHL, the BusinessMirror’s Envoys&Expats Awards. It will accord due recognition to embassies, consulates and aid agencies, as well as economic and cultural offices, whose programs and projects have significantly contributed to the country’s economic growth and social progress.
Conceptualized in 2017, Mission: PHL is an advocacy of the broadsheet to generate genuine public understanding and appreciation for nations and aid agencies that have helped the Philippines in improving the lives and future of its citizens.
According to Publisher T. Anthony C. Cabangon, Mission: PHL will be an annual awards of recognition bestowed by the BusinessMirror while working in coordination with government agencies.
“We will be involving key Philippine government departments in recognizing embassies and their projects, as well as aid agencies, which have made meaningful endeavors that will benefit or are currently making the difference for Filipinos. This is our way of showing appreciation to our friends from the diplomatic community and foreign-based development entities, on behalf of our countrymen from every corner of the archipelago who are enjoying the fruits of their contributions,” Cabangon commented.
TO date, the BusinessMirror has activated partnerships with the departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Science and Technology, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, and Trade and Industry, which will be creating internal technical working groups that will be working on the reckoning of the awards within their respective categories.
The broadsheet hopes to finalize its collaboration through the signing of memoranda of agreements with two more departments in the weeks leading to the formal launch of Mission: PHL.
This recognition endeavor will, likewise, see the involvement of representatives of the private sector, academe, civil society and another two government agencies with a wide perspective of foreign embassy and aid agency involvement in projects for the Philippines in determining the top awards: Embassy of the Year, Aid Agency of the Year and Project of the Year.
Speaking of the latter, Cabangon also revealed that the BusinessMirror would soon call for nominations for “Project of the Year” from embassies, consulates, as well as economic and cultural offices.
The Mission: PHL, the BusinessMirror’s Envoys & Expats Awards will have its formal launch on March 22 at the City Garden Grand Hotel Makati in Makati City, while awarding ceremonies is slated in later November. For more information, e-mail the Project Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.