IT was eight months in the making—yet the significance is projected to be far-reaching.
Mission: PHL—the BusinessMirror Envoys&Expats Awards was conceived in July 2017. Envisioned to be an annual event, it will be the first time a business broadsheet will bestow recognitions to foreign embassies, as well as aid agencies, who have assisted in the country’s growth and development.
For years, the BusinessMirror has covered the endeavors of the diplomatic community through Envoys&Expats, a brainchild of the late media mogul-philanthropist Antonio L. Cabangon Chua, former Philippine ambassador to Lao PDR and the revered chairman emeritus of the business paper.
It was but fitting to launch Mission: PHL as the latest advocacy of the BusinessMirror, focusing on programs and projects initiated and supported by embassies, consulates, economic and cultural offices, as well as aid agencies, that contribute to the country’s economic growth and social progress.
“Foreign relations are, by nature, complex and oftentimes difficult for the average Filipino to fully comprehend and appreciate. With Mission: PHL, we intend to let the public have a better grasp of country-to-country partnerships and how these could help foster positive change,” BusinessMirror Publisher T. Anthony C. Cabangon said.
Government as partners
AS the ball started to roll for Mission: PHL, the BusinessMirror consulted with key government agencies and in the process developed formal partnerships with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), as well as government agencies led by the departments of Trade and Industry, Environment and Natural Resources, Science and Technology, Public Works and Highways and Agriculture. It will continue to seek advice from other agencies, including the departments for Transportation, Tourism and Education.
Marathon communications and consultation meetings over the past few months led to the finalization of individual categories for recognition. These include, according to the listing of departments above, the Trade and Investments Award, Environment and Biodiversity Award, Science, Technology and Innovation Award, Infrastructure Support Award, as well as Agriculture and Fisheries Award.
A technical working group (TWG) composed of two representatives from the government agency per category and one from the BusinessMirror will closely collaborate to assess qualifiers for each category.
Each TWG shall evaluate the projects in their category and determine the embassy, as well as the aid agency, that will be recognized per category. Projects for evaluation will cover those on-ground or are already in their implementation stage by 2017.
Embassies, aid agencies
OTHER than those aforementioned, Mission: PHL will bestow citations for the Embassy of the Year, Aid Agency of the Year and the Project of the Year.
A Mission: PHL panel has been formed for the three main categories of recognition. The seven-member panel is composed of J. Eduardo Malaya of the DFA and Officer in Charge/Director Hazel Iris S. Baliatan of the Neda’s Public Investment Unit for the government, former Executive Vice Chairman Henry J. Schumacher of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines for the private sector, coordinator Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III of the Action for Economic Reform for the civil society, Cristina Marie G. Aquino for the youth sector, Dean Jikyeong Kang of the Asian Institute of Management for academe and columnist John G. Mangun for the BusinessMirror.
The three most outstanding embassies and aid agencies per category shall be presented by each TWG to the members of the panel who, in turn, will evaluate across categories the possible recipients of the Embassy of the Year and the Aid Agency of the Year.
Project of the Year
FOR Project of the Year, Mission: PHL is currently calling for active nominations from the various embassies, consulates and economic and cultural offices of their projects that are also ongoing as of 2017.
Embassies, consulates, as well as economic and cultural offices, are enjoined to submit nominations through e-mail or post-mail containing a project brief that discusses the following: 1) project duration; 2) reach, or beneficiaries; 3) cost; 4) alignment of the project with the Philippine government’s 2022 master plan; 5) partnership with a Philippine government agency; and 6) project sustainability.
They may be sent firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail addressed to the Mission: PHL Project Director, Philippines Graphic Office, Third Floor, Dominga Building (Annex), 2113 Chino Roces Avenue corner De la Rosa Street, Makati City, 1200
The BusinessMirror will mount an information campaign for Project of the Year nominations and will regularly publish supplements on programs and projects of embassies, consulates, as well as economic and cultural offices, among others.
The main launch
WITH its formal launch on March 22, Cabangon commented, “The moving spirit of Mission: PHL is to make the public aware of what happens in a country-to-country development partnership and in the process, appreciate the extent by which these projects have helped the country and its people.”
Expected to grace the occasion are representatives from the eight Mission: PHL partner-government agencies and officials from various embassies.
Also expected are delegates from the different chambers of commerce operating in the country.
The formal awarding ceremonies of Mission: PHL is earmarked to take place in late November of this year.