JANUARY 1982 - VOLUME 3 - NUMBER 1
Philippines' Marcos plugs "private enterprise" as "cutting edge of progress"
Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos, undaunted by growing domestic opposition to his support of Western corporations, recently promised foreign companies a safe haven in his country.
"We believe in free enterprise," Marcos announced at the 27th annual convention of the International Chamber of Commerce held in Manila in late November. "The private sector should be left alone to become the cutting edge of improvement and progress in our economy," Marcos told the 1500 business executives from over 50 countries in attendance.
Marcos assured the businesspeople that his government would continue to "guarantee the remittance of their profits," and that "we don't intend to take over or confiscate property."
U.S.-based multinationals account for roughly '$2.5 billion of investments in the Philippines - more than half the total foreign investment there.
In addition to Marcos' welcome, the convention featured a number of seminars, including, one entitled "spreading the benefits of growth." Speaking on this subject were a senior secretary for economic affairs for the government of South Korea, the chief executive officer of a major Turkish company, and a vice president of Siemens, Argentina. South Korea, Turkey and Argentina are all countries where labor unions are banned and workers' real wages have been falling steadily for years.
At the convention, businesspeople were also urged to undertake a massive public relations campaign on their own behalf. "A specific business program for countering collectivist tendencies," as a Chamber of Commerce bulletin called it, was presented by John Diebold, management counsel to Xerox, Westinghouse, General Electric, IBM, Dupont and Kodak.
Diebold called for "refurbishing the intellectual appeal of capitalism," the Chamber bulletin reported. "To convince society at large," Diebold recommended that business should begin "financing research in support of capitalism."
"Schools are very important" in this drive, he pointed out, claiming that they lack "suitable material about and by business."
Companies should also press their views in the media, Diebold said. "The real difficulties come with TV, which does not lend itself naturally to proper discussion of serious business issues," he was reported as saying. "Business must take the initiative in putting forward new ideas to producers which rarely happens now."