Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has committed to involve the Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) in encouraging Filipino students to undertake entrepreneurial outreach projects for marginalized sectors by making these institutions adopt schools that have programs for student-led community development initiatives.
Dominguez said these schools cover those that are involved in programs initiated by Enactus Philippines, a non-profit organization inspiring university students to carry out community development projects that generate jobs and incomes for society’s underprivileged sectors.
“Enactus involves 47 colleges and universities in the Philippines, and we will respond positively to Joey’s [Enactus Philippines’ chairman Jose Leviste’s] request that the LandBank as well as the DBPD adopt a school in each of the areas where they have branches. This reach of Enactus is very impressive for such a beneficial undertaking,” Dominguez said at the recently held national competition finals of Enactus Philippines.
Held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, the national finals capped the series of regional contests that Enactus had held on the various outreach efforts undertaken by university students across the country. The annual competition is evaluated and judged by business executives.
Across the globe, Enactus has established a presence in 36 countries and involves over 1,600 colleges and universities.
Dominguez said the future involvement of Landbank and DBP in Enactus’ efforts can be patterned after the Foundation for Development Through Education Inc. (FDTEI) that he set up in the late 1990s to provide college scholarships to Lumads and Filipino Muslims in Mindanao while encouraging them to serve their communities.
“We of course don’t have too much money, but we provide these funds for college scholarships in Mindanao. The only requirement we have in the FDTEI is that for one month a year, each of the scholars have to serve their communities,” Dominguez said.
He said the FDTEI scholars gave back to the community by working with the municipal governments in programs on adult education, early education and clean-up drives.
The FDTEI, Dominguez said, has so far helped close to a hundred students complete their college education, with many of these graduates now working here or abroad.
In his speech at the SMEX event, Dominguez called on socially responsible young Filipinos to pay forward the opportunities given to them by joining the government service, where they can become “enablers of meaningful change” and play a key role in revolutionizing the country’s institutions of governance.
He said that governance under the new economy driven by constant innovation needs this young generation of Filipinos to enrich public service and help Government adapt to change.
Dominguez said, “It is not private enterprise that should adjust to bureaucratic control but the bureaucracy that must adjust to the changing terrain of enterprise.”
He said that while working in the government is not the most lucrative career option available to fresh graduates, it is, however, a satisfying choice to take especially for those “who wish to serve their country well,” as it provides them with the opportunity to help public agencies become “enablers” rather than mere “gatekeepers” and contribute to national efforts to improve the lives of their fellow Filipinos.
“It will be to the good of our country for a fresh new generation to come and help revolutionize our institutions of governance. The public service can no longer be the last line of defense of the old order. It must be the cutting edge of an innovative nation, one constantly willing to try out new ways of doing things,” Dominguez said.
He said this is why he prefers to surround himself with young people, pointing out, for instance, that his support staff at the Department of Finance (DOF) consists of “highly energetic, dynamic, dedicated and smart” achievers whose average age is below 25.
In his speech, Dominguez invited participants in the Enactus finals to join the DOF’s internship program, where they can hone their skills in various fields such as policy, research, fiscal management and development.
The DOF internship program, which is open to students of finance and economics, currently has around 32 interns working in the Department’s different offices, including the International Finance Group and the Strategy, Economics and Results Group.