The Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) hosted the 61st Governing Body Meeting (GBM) of the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) last April 10-12 at the Manila Marriott Hotel, with a total of 55 delegates in attendance, comprising of APO Directors, Alternate Directors, and Advisers from the 19 member economies of the APO’s supreme body that decided several major issues affecting the organization.

Among the prominent officials who attended the annual gathering were Chairman and CEO of the Korea Productivity Center Dr. Kyoo-Sung Noh of the Republic of Korea, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft Phork Sovanrith of Cambodia, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry Dr. Pasu Loharjun and Thailand Productivity Institute  Executive Director Dr. Phanit Laosirirat of Thailand, Assistant Chief Executive of InfoComm Media and  Digitalization Enterprise Services and New Industries Enterprise Singapore Chew Mok Lee, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mongolian Productivity Organization Yamaaranz Erkhembayar of Mongolia, and Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration and Disaster Management Javigodage Jayadewa Rathnasiri of Sri Lanka.  National Economic and Development Authority Undersecretary Adoracion Navarro, and DAP President and CEO Atty. Engelbert Caronan Jr. led the local delegates who took part in the conclave.

Guest of Honor and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles, in his inaugural address, said that holding the GBM in the country holds an assurance and a promise to the Filipino people that they are not alone in their historic search for a better, more productive life.

Guest of Honor and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles delivering his inaugural address at the 61st APO Governing Body Meeting.

He further disclosed that the Philippine Government continues to take action to improve the country’s poverty, hunger, and employment numbers. “We are not where we want to be, but we are getting there; and we hope that the Asian Productivity Organization with its myriad programs and interventions revolutionizing industries and workplaces all over the region can be a partner we can count on to make our vision a reality for our people,” said Nograles.

On the other hand, Undersecretary Navarro, the APO Director for the Philippines, shared the host country’s belief that by hosting the meeting, it is contributing to the formulation of the APO’s roadmap and new policies.  She lauded the APO for its significant contribution to the promotion and improvement of productivity, through national productivity organizations (NPOs) of the member economies.  She likewise thanked the leadership of the DAP for hosting the APO gathering.  “It is an opportune time for us to help in the effort to further advance the productivity mission,” she added.

The Philippines last hosted the GBM 21 years ago. The member economies of the APO voluntarily take turns in hosting the annual gathering. This year’s GBM saw the election of APO Chair Dr. Pasu Loharjun (Thailand), First Vice Chair Dr. Ha Minh Hiep (Vietnam) and Second Vice Chair Md. Abdul Halim (Bangladesh) for 2019-2020 and the new APO Secretary-General Dr. Achmad Kurnia Prawira Mochtan for 2019-2022.

The DAP, as the NPO, carries out the country’s commitments to the APO and implements all APO-related activities in the Philippines.

The APO, a regional intergovernmental organization made up of 19 member economies, has the mission of contributing to the socioeconomic development of Asia and the Pacific through the enhancement of productivity in the region, doing it in collaboration with NPOs by serving as think tank, catalyst, regional adviser, institution builder, and clearing house of productivity information.  The APO has helped member countries through a range of activities that include technical assistance, capability building and information dissemination, among other things, in the areas of productivity and quality improvement in the agriculture, industry and service sectors, including the public sector.

Originally composed of eight economies when it was organized on May 11, 1961, the APO has now evolved to its current network that includes, the Philippines, Taiwan, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.