Membership in the Asian Productivity Organization has been a boon to the Philippines.  This has been borne out by the way the productivity movement has blossomed in the country to benefit various sectors, and, in the end, serve as a vital factor in improving the Philippine economy.

The Philippines jumpstarted the productivity movement in its shores when it joined seven other economies – Taiwan, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Nepal, Pakistan and Thailand – in establishing the APO on May 11, 1961.  As a founding member, the country was able to utilize APO programs to support its Industrial Development Program, which was the major framework of productivity development efforts.

With the Development Academy of the Philippines serving as the country’s national productivity organization or NPO – the body that acts as the focal institution carrying out the Philippine commitments to the APO and implements all APO-related activities on local shores – the productivity movement was championed in the Philippines, thereby enhancing total factor productivity or TFP as well as labor productivity growth in the country, according to the publication “Productivity in Asia and the Pacific: Past, Present and Future.”  This has in turn contributed to the country’s human capital investments, mainly in capacity and competency building of the public sector and private production sector, the same publication said.

Such accomplishments have been made through the various programs and activities that the APO has carried out, including its Technical Experts Services (TES) program; the productivity and quality-related trainings and seminars it has conducted for Filipino managers, executives, government officials, consultants and experts; the foreign study missions it has organized; and the researches and surveys the now-20-member organization has implemented while promoting productivity in the region.

The APO has indeed lived up to its original mission as a regional intergovernmental organization that seeks to contribute to the socioeconomic development of Asia and the Pacific through the enhancement of productivity.  This it has done by acting as think tank, catalyst, regional adviser, institution builder, and clearing house of productivity information.  It has helped member countries – which now also counts with, besides the eight original members, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam – 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 such sectors as agriculture, industry and service.

The APO is set to hold its 61st Governing Body Meeting in Manila this coming April 10-12.  Expected to be attended by some 70 foreign and local delegates, the meeting will see the APO’s supreme organ composed of the directors designated by each member government discuss and decide on policy, finance, programs, membership and other governance issues concerning the organization.