The Foundation for Economic Freedom was established in 1996 by like-minded individuals who all believed that it is their civic duty to make the Philippines a better place. Formalized as an advocacy institution to engage in public diplomacy to enact free market-oriented change, it counts among its roster visible and well-respected business leaders, retired technocrats, and members of the academe. For over two decades, FEF has been the institution of reference for policies to transform the inward-looking Philippine economy into a trading one.
At the center of the Foundation are the Council of Fellows, led by former Prime Minister Cesar Virata and former Finance Secretary Roberto de Ocampo. The Council of Fellows enables the Foundation to drive forward much-needed policies to policymakers and to spotlight key ideas during policy debate. To date, the Foundation’s fellows include leaders and notable individuals from different sectors and industries in the Philippines.
Originally conceptualized during the great oil price debate from 1994 to 1995, it was then that the founders of the Foundation understood the need for an institution that would forward policies for long-term economic growth rather than short-term solutions for the benefit of the quality and reliability of Philippine economic policies. And because these views were often contrary to populist views, the Foundation thus sought out well-respected thought leaders, intellectuals, and public servants to substantiate these views.
With a small grant from the Philippine Business for Social Progress, the largest corporate social development fund in the country, the Foundation for Economic Freedom was formally established.
Today, FEF continues to advise the government on important policy issues, generate public support for its advocacies, assist in the implementation of economic development-oriented laws and programs, and capacitate government agencies and LGUs in executing economic reforms. The Foundation counts the New Agrarian Emancipation Act, Amendments to the Public Service Act, and the Agricultural Free Patent Reform Act among its many policy wins in creating an economically free Philippines.