My journey in the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry – as a member in 1994, CBM Chair in 2008, a trustee and now your President, has made me realize not only how time flies but that Cebu Chamber is an integral feature in the soul of Cebu. The year 2014 with each and every one of you was indeed an amazing journey.
I am deeply grateful to all of you for your profound commitment to the Cebu Chamber. I also ask that you continue to offer your advice, wisdom and support so that we will carry on our service in the business community as well as advance our various roles in Cebu’s governance. Remember, we are all in this together to be the voice of Cebu’s business community and the engine of Cebu’s business growth.
The Year 2014 started well for us and our year’s journey made us proud to be in the Cebu Chamber. To wit:
The Cebu Chamber is in demand:
- “In advancing the well-being of Cebu so that its citizens and the business community shall prosper”, your Chamber CCCI was invited and upped its ladder of engagement in activities that promoted and enhanced the interests and growth of business community, consistent with the concerns, welfare, and social development of the general public, and the country’s developmental objectives as encapsulated in our Constitution and By Laws.
These were manifested in our part in the (1) MEGA Cebu and its Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board (MCDCB) and ExeCOM;(2) Economic Committee in the Cebu City Development
Council,(3) Cebu City MSMED Council,(4) Cebu City Solid Waste Management Board,(5) Cebu City SRP Joint Venture Committee,(6) Cebu City Rivers Management Council,(7) Central Cebu River Basin Management Council,(8) DENR-EMB Butuanon Water Quality Management Area Governing Board,(9) Cebu Province’ Infrastructure Committee and Cebu Provincial Development Council,(10) Provincial Investment Board,(11) Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Council,(12) DTI Technical Working Group on Shared Service Facility,(13) Regional Peace and Order Council and (14) a special non-voting member of the Regional Development Council and its Economic Sector Committee. Most recently, the CCCI received an accreditation by DPWH.
The Cebu Chamber is a regional resource institution:
- “In serving as the forum for the development of a consensus of the business community on matters of economic significance”, your Chamber CCCI conducted focus group discussions and key informant interviews with various sectors in various value and supply chains in the Province (tourism, agriculture, trade and commerce, light manufacturing, service delivery and logistics, among others) to identify strategic road links in southern Cebu under the Coordinating Road Investments for Development Project (CRID) of The Asia Foundation (TAF) as a grantee.
With a new round of grant from TAF this time entitled Coordinating Roads and other Infrastructure Investments for Development (CR+ID) in the latter part of the year, we were able to spearhead the agreement building with the business sector and reached consensus on the key economic drivers in the province of Cebu and Central Visayas region including the list of regional impact projects together with government and other Chambers in the Region.
The Cebu Chamber is the voice of the business community:
- “In articulating the views, judgment, sentiments, and combined wisdom of the entire local business community on national, regional, local inter-sectoral issues in the appropriate forum and to the proper parties” your Chamber CCCI continued to act as the primary liaison and channel of communication on matters and issues which are of common concern to the business community, the government and the general public. These included research, formulation and presentation of position papers, conduct of focus group discussions, negotiations and agreement building, and joined public hearings that covered business concerns such as importation issues, port congestion and port development, power, taxation, international airport, waste and waste water management including flood control, and rivers management and metropolitan development and management.
The Cebu Chamber is a service facility for its members and partners:
- “In promoting among its members the continuous improvement of productivity, quality standards and efficiency” and “In helping to strengthen the operational, marketing, and financial capability of the members with special concern for association and similar aggrupation of micro, cottage, small and medium enterprises”, your Chamber fixed Cebu Business Month 2014 to prepare Cebu for the 2015 ASEAN Economic Integration challenges and opportunities that would stimulate business growth to compete in a global economy. CBM 2014 organizers headed by Trustee Felix “Boy” Tiukinhoy, CBM 2014 Chair, successfully executed various activities that deepened knowledge on ASEAN Integration and underscored new opportunities for the business community where Cebu is central to an integrated ASEAN economy.We offered and delivered year-round seminars, trainings and workshops, including on leadership management and human resource development, skills upgrading be they related to communication, accounting or financial management, and specific entrepreneurial skills development particularly to the micro, small and medium enterprises. We also implemented purposive projects with the AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development of Germany particularly (1) the OURFood program focused on food safety with the launching of the Cebu Food Consultancy Group (CFCG) with DOST, good agriculture practices(GAD) and good manufacturing practices(GMP) to achieve competitiveness vis-à-vis compliance with international standards and (2) the Kto12PLUS program where the Chamber joins PCCI and 6 German groups to bridge the industry-academe gap that has resulted with jobs mismatch by organizing TechVoc Education Training academe-industry clusters.
The Cebu Chamber forged special partnerships with various resource providers: Small Business Corporation, Cebu Bankers Club, Federation of Countryside Rural Banks, SGV and Company, ECOP, PhilExport and DTI’s shared service facilities to ensure assistance to emerging industries and the MSMEs not only for Chamber members but also for members of our affiliates such as PhilExport Cebu.
The aftermath of the twin disasters of 2013 (7.2 magnitude earthquake and supertyphoon Haiyan/Yolanda) provided the Chamber the gateway to join forces with international and local institutions to build back better livelihood with the calamity-ravaged areas in northern Cebu and Bohol particularly for the small entrepreneurs and communities. CCCI implemented the early recovery and livelihood rehabilitation dubbed #Bangon Sugbohol and #Bangon Cebu that covered a wide range of beneficiaries – artisanal fisherfolks, small farmers, micro entrepreneurs (basket/mat weaving, candlemaking, handicrafts, among others), women and out-of-school youth so that they could rise and be equipped with better skills, equipment, contacts in the value chain and more resilient environment to operate their enterprise.
The Cebu Chamber went beyond itself by reaching out to assist other business membership organizations in the Visayas and Mindanao together with the AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation- BKU in the WECAN (Working for the Enhancement of Chamber and Association Networks) Project which served 8 organizations. As a “Big Sibling” CCCI provides coaching and training to the BMO partners (Small Siblings) in the various aspects of chamber management, namely: Advocacy, Membership Development, Business Development and internal management. Partner BMOs are supported in developing and promoting their chosen industry sectors through training and mentoring, provision of local and international technical experts, marketing support and networking. Partner BMOs in the Visayas and Caraga include the following (1) Association of Negros Producers (Negros Occidental), (2) Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce & Industry, (3) Siquijor Chamber of Commerce & Industry, (4)Bohol Association of Hotels, Resorts & Restaurants, (5)Ormoc City Chamber of Commerce & Industry, (6)Butuan-Agusan Chamber of Commerce & Industry, (7)Bislig City Chamber of Commerce & Industry and (8) the newly formed CCCI-Bantayan chapter to fast track the early recovery and rehabilitation in the island of Bantayan after typhoon Yolanda. The WE CAN Manual for Business Membership Organizations (BMO) was launched in November, a lasting documentation of the BMO management knowledge conveyed by Big Sibling with the WE CAN Members Directory – a compilation of the various member profiles of the project’s network of chambers and associations in the Visayas and Caraga.
- “In facilitating and organizing international events, projects and inbound and outbound trade missions,” your Chamber, CCCI co-hosted the World Economic Forum’s Open Collaboration with the East Asia New Champions (OCEAN) event in May 2014 at Movenpick Mactan together with its Young Global Leaders, Global Shapers and Schwab Social Entrepreneurs. CCCI managed direct partner-agreements including international aid agencies such as the United Nations Office Coordinating Humanitarian Aid (OCHA), International Labor Organization (ILO), the AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development-BKU and the preparations for the APEC 2015 hosting in coordination with the Provincial Government of Cebu and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
We organized outbound trade mission to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia last September 2014 that strengthened and broadened trade links between Cebu and Malaysia and provided beneficial business and investment opportunities encapsulated in the SISTER CHAMBER AGREEMENT with the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry- Sabah Branch during the Friendship Dinner on September 18, 2014.
We facilitated meetings, fora and business matching for inbound trade missions from Nigeria, Sabah-Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, Canada, Israel, Vietnam and Indonesia.
We also provided business support, assistance and opportunities for MSMEs for business start ups (such as our virtual office and ITSO) and for event management (such as our octanorm exhibit system) to promote, showcase their products and services, converge and forge partnership with the target market, as well as share best practices and initiatives towards growth and sustainability.
The Cebu Chamber’s capabilities manifested:
The CCCI underscored capabilities are manifested once more in the following:
- Its reputation as a professionally-run organization with certified quality management system in trustworthy functioning condition that matured since 1903 or 111 years of existence. The Cebu Chamber passed the surveillance audit under the ISO 9001: Quality Management Certification.
- Its hierarchy of decision-making and ladder of engagement makes for a robust and dynamic organization. The Cebu Chamber Board of Trustees regularly met every 4th Thursday of the month and passed 70 resolutions from March 2014-Feb 2015.
- Its character as dynamic multi-stakeholder private institution with wide range of membership encompassing both large, medium and small enterprises; having both sectoral, institutional and individual representations from various industries and a wide range of economic sectors. Cebu Chamber remains strong and is showing modest growth with 598 current members in good standing status. Forty seven (47) new members were welcomed to the organization and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has already paid their 2014 dues.
- Its good and active standing for delivering its causes and advocacies to successful conclusion made more apparent because of good media relations and inter-personal relations. On March 28, 2014, the Chamber received a silver award and special recognitions from the Department of Health for its exemplary achievement in the conduct of institution based Blood Donation of the National Voluntary Blood Services Program, from Department of Special Welfare and Development (DSWD) by empowering the communities and the fight against poverty, from the Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) for the rehabilitation of the Cebu River Systems through the 2nd Run for the Rivers project, and from the Philippine AirForce 2nd Air Division.
- Its record of excellence as multi-year awardee amongst other chambers in the country balanced by its propensity to reach out to other groups (business membership organizations, emerging industries, government and communities). Aside from being a consistent PCCI multi-year Hall of Fame awardee amongst other chambers in the country, we have successfully reached out to other Business Membership Organizations as a Big Sibling and conducted such activities as the inter-chamber activity of business matching with the Ormoc City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (April) to address the supply shortage of basic commodities in Ormoc City after Typhoon Yolanda, and inter-chamber dialogues with Bohol, Siquijor and Negros Oriental on roads investments.
We have worked hard over the past year to attain the purpose of our existence and while there is still much work to be done, the progress has been steady. We conducted our strategic planning in 2014 and I continue to welcome any suggestions and constructive feedback that would make our organization even stronger.
Fellow members of the Chamber, I give my sincerest thanks again to each and every one of you for the invaluable support and commitments you bestowed on my term as your president. We shared our time, we shared our talents, and we shared our resources, but the greatest of them all is that we shared our love for the Chamber.
Thank you and ‘Mabuhay Po Tayong Lahat’!