MINERVA BC NEWMAN
CEBU CITY—The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) identified five key issues to pursue and advocate in 2024 for the efficient growth and development of the business sector in Cebu and the Central Visayas area.
These key issues include the cost of power and availability of its supply; national government funding for local projects and various infrastructure; water and mass transit; e-visa/Visa-free for the tourism sector and the Metro Cebu Expressway connecting Naga to Danao Cebu.
In a year-end press conference on December 13, 2023, top CCCI officials led by its president Charles Kenneth Co with Immediate Past President, Felix Taguiam, VP Benny Que, VP Francis Dy and AVP Padma Siap, bared that these top five issues are crucial challenges for more rise in the tourism sector and more foreign business engagements in Cebu.
“Cebu and Central Visayas still have a lot of opportunities for the foreign investments to engage in. It is crucial for the national government to come in terms of lowering the cost of fuel and power and to improve on the ease and cost of doing business in all of the local government units (LGUs) in the country,” the CCCI officials said.
Taguiam, in his report of accomplishment of the Business Advocacy and Policy (BAP) for 2023 bared that the team has relentlessly pursued its mission to address the needs of the CCCI members and contribute to the creation of a more competitive Cebu in the local and global business landscape.
He told the media that the Team had engaged with key stakeholders, participated in various meetings and events, dialogs, seminars and forums to voice concerns and advocacy on how to improve on the “Ease and Cost of Doing Business” in Cebu.
“Ease and Cost of Doing Business is still the bottleneck in doing business in the Philippines. Partnering with the government, especially the various local government units (LGUs) is crucial to streamline business processes and to adapt to digitalization/online operations in paying taxes in the country,” Taguiam noted.
The BAP Team has pursued an unyielding voice for the business community here via development of position papers and manifestos that included the joint appeal opposing legislated and across-the-board wage hikes, ensuring a balanced approach to labor issues, Taguiam said.
A Position Paper supporting the International Maritime Trade Competitiveness Act demonstrated CCCI’s commitment to fostering a thriving maritime industry and supporting the Proposed Ordinance enacting the 2023 revised real property tax code for the taxing jurisdiction of the City of Cebu.
Looking forward to the challenges of 2024
“We reflect on the year that has passed, a year defined by our resolute leadership agenda centered on connecting opportunities, growing businesses, and creating substantial value. Our efforts in trade and investment promotions have seen fruitful engagements with global stakeholders, fostering ties and paving the way for future opportunities, and eager to continue this journey of growth and progress together, CCCI president Charles Kenneth Co said.
Francis Dy, VP for the Cebu Business Months (CBM) shared the Team’s efforts to showcase Cebu’s abundance in tourism, entrepreneurship, creative entertainment, and ICT-BPM, all encapsulated in the spirit of “Cebu ‘ta Bai!”Moving Forward, Shaping the Future.
Dy noted the highlights of Cebu as a powerhouse, revealing not just the people, but also the unique talents, fostering friendships beyond businesses, and emphasizing collaboration over competition.
“It is a celebration of talents and skills steering us towards economic sustainability. We are looking at 2024 to elevate local businesses through global exposure, industry-leading events, and strategic initiatives to shape Cebu’s future in economic growth and more innovations,” Dy added.
CCCI’s Business Development Team led by VP Benedict Que is gung-ho on its pursuit to bolster trade and investments with other countries like Norway, Singapore, Hong Kong, Austria, Korea, Canada, and Germany having paved the way in 2023 with encounters and engagement in fostering strong partnerships and collaborations.
Que said that the CCCI’s 2024 calendar is already replete with plans for trade and investments promotions, training and seminars for upskill and upscale of the members’ capabilities in the diverse and comprehensive areas such as tax and accounting, technology assessments, food handling, sustainability, risk management, and skills anticipation.
“For 2024, CCCI plans to engage in agriculture and farming in collaboration with various Cebu local government units (LGUs). For starters, we are looking forward to collaborating with the Cordova LGU with its FISH Visayas Project sites involving some 161 fisherfolks/fishing communities in Cordova,” Que revealed.
Lastly, CCCI’s challenge for 2024 is to increase its membership to a 1000. “We concluded 2023 with 72 new members making our membership base stronger to an impressive 896, inclusive of 32 sectoral organizations. This diversity underscores our commitment to inclusivity and collaboration, boasting 419 companies from Service, 203 from Industry, 181 from Trade and Commerce, and 61 from ICT/BPM,” AVP Padma Siap of the Chamber Growth service team reported.
Kenneth Co thanked everyone who had been part of the CCCI’s 2023 journey. “We stand here today proud of our collective achievements, grateful for the collaboration that made them possible, and eager to continue this journey of growth and progress together,” he concluded.