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Cebu Chamber remains ‘go-to’ business group in Visayas

Cebu's private sector representatives to the Central Visayas Regional Development Council from 2019 to 2022. From left, Gordon Alan Joseph, Abundio Gultiano Jr., Robert Go, Virgilio Espeleta, Fe Walag, Evelyn Castro and Kenneth Cobonpue. (Contributed Photo)

The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the biggest business organization in Cebu with about 900 members, has continued to fulfill its mission to be the "voice of Cebu's business community," chamber president Virgilio G. Espeleta said.

In his report to the chamber during the general membership meeting on August 28, 2019, Espeleta said the chamber continues to aim to be the "go-to" business organization among government agencies and local government units that seek to partner with Cebu’s business community.

He noted that the chamber represents the business community to the Central Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) and other special bodies to leverage policies and pursue an ecosystem of collaboration that will facilitate ease in doing business, lower the cost of transactions and influence infrastructure investments programming.

Espeleta was among 14 individuals selected as private sector representatives (PSRs) to the RDC for 2019 to 2022.

The chamber, which Espeleta represented, earned the highest votes among 32 accredited non-government organizations of Cebu.

"This presents us (with) a greater opportunity to continue to carve a niche for CCCI in the economic growth and development and history of Cebu," Espeleta said.

Of the 14 PSRs to the council, seven are from Cebu including CCCI.

Other representatives from Cebu are: Evelyn Nacario-Castro of Options, Inc.; Kenneth Cobonpue of Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation, Inc.; Robert Go of Metro Cebu Uptown Jaycees Foundation, Inc.; Abundio Gultiano, Jr. of Central Cebu Board of Realtors and National Real Estate Association; Gordon Alan Joseph of Cebu Business Club, Inc.; and Fe Walag of Soil and Water Conservation Foundation, Inc.

The other PSRs are from the provinces of Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor.

Aside from this, Espeleta said the chamber has also been actively lobbying for the concerns of its members either through position papers or official statements.

"The chamber has represented the business community (in pushing) its various advocacies. Cebu Chamber has kept its word in taking action and creating an open dialogue with concerned industries and government offices to air the sentiments and proposals of our members," Espeleta said.

Among the issues that the chamber has tackled is the proposed wage hike.

"As early as May, Cebu Chamber already expressed its opposition against the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) wage hike petition of P386 for minimum wage earners in the private sector which would make the minimum wage at P772/day," he said.

The chamber also facilitated a meeting with new Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella to discuss recommendations on how to further ease doing business.

Other steps taken by the chamber include: pushing for a level playing field during the regional consultation on the Philippine Development Plan Midterm Update; conduct of a round table discussion with Customs brokers and importers of Cebu; and holding discussions with key officials of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) on the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Ease of Doing Business Act.

Cebu Chamber has chapters on Bantayan Island and in Naga City, Danao City, Balamban and Cordova. Chapters in Bogo in the north and Carcar in the south are also being organized. (Ventures Cebu)

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