President’s Corner

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62nd GMM Welcome Remarks

PCCI President Bing Limjoco, our Cabalen and my long time friend from the years we spent together in the board of PCCI when I sat as the Area Vice President for the North Luzon Region. My admiration of your dedication and commitment to serving the business community through PCCI never waned and I am especially proud to have you as my President now. As a Kapampangan entrepreneur, leading the big boys of business in Metro Manila and guiding us in the local chambers in the countryside, you do us all proud.

In behalf of the board of directors of PamCham, let me also once again convey our collective gratitude for the support you gave to the  27th North Luzon Area Business Conference held in may last year, here at the LausGroup Event Centre. The event was extremely successful and because you made it a point to bring to Pampanga the entire board of directors of PCCI and have them attend the NLABC.

Your exceptional work in the Philippine Franchising Association is likewise laudable and quite deserving of the highest accolades from the industry.

My participation in the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry spans almost three decades. In 1991, I became an active member, then a director and eventually President of the Metro Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Industry or MACCII. From there I was elected as Regional Governor of Region III local chambers, then further went up as Area Vice President, helping develop Local Chambers of Commerce and Industries in the North Luzon regions and sitting as a director of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

After serving the North Luzon Regions, I decided to relinquish the position and focus my attention back to my business. I undertook massive expansion and the network I was able to establish in my term as PCCI’s Area officer became very handy.

But that hiatus was short-lived as I was requested by Mr. Levy Laus, my close friend and confidant, my Kumpare, to join the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (PamCham) as one of the founding directors and was subsequently elected as Vice President.

The rest as I say is history. PamCham quickly became one of the more credible and influential business chambers in the North Luzon Region. I served as PamCham’s Vice President for 4 years, was elected as President for also 4 years or two terms. When I stepped down, I was elected Vice Chairman from 2011 to 2018.

For eight years, I enjoyed being in the sidelines, lending advise and counsel as Vice Chairman and serving at the pleasure of the two past presidents.

Last year however, this interlude was interrupted when the board decided to re-elect me, for the third time as President. At first I was hesitant because there is certainly no dearth in the pool of leadership in the chamber’s board of directors and members.

But how can I refuse the position I was being entrusted with once again by no less than the captains of industries in the business community of Pampanga? Their trust and confidence in my abilities is precious to me and I cannot, in all honesty, turn my back on their trust and confidence.

And so I now stand before you once again, in this podium as your President. And just like in my first two consecutive terms, back in 2007 up to 2010, I will commit to fulfilling my responsibilities as your President in the best way I know how. And this is through consultations with you, our dear members, and in the process directly involving you in the activities and advocacies of the chamber.

In January 30, this is exactly what we did and the consultation meeting gave us the opportunity to connect directly with you and in the process become aware of your innate love and concern for countryside business and development.

A lot of the issues raised and suggestions forwarded during the meeting will help us improve our services and strengthen our advocacies as a chamber. It also opened our eyes on the potential leaders within the chamber which can start with them heading the working committees of PamCham.

Just like in PCCI, the working committees serve as the backbone of the chamber. They are also the veritable training ground for future chamber leaders. Their first hand involvement in the activities and advocacies of PamCham, enhances their understanding and appreciation of the relevance of the chamber in the business community. More importantly, they will get to experience the fulfillment of contributing to nation building as compelling advocates for countryside development.

Flashed on the screen are the 12 working committees grouped into four clusters that focuses on the two major thrusts of the chamber, Business Promotion and Business Advocacy and each committee is tasked with advocacies inherent in its focus and function.

I am happy to report that since our committees’ organizational meeting last February 27, two week ago, quite a few of our committee heads have scheduled meetings to prepare their plans for the year.

The Human Resource committee led by Dr. Lou Javier and its sub-committee, the Education Committee headed by Mr. Robert Batac, have since met twice I believe and from these meetings, plans are already underway for their first project for the financial literacy of our Grade 12 students and then there is also the upcoming leadership 2.0, a next level training to last year’s Leadership 1.0.

The Tourism committee also met last week with Director in Charge Malou Garbes and will be submitting for board approval their project on giving recognition to tourism establishments and hospitality service providers that practice excellence in the inductry. This is a worthwhile project that will help improve the quality of service of our hotels, restaurants, resorts and other establishments which in the long-run will attract more tourists and visitors to come to Pampanga and Region III.

The infrastructure and membership committees have meetings set for this week and the next.

This year will certainly be very busy and engaging for PamCham. I encourage all members to actively get involved in our committees. These will serve you well in expanding your network in the business community as well as enable you to touch base with our government partners, which I assure you will aid you in your business.

We all know that to moving forward in business entails network expansion. This is exactly what you will gain as you become more active in the committees.

Last February 21, we had the most well-attended business matching session with over 80 members. We made some improvements in venue choices. When before we only had our small meeting room in our office in San Agustin, this time and for future business matchings, we will hold them in various member hotels and restaurants. We will also invite MSMEs in these B2B sessions as our way of implementing our Big Brother – Small Brother advocacy.

We hope to do our share in helping promote and grow our MSMEs, pretty much what we have done today where you can see around us the products of our local homegrown businesses.

There are also plans for restoring the company and factory tours and we hope to visit some of the manufacturing plants inside the Freeport zones of Clark and Subic.

We will also organize the After 5 Mixers which is an after work socialization for our members. This will give all of us the chance to mingle, socialize and of course network but in party mode. It is intended break the monotony and seriousness of our business meetings and encourage camaraderie and fellowship among us.

Subject to the approval of the board of directors, this year we plan to pursue sisterhood agreements with other local and international chambers of commerce. This will help broaden our reach and expand our networking coverage. Expect updates on this soon.

Today, we will also preview our Members ID and Discount Cards. Flashed on the screen is the card of our Chairman Emeritus. These have long been planned and requested by our members and finally we have them. The cards will be made available to members in good standing, meaning the annual dues have been paid for the whole year.

We also made initial requests to our member establishments for extending exclusive discounts to PamCham members. We will provide you with the lists when we officially launch the cards in April. For now, we provided the members of the board with their cards first.

To the new members who will be inducted into the chamber today, congratulations on your decision to put your businesses first. By joining the chamber and taking full advantage of the myriad of networking opportunities we will make available for you, your business will definitely take off. How high and how fast will be yours to decide.

Let me also congratulate my fellow inductees in the board of directors. Let us remember that the trust and confidence bestowed upon us by our members is a noble burden best borne with integrity and rectitude. We need each other’s support, if we are to sustain the momentum we are currently at.

To our members, we in the board are wholeheartedly committed to serving your best interests and protecting your welfare. Please bear in mind that what we do is always for your benefit and in return, we need your active participation in our activities and support to our advocacies. I always say, HELP THE CHAMBER and the CHAMBER WILL HELP YOU.

Before I end, I would like to give due recognition and acknowledgment to our two Past Presidents, President Jim Jimenez who served two terms, from 2011 to 2014 and President Jess Nicdao, also serving two terms, from 2015 to 2018.

Kudos to your excellent leadership. PamCham is forever entrenched in the annals of Pampanga’s business history because of you.

My presidency this time will be a lot easier because the number of advocates for countryside development have increased in the past eight years. As long as I have the support and trust of the board of directors and the members, we will continue to positively influence development in our province and empower our local homegrown enterprises become globally competitive, as reflected in our mission.

Finally, let me give due acknowledgement and express my heartfelt appreciation to our Chairman Emeritus, Levy P. Laus. His sage leadership and generous mentorship of PamCham for the past 15 years is a major factor in the many successful advocacies of the chamber and its enduring relevance to the business community, not only in Pampanga but most recently, benefiting the other provinces in Central Luzon as well.

He inspires us to be the best we can be and we take pride in him championing the cause of countryside businesses as he soars higher in stature as one of the most influential business personalities in the country and we are hoping someday, in Asia. Despite his many accolades, he remains modest, unassuming and very down to earth.

Our Chairman Emeritus is also a passionate advocate of countryside development. He never pass up a chance to champion the cause of our local homegrown businesses, and he will be the first to announce to the big boys in Manila that he is a “probinsiyano” and proud of it.

I call him the guiding star of PamCham as he is very hands on when it comes to the chamber’s advocacies and bigger activities like the GMMs. He never fails to remind us in the board that what we do and accomplish as a chamber reflects glaringly in our stature as Kapampangan businessmen. This is why PamCham is what it is today. Thanks to our Chairman, Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry will put the interest and welfare of countryside business first, always. Not most of the time, but always.

Thank you very much and welcome to our 62nd General Membership Meeting, 6th Induction of the Board of Directors and 42nd Induction of New Members.

A pleasant afternoon to all.