Today’s GMM is poignantly somber because we are missing the vital presence of our dear Chairman Emeritus. Our abrupt and unexpected loss gave all of us in the board pause and compelled us to seriously contemplate our purpose and responsibilities as officers and directors of PamCham.
His sage leadership made it a privilege to be a member of the board. Every month, we were witness to his perceptive insights, acute sense of appropriateness and keen discernment of the best way to push forward advocacies that will promote and protect the interests and welfare of business.
He is also very astute in choosing topics and speakers for our General Membership Meetings. Today’s topic was his personal choice and it was prompted by the April 22 earthquake that struck Pampanga.
PamCham’s goto topics for the GMMs are Disaster Preparedness, Business Resiliency and Countryside Development.
You will recall that 15 years ago, PamCham assumed the role of the provincial chamber with the mission to rebuild, rehabilitate and restore Pampanga’s economy from the ashes of an epic disaster.
Priming Countryside Business became our dictum. And our direction was to unite the business community of Pampanga into a single voice, to advocate for a business friendly local environment and promote Pampanga as a viable investment destination.
This stage of Pampanga’s development is certainly exhilarating and at the same time exceedingly daunting, especially to sustain and maintain. But preparedness and awareness are key to resiliency. We believe that as long as we stay updated and keep ourselves apprised of vital information, we will be able to withstand and overcome nature’s caprice.
In fact our most recent advocacy to “Decongest Metro Manila” had “For Our Country’s Sake” as a qualifier. If a disaster strikes the center of development, the hub of investments, and the seat of the national government, which is Metro Manila, with the countryside under-developed, or worse, not developed at all and unprepared, the entire nation’s economy will be affected and we will all suffer the consequences. As a countermeasure, we need to prepare the countryside, and these means, all the regions outside Metro Manila.
For PamCham, this entailed urging government to provide vital transport infrastructures from Metro Manila to Pampanga. And we are grateful that this is now happening. We now see Clark International Airport being endorsed as an international gateway to Central and North Luzon. The new and expanded terminal is now 70% complete and we expect a steady increase in visitors and flights at the airport.
Indeed, the horizon is very rosy and this is the time to prepare and be aware of any and all occurrences. A quote from an American football coach Paul Brown captures this very accurately – “Leave as little to chance as possible. Preparation is key to success”.
As PamCham moves forward sans the vital presence of our beloved Chairman Emeritus, all of us in the board of directors commit to continuing the work he had so perspicaciously laid out for us. We will be unwavering in this commitment and we are very confident that we will be successful because he will still be with us in spirit.
Before I end my message, let me just update you on the adjustments we made in the board of directors.
As Vice Chairman prior to the demise of our Chairman Emeritus, I am now assuming the chairmanship of the board.
Elected as Vice Chairman in our 166th Board of Directors meeting last May 20 is Vice Chairman Jim Jimenez.
We also have a new member of the board in the person of Ms. Marylou Ramos Tolentino and assuming the directors’ seat for the LausGroup of Companies is Mr. Paul Laus.
Speaking in behalf of the board of directors, we are issuing the membership of PamCham that we will never waver in our mission of priming countryside business and we will always put the best interest of the general membership first.
In fact, we will be more fervent and motivated to fulfill our mission because we know that our Chairman Emeritus will expect nothing less from us.
Thank you and have a great afternoon.