First allow me the opportunity to convey my deepest and most sincere gratitude to the family of our Chairman Emeritus Levy Laus. Your presence this afternoon fills the void left in our hearts by the sudden and premature passing of my dearest friend, my kumpare, my mentor and my idol.
A decade and a half ago, I approached him to consider the conversion of then San Fernando Chamber into a provincial chamber. He accepted my proposal with the condition that I will be his Vice President and I will help him put together and establish a credible business organization led by prominent and advocacy driven businessmen and businesswomen in Pampanga.
The past fifteen years saw PamCham grow and evolve into the influential provincial chamber it is now, thanks to the wise guidance of our dear Chairman Emeritus.
In his absence, PamCham is bereft of a prescient and charismatic leader. We will miss his quick-wit, perceptive wisdom and enterprising intellect in the board.
But we are confident that a decade and a half of his counsel as Chairman of the Board prepared us enough to stay the course and keep pursuing advocacies that will fulfill our sworn mission to promote development in the countryside and capacitate our homegrown local MSMEs grow into globally competitive enterprises.
As President, I am assuring the members that I will not disappoint our Chairman Emeritus. With the support of the board of directors and the general membership, I am now, more than ever, determined to accomplish PamCham’s objective of uplifting the quality of life in the province of Pampanga through continued partnership with our local government leaders.
The recent mid-term election gave a fresh mandate to the winning candidates. Alongside our congratulations is the eager expectation to work with you on programs that will promote development.
We also keenly await the full implementation of the Pampanga Megalopolis Plan, particularly the Pampanga Mass Transit System which is intended to provide accessibility and facilitate connectivity to, from and within the province.
We are very grateful to Former President and now Speaker of the House, Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for her commitment to support the mass transit system and for volunteering her services as consultant, which we hope will fast track the actualization of the Pampanga Megalopolis Plan.
I also reiterate our continuing request for the rehabilitation of our major highways, particularly the JASA and MacArthur Highway. We need these highways widened and free of obstacles so that development in Pampanga will remain unhindered.
In the next month or so, PamCham will meet with our local chief executives and heads of our national government agencies to discuss local road transport plans which will include alternate roads to the MacArthur and JASA for the use of tricycles and motorcycles. This will help minimize accidents at the major highways that often involve tricycles and motorcycles.
Let me also mention at this point that PamCham, MACCII and CILA have been holding joint board of directors meetings to consolidate efforts and advocacies towards the development of Pampanga. There is also a plan to hold a combined PamCham, MACCII and CILA GMM in the next quarter.
The past two joint board of directors’ meetings, we had the Presidents of BCDA CDC and CIAC sit with us and discuss ongoing and future plans for the development of Clark and we were able to share our inputs for their consideration.
I have so far referenced PamCham’s advocacies and plans for the external business environment.
Let me now relate the activities of our working committees.
Our Human Resource and Education committees have been actively holding successful seminars and trainings that our members have been actively participating in. Plans for seminars on the Data Privacy Act and Cyber Security are also underway. Please watch out for their announcements.
Let me also acknowledge the membership committee for their hard work and diligence in the organization of this GMM. Congratulations, your diligent planning for the past two months have really paid off.
This is also an opportune moment to thank DTI Pampanga for their help and partnership in our mini trade fair now ongoing at the next hall. I urge you to visit the stalls, look at the displays and patronize our local products.
Quite a few of them are now our members and we hope to get more join us. Please support them and help them grow so that together, hand in hand, we will grow and expand our local economy.
Other PamCham committees, like the CSR committee, the Tourism committee, the SME Development committee and the Infrastructure committee, among other, have also laid out their plans. So watch out for announcements from them.
In behalf of the board of directors, thank you committee members. Your dedicated and committed efforts towards the successful execution of your plans is commendable.
PamCham’s influence and effectiveness as the provincial chamber is attributed to you. Let us continue the good work and Pampanga will be the better for it.
Before I end, let me announce two other projects in the works for PamCham.
First is the Dual Education Training or DET program in partnership with PCCI and funded by GIZ or German Society for International cooperation. We are now in the planning stage and we will give you running updates in the course of its implementation.
Second is our Member ID / Discount Card. We have been able to get member establishments and some outside partners give discounts/perks to PamCham ID bearers. We hope to increase the numbers alongside the issuance of member IDs. But first we need you to supply us with the information needed for the card. Once done, we can have the ID issued to you.
We have more plans in store for the members but first and foremost, we need your active participation for these plans to succeed. PamCham after all is your organization and for PamCham to truly represent and protect your interests you must first enable it to become a strong and sustainable organization.
This will happen when you, the members, become actively involved in the in the working committees. This is the foundation of the chamber and it is also the best training for PamCham directors and officers.
So I encourage you to join the working committees and become leaders of PamCham.
Thank you very much and welcome to our 63rd GMM.