CCCI founders ‘helped shape Cebu’

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Sunday, January 26, 2014


IN combing through the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s history, Dr. Efren Valiente learned that its founders were influential in laying out the critical infrastructure that Cebu needed to build its economy.

With this, Valiente, who wrote the book CCCI 1903-2013: Engine of Growth, Voice of Business, posed a challenge to Cebu’s government and private sector leaders–to learn from the past.

Among the things he learned was that CCCI’s founders took an active role in shaping Cebu, having established power, telephone and railway lines.

Cebu even had its own mass transit system, which ran from Argao to Danao, to serve Cebu’s population of 320,689.

Valiente finds it ironic that these days, the requirement for having a mass transport system is to make sure 400,000 people use it daily.

Prime movers

“Our predecessors were prime movers in putting up the necessary structures for Cebu to develop. We should also lend a hand to do that today,” Valiente told CCCI members at the book launching Friday.

While the book chronicles the history of CCCI, he said anyone who reads it can learn the history of Cebu and can find out how it came to become what it is today.

It was also in researching the book that Valiente learned the CCCI was founded in 1903, not 1917 as most of the current leaders thought.

Valiente started working on the book in 2008, when CCCI was celebrating its 95th founding anniversary.

When he started, he decided against suggestions of writing a coffeetable book that was full of pictures and less text. Instead he traced the history of the organization, stumbling into a wealth of information from Cebuano Studies Center researcher, Dr. Michael Cullinane, who once taught political science at the University of San Carlos in the 1980’s. He also got help from historians Resil Mojares, Felisa Etimadi, Erlinda Alburo and Dionisio Sy.

The first few years were critical for CCCI’s growth, but everything became a standstill during the Japanese occupation. From 1946 to 1981, Valiente said there was a lull in the organization’s development.

However, he considers the term of Rep. Raul del Mar as president of the organization the turning point of CCCI’s success. He said it was at this time that the CCCI received a grant from a German group that taught them how to create an effective system to run a business chamber, including the construction of its own building.

Aside from the chamber’s involvement in Cebu’s development, he urged the current leaders to make use of the CCCI’s library. While there is a provision for a library, Valiente said it is not being used as such and is, instead, used to display the plaques and trophies that the CCCI has received over the years.

Keeping records

Valiente said keeping records of the regular meetings, resolutions and reports will one day teach the future leaders of the organization how the current ones ran the CCCI.

Past president Prudencio Gesta said the book is a must-read for members so they will appreciate the history of the CCCI and be inspired to do the same.

Past president Geronimo Sta. Ana, who chaired the editorial board, said that while reading the draft, he learned much more about CCCI and is proud to be a part of it.

He said they hope to come up with a second edition “sometime in the future to herald what the chamber will accomplish in the coming year.”

Tribute

For past president Anastacio Muntuerto Jr., who co-chairs CCCI’s centennial celebration, the book pays tribute to those who have led the chamber for many years.

“But the most important story is still to be written.”

Francis Monera, past president and chairman of the centennial celebration, said CCCI is currently one of the most respected business organizations today and hopes people read the book rather than display it on coffee tables.

CCCI printed 1,200 copies and is selling each at P1,000 for members and 1,500 for non-members. Valiente said the proceeds will be given to rehabilitation efforts for victims of super typhoon Yolanda.

Valiente, also a past president of the chamber, is currently the dean of graduate studies of the Cebu Doctors’ University. This is his third book.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 27, 2014.

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