WEF to hold summit in Cebu

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Monday, March 31, 2014


THE World Economic Forum (WEF) community in the Philippines yesterday announced they will be hosting a three-day summit in Cebu next month called the Open Collaboration with East Asia New Champions (Ocean), an extension of the WEF East Asia Regional Summit 2014 in Manila.

Ocean 2014 Summit chairman Winston Damarillo said the event aims to engage global and local Filipino “change-makers” to come up with significant contribution to social and economic progress through networking and dialogue.

“We will be bringing in the important conversation of the WEF and share it directly to the community,” said Damarillo.

The Ocean 2014 Summit will be held at Movenpick Resort and Spa in Mactan, Cebu on May 23 to 25. More than 200 leaders from the government, business, academe, arts and culture will share strategies and solutions on pressing issues to attain a collaborative action on a national level.

Damarillo, who is a Young Global Leader (YGL) and active participant of the WEF said this is the first time the event is held in the region and the first time the WEF community reached out to the local government unit and local business chambers in holding the summit.

More than the talk on specific issues, Damarillo said the focus of the summit is to “get something done” as the discussions might involve the creation of new laws or change of policies.

Innovation focus

The area of focus is innovation. He said the Ocean summit aims to develop a framework for creating Innovation Zones that would promote a new class of businesses.

“As the country becomes more prosperous it is so important that wealth is distributed to as many people as possible and the best way to do that is through entrepreneurship and the best way to help is design innovation zones,” he said.

Damarillo described Innovations Zones as similar to Peza that gives special treatment to small businesses to make them globally competitive. He said these zones will build on best practices and will encourage innovation since these are designed for start-ups and entrepreneurs working on high-risk and high-reward ventures.

There will be series of hackathons in various areas such as in performing arts, social media and technology, Damarillo said. Representatives from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Georgetown University along with the country’s top universities have also committed to participate in the sessions at the summit.

Karen Davila, Ocean 2014 Summit co-chair and YGL said they picked Cebu as the host destination to help highlight the province’s potential as a tourism and investment destination.

“Cebu should be showcased to the world. We believe that it should be part in the WEF Summit,” said Davila, an ABS-CBN broadcast journalist. She said there will be sessions that will highlight the strength of Cebu, not only its beaches but also its abundance of young entrepreneurs and talent pool who are well-versed in IT and outsourcing.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said he is pleased that the organizers have picked Cebu as this will put the province in the investor radar in Asia and in the world.

For the first time, the WEF East Asia Regional Summit will be held in Manila, Philippines from May 21 to 23. WEF is a Geneva-based non-profit organization established in 1971 that is widely known of its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

PH growth

The WEF will showcase the Philippines’ growth story, being an emerging economy and one of the best performing economies in the region. The International Monetary Fund projected the country to grow by 6.5 percent while Standard and Poor’s raised its growth projection to 6.6 percent this year.

The upcoming summit will also discuss issues related to the Asean 2015 integration, which will allow easier movement of people, investments, goods and services within the region.

On top of the summit, the WEF community is also establishing a Global Shapers Hub in Cebu, which will be launched by the middle of April.

According to the organization’s website the Global Shapers Community is a network of hubs developed and led by young people who are exceptional in their potential, their achievements and their drive to make a contribution to their communities.

Founding curator of Global Shapers Cebu Hub and president of The Islands Group Jonathan Jay Aldeguer said at least nine young Cebuano leaders aged 20 to 30 years old will make up the core group of the Cebu hub.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 01, 2014.

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