Contributors to Cebu growth honored

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014


NINE organizations and one individual were honored Friday for their contributions to the growth of Cebu’s economy.

The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), in celebration of Cebu Business Month, said the awardees have been instrumental to the success Cebu has experienced in the last 20 years.

Awarded were Timex Philippines, Norwegian Ship-Owners Association, Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), Hotels Resorts and Restaurants Association of Cebu (HRRAC), European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines-Cebu external affairs vice president Henry Schumacher, Fairchild Semiconductor Philippines Inc., Cebu Mitsumi Inc., Ayala Group of Companies and the Aboitiz Group of Companies.

CCCI president Ma. Teresa Chan thanked the institutions that have been in Cebu all these years, saying they have helped drive Cebu’s economy and bring it to what it is today.

Innovation

Event chairperson Sabino Dapat said the awardees have brought Cebu to the world by being champions of innovation, quality, corporate social responsibility (CSR), care of environment and community development in their areas of business.

Timex was identified as the pioneering locator at the Mactan Export Processing Zone manufacturing highly automated watches. The plant contributes P1 billion to Cebu annually and employs some 5,000 workers. Dapat said that aside from having sold 500 million watches in 100 countries, the company also promotes rural and urban environmental management and community development as part of its CSR initiatives in collaboration with government agencies and non-government organizations.

Dapat lauded the efforts of the Norwegian Ship-Owners Association in making Cebu home of many successful maritime officers. He credited the group for the human development of thousands of Filipino seafarers, citing 25,000 of them working aboard Norwegian-controlled ships. The group, he said, is involved in developing the training programs of maritime schools.

The Jica has been instrumental in the development of many of Cebu’s important infrastructure projects and is currently supporting the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB) in undertaking a roadmap study for Cebu.

The HRRAC’s role in the integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is considered crucial and Dapat is confident they are equal to the task. He said the HRRAC has been at the forefront of Cebu’s tourism and that the province owes the group for its efforts.

The only individual to be recognized, Schumacher is considered instrumental in providing critical support programs for small and medium enterprises, allowing them to explore the European markets and organizing trade missions to countries like France, Brazil and Russia. Such programs, he said, have greatly helped Cebu’s furniture, fashion accessories, home furnishings and food industries gain ground. He added that Schumacher also introduced programs to link industries with the academe to let them collaborate with each other and allowed European companies to see Cebu as an investment destination.

Calls for help
Fairchild Semiconductors started out as a facility for low cost products but later developed high value items. Aside from just manufacturing, Dapat said the company has shown benevolence in responding to calls for help in times of disaster.

The Danao-based Cebu Mitsumi Inc. started as a single building in 1989. It currently has 11 production facilities with a wide range of products exported to Hong Kong, Japan, China, the United States, Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea and Europe. The company is expected to earn $90 billion this year. It is considered a top employer, with 21,000 workers, having paid P31.32 billion in wages since 1993.

The establishment of Tsuneishi Heavy Industries has turned Cebu into the fourth largest shipbuilder in the world. Since its partnership with the Aboitiz Group in 1994, it has launched 185 ships from its facility in Balamban town.

The Ayala Group has been recognized for investing over P1 billion in Cebu, most notably at the Cebu Business Park and Cebu IT Park, which host multinational companies running business process outsourcing and IT-enabled services. Dapat said this has brought “significant wealth” to the thousands employed in the sector and those indirectly affected.

Regarding the Aboitiz Group, Dapat said the homegrown conglomerate has been active in developing Cebu through their different businesses.

The awards were presented to representatives by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III.

On behalf of the awardees, Jaime Jose Aboitiz, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Aboitiz Power Distribution, thanked the chamber for the honor, saying the Aboitiz Group has been a partner of the CCCI for four generations.

He also lauded fellow awardees, saying they were all household names, becoming part of Cebu’s “remarkable” growth and that they are all looking forward to what Cebu has offer when integration comes.

He believes the success of Cebu when the economy is integrated depends largely on the preparedness of local establishments.

For the Aboitiz Group, Aboitiz said they find the current situation “a highly favorable setup” for them. To prepare for integration, he said they are strengthening their corporate governance and establishing their presence in areas overseas by opening their first overseas location in Jakarta and acquiring a stake in a Vietnamese firm.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 25, 2014.

Business

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