Gesta new CCCI president-A A +A
Sunday, July 15, 2012
PRUDENCIO Gesta, a banker originally from Surigao who has chosen to make Cebu his home, is the new president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI).
Since graduating from college, he has worked with the same bank: the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC). He recounts that in March 1974, RCBC sent a letter to the Surigao registrar to submit 25 names of its top graduates. At the time, he would be graduating in May but had not yet finished college. So the registrar refused to enter his name.
He persisted though and handed his application letter as a walk-in applicant when the RCBC team went to Surigao. Soon a telegram told him he was hired. But would the bank wait until he graduated from college?
Yes, the bank would and so Gesta went to report to Manila on May 20, two days after he finished Bachelor of Science in commerce, major in accounting, cum laude, at the St. Paul University, Surigao.
He learned later that he was hired because of his leadership potential: he had been a supreme student council president and had gotten school awards: gold medal of honor for ROTC, a student leadership award and one of the top ten students award.
Starting as a bookkeeper in the RCBC Surigao branch, he moved up to distributing clerk
and in 1978, was training program branch officer. In the years that followed, he became branch accountant, then branch operation head and finally branch manager, serving in different RCBC branches in Nonoc, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Tacloban, Davao, Mandaue.
In 1994, he became area head for the Central-Eastern Visayas branches. Since then he has been Cebu based, even as he moved farther up the corporate ladder, becoming regional sales manager, Visayas Region, in 2008. In 2010, he became first senior vice-president, deputy group head for Visayas-Mindanao sales, a position he holds up to the present.
Despite his busy schedule, Gesta found time to be active in socio-civic affairs, and served as president of Tacloban Bankers Club in 1986-1987, of the Tacloban Host Lions Club in 1987-1988, and Finex (Financial Executives) Cebu in 2003. Since 2004, he has served the CCCI in various official positions, including vice president for financial and administrative positions. For Gesta, being with CCCI is “payback time to the business community.” He says the chamber has many committees, among the crucial ones of which are those of power, tourism, entrepreneurship and environment which he will oversee more closely. As in previous years, the chamber will undertake trade missions, perhaps to Japan, Australia or Korea, after the chamber’s first choice, China, was scrapped due to the current dispute about the ownership of the Scarborough Shoal.
Being well-traveled, Gesta says his favorite place in the Philippines is Davao, after Surigao and Cebu which he has considered his home since 1994, refusing offers that would take him to Manila. As for destinations abroad, he says he has no favorite because “each place has its own culture, its own style, its own characteristics.”
He explains Cebu is his choice as home because it has an “urban atmosphere that has retained some of its provinciality, for the proximity of golf courses, beaches, malls and the facilities for travel whether to foreign places or just right here in the Philippines: here, you have a choice of taking a plane or a ship or even a bus to take you to neighboring places.”
Asked how he relaxes, Gesta says he plays golf on weekends and adds, “I also go malling with the family and we go to Church on Saturday. Sometimes we go to the beach.
Really, I spend my free time with the family,” meaning with wife Maria Cecilia and children Aldwelle, Avril and Athesa Mae. Basically, Gesta is a simple man, rather low-key, with simple tastes, but with a work ethic and proficiency and loyalty that have taken him to where he is now in his job and leadership qualities that have made him an easy choice to be president of the CCCI.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 16, 2012.