Espina: Of leaders and men

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Monday, February 24, 2014


THE Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) had its Centennial + 10 Legacy Awards chaired by past president Geronimo Sta. Ana; the TOBYL (The Outstanding Business Young Leaders) chaired by past president, Atty. Anastacio Muntuerto Jr.; and launching of the CCCI Centennial Hymn chaired by the writer. The over-all Centennial Chair is past president Francis Monera. It is time to capture CCCI’s significant moments in my CCCI diary.

My exposure to CCCI started during the active involvement of my spouse, Sonny (he was vice president or VP for several terms), during the stewardship of Ambassador Francisco Benedicto, Dr. Norberto Quisumbing Jr., Raul del Mar, Philip Tionko and Hernando Streegan. With more than three decades of my involvement with CCCI, I witnessed the dedication of past presidents, trustees and members: past presidents Danilo Deen, Felipe Tionko, Geronimo Sta. Ana, Agustin Climaco, Hernando Streegan, Efren Valiente, Anastacio Muntuerto Jr., Sabino Dapat, Joe T. Ng, Carlos Co, Robert Go, Francis Monera, Edward Gaisano, Samuel Chioson, Prudencio Gesta, and currently, Lito Maderazo (though I hardly had the chance to work with him fully).

As Shakespeare said, “Men are men, but leaders should be made of sterner stuff” and if I may add, imbued with respectability, integrity, and kindness. During my term as secretary, VP-membership, then external affairs, Muntuerto Jr., and Sta. Ana, made an impact in my life because of their sincerity and professionalism, handling events with effective team consultation and respect for their peers. I felt this all the way! Sonny singled out Dr. Quisumbing and Hernan Streegan (and, for me, also Monera and Chioson) for their sustained vision of leadership. Ambassador Benedicto and Rep. del Mar have always been avid supporters.

My stint as Tourism, Grand Chamber Awards and Cebu Business Month (CBM) chairperson, plus travel missions, for more than a decade were successful with the “unconditional support” of Chioson, Gaisano, Ng and Gesta. But Carlos Co has become a dear friend, more than just a compassionate president. One can also rely on Efren Valiente, Danny Deen and Robert Go. In my long years as tourism chairperson of CBM, the contributions of CCCI members Jay Aldeguer (my icon), Tess Chan, Rod Tanedo, Ted Locson, Felix Taguiam, Dennis Wong, Jhong Fernandez, Jj Neri, Boni Sia, Carmel Salvador, Lito Fruelda, Bunny Pages, Melanie Ng, Edwin Ortiz, Hans Hauri, Lita Urbina, Stella Bernabe, Aida Uy, Cherry Callelero, Francis Dy, Mike Basubas, Bing Avila, and countless media, city and Provincial government (specifically, tourism chairperson Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale) , local government units, stakeholders and hotel, airline, travel partners, to name a few, were helpful. Likewise, few worthy partners appear in my diary: Dawnie Roa, Nelia Neri, Bobby Joseph, Anita Sanchez, Mayen Tan, Paul Loo, Ana Quisumbing, Marissa Nallana, Grace Paulino, Bess Francia, Bobit and Jessica Avila, Cecil Saa, Mary Sy, Ramon Sebastian, Joseph Gaisano, Eking, Grand and Enrison Benedicto, Jenny Franco, Ana Olalo, Ricky Tio, Cherry Callelero, Alice Woolbright, Lucille Colina, Cinbeth Orellano, Junjet Primor, Chris Lebumfacil, Tata Sy, Armi Garcia, Marget Villarica, Connie Cimafranca, and the list continues.

These thoughts are based on my sole experiences and perceptions; others may have their own observations. For instance, students from Turismo Sugbu (12 schools) involved in many CCCI projects, loved the appreciative gestures of Gesta, Tess Chan, Lita Urbina, and the CCCI tourism staff led by Ann Cabigas. In some random conversations, a few media colleagues believe Monera and Aldeguer demonstrated sterling long-term initiatives; Chioson, for his travel and investment projects.

We pray for CCCI’s continuous leadership in business, tempered with God-inspired humanistic approach for business growth and community service. We owe everything for CCCI’s strong membership. Let no one stain its inspiring history.

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

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