Caesar Atienza

Consultant

THEE Sun.Star Economic Forum, held last July 22 with the theme of “Opportunities for SMEs in Community-Based Tourism and IT-Enabled Industries,” had agreed on an advocacy agenda and action plan that will pursue the course of action that has resulted from discussions held at the Forum.

Common Database on Cebu

The Sun.Star Economic Forum, recognizing the need for up-to-date and relevant information on the socio-economic situation in Cebu, had agreed that a database that will compile and make available such information to the communities it serve, especially the business community, be pursued.

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In this regard, Sun.Star, together with other stakeholders in the community, shall work toward the establishment of the Cebu Information Bureau (CIB), a common database on socio-economic indicators on Cebu. In doing so, Sun.Star will continue

consultations with relevant providers and users of information on Cebu, and collectively or bilaterally, enter into agreement with them in establishing and ensuring the sustainability of the CIB.

Community-Based Tourism

The SEF agreed that Community-Based Tourism (CBT) has brought the benefits of development to communities in the countryside by providing income opportunities that generate economic growth and uplift the living conditions of people in these communities. The SEF recognized the valuable role that the Provincial Government has played in bringing CBT to its municipalities, particularly through its Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbo Program.

In this regard, the SEF, with other stakeholders in the community, shall work towards building on the achievements of the Suroy-Suroy program of the Provincial Government by advocating for the development and promotion of the current destinations of the Program into thematic destinations, in cooperation with local communities, the local government units through the League of Municipal Mayors, the provincial government, the private sector, national government agencies and official development assistance organizations.

Sun.Star shall also make available its website (www.sunstar.com.ph) as a portal for disseminating information on tourism destinations and attractions in the province of Cebu to its 60 million a month international and local readers.

IT-Enabled Services (ITeS)

The SEF noted the many opportunities available to SMEs in IT-Enabled Services/Industries (ITeS). The SEF also noted, however, that over 90 percent of companies in the industry are of foreign origin.

In this regard, the SEF agreed to work with other stakeholders in encouraging the establishment of an institution (or institutions) that will foster the development of local SMEs in IT Enabled-Services (Smites).

For its part, Sun.Star will enter into agreement with the Bureau of Export Trade Promotion (BETP) to make available its network and website as means for disseminating trade and investment opportunities in the ITeS, as well as in other industries, to SMEs in the communities it serve.