Lack of transparency, bribery in government transactions hamper Cebu competitiveness

Lack of transparency in some government agencies and the practice of informal payments to move business transactions forward pose the biggest threats to Cebu’s competitiveness.

A good number of Cebu enterprises that were the respondents of a survey conducted by Isla Lipana & Co. in collaboration with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) admitted they were asked for gifts and tokens in the course of their dealings with government officials and agencies.

At least 20 percent of those surveyed said they made informal payments within the last 12 months, according to CCCI Trustee Aldie Garcia who revealed the survey results in a press conference shortly before the CCCI General Membership Meeting yesterday, October 29, 2019.


Israel ambassador sees big potential for trade, tourism with Philippines

Israel sees a big potential for stronger trade, tourism, and diplomatic ties with the Philippines, said new Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz.

An important role of government, he added, is to create the conditions for nurturing business and one way to do this is to cultivate good political relations with other nations.

He explained during his courtesy call to the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) that his activities in the Philippines, which involved meeting local executives and business groups, serve to complement the four-day visit of President Rodrigo Duterte in Israel.

Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz
OPPORTUNITIES. Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz talks about trade and tourism opportunities with officers of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) during a courtesy call last October 23. Beside Harpaz is CCCI vice president for external affairs and relations Charles Kenneth Co.


Harpaz said there were special agreements signed between Israel and the Philippines during that visit, including business to business and government to government deals. He mentioned the oil exploration agreement that the Philippine government entered into with an Israeli company.

Israel has a lot to offer the Philippines, from innovations in agriculture and water management to new technology products, the Israeli ambassador also said.

“Your challenge is water management and quality. We can help you with this. Our challenge is not having enough water so we developed new sources. Saving water is also in our DNA,” Mr. Harpaz added, citing that Israel also excels in agriculture. Food security is one area where Israel and the Philippines can work on together.

He said his country also appreciates the role of Filipino caregivers, and the two countries recently inked a deal to regulate their working conditions. It is also looking at opening the hotel industry to Filipino workers, he further said.

Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz
TRADE LINKS. Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz with officials of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


According to Mr. Harpaz, the two countries can also benefit from increased tourism activities, noting that Filipinos do not need a visa to visit Israel. Many Filipinos travel to Israel as part of a pilgrimage tour to the Holy Land.

He also said they’re working on having direct flights between the Philippines and Israel as one way of further boosting tourism, adding he is confident that it will serve to increase visitor arrivals in both countries.

Israel might not manufacture mobile phones but it is responsible for many applications running on these devices. Waze, after all, was created by an Israeli startup, which is also behind other technology products pertaining to travel, transportation, and finance.

The Philippines in general and Cebu in particular can benefit from big companies in Israel outsourcing the manufacture of new products born out of research and development in Israel.

Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz
PRESS CONFERENCE. Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz answers questions of Cebu journalists during a press conference after a courtesy call with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry. With him are Honorary Consul of Israel in Cebu Emily Benedicto-Chioson (standing), his wife Shulamit, and Deputy Chief of Mission Yulia Rachinsky-Spivakov .


CCCI recognized as most outstanding chamber in Visayas

For its key role in accelerating business growth in Cebu, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) was awarded the Most Outstanding Chamber in the Visayas.

The award was given by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) during its 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo (PBC&E) last October 18 at the Manila Hotel.

CCCI outstanding chamber award
OUTSTANDING CHAMBER AWARD. President Rodrigo Duterte, assisted by PCCI Chairman George Barcelon and PCCI President Ma. Alegria Limjoco and other PCCI officers, hand the award for CCCI to President Antonio Chiu.


CCCI was cited for its exemplary leadership and dynamism, strong advocacy program, increased membership base, and effective delivery of services.

The award was handed over by President Rodrigo Duterte, along with PCCI officers.

CCCI special citation
SPECIAL CITATION. Receiving the award are CCCI President Antonio Chiu, Executive Director May Elizabeth Ybañez, and other CCCI staff.


CCCI was also given a special citation to recognize its pioneering efforts in education, training development and workforce capacity building by institutionalizing the establishment of the Assessment, Certification and Accreditation System (ACAS) unit.

The ACAS unit contributes to PCCI’s vision to empower our human resources by providing them with the skills, competencies, and qualifications that will lead to gainful employment or self-employment. (Press Release)

Business Events

CCCI forges partnerships for Cebu Business Month 2018

The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) will celebrate Cebu Business Month 2018 with public and private sector partners.

CBM 2018 is organized by CCCI in partnership with the Cebu Provincial Government, Cebu City Government, and several other partners.

CBM 2018 sponsor Waterfront
SPONSORSHIP. Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino General Manager Anders Hallden (center) during the ceremonial signing of the sponsorship contract for Cebu Business Month 2018. With Hallden are (from left) Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) Executive Director May Ybañez, CCCI President Antonio Chiu, CBM 2018 Chair Benny Que, and CBM 2018 Publicity and Ways and Means Chair Lilu Aliño.

Below is a complete list of CBM 2018 sponsors.

Event Partners

Department of Science and Technology (DOST)
Department of Tourism (DOT)
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)

Omnibus Co-Presenter

Cebu Holdings, Inc./Ayala Center Cebu
PLDT Enterprise/Voyager/Paymaya
Robinsons Land Corporation/Robinsons Galleria Cebu
SM Prime Holdings, Inc.
Unionpay International Southeast Asia
Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino

Omnibus Platinum

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

Omnibus Diamond

Cathay Pacific
Cebu Landmasters, Inc.
F2 Logistics Philippines, Inc.
Golden Prince Hotel and Suites
Lexmark Research and Development Corporation
Oriental Port and Allied Services Corporation
Philippine AirAsia
Taiheiyo Cement Philippines, Inc.
The Insular Life Assurance Company, Ltd.


Treasure Island Industrial Corporation

Prime Partners

Alcordo International, Inc. (Alcordo Advertising)
Businessworld Publishing Corporation
GMA Network, Inc.
Manila Bulletin
Ocean Fast Ferries, Inc. (Oceanjet)
Skycable Pacific ATV

Media Partners

Brigada 93.1 News FM CEBU
Cebu Daily News
Expat Travel Lifestyle Phils.
Graphicstar Imaging Corporation
Greenworld LED Solutions, Inc.
InnoPub Media
Sonshine Radio
Sun.Star Publishing
The Freeman

CBM 2018 Specific Event Sponsors

Aboitiz Power Corp.
Bank of the Philippine Islands
BDO Unibank, Inc.
Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corp.
Cebu Pacific Airlines
CT4 Philippines, Inc.
Eastern Communications
Global Business Power
GT Cosmetics Manufacturing, Inc.
Hyundai Cebu, Inc.
Ng Khai Development Corporation
Oakridge Business Park
Philippine Airlines
Seaoil Philippines
Security Bank Corporation
Tsuneishi Technical Services Philippines

Business Events

CBM 2018 schedule highlights innovations for business

Organized by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Cebu Business Month (CBM) was envisioned as the engine of Cebu’s growth towards global competitiveness.

Now on its 22nd year, CBM 2018 banners the theme Innovate Cebu to underscore the importance of innovation in all aspects of business.

CBM is one of CCCI’s flagship projects. It is held yearly on the month of June.

Below is the full CBM 2018 schedule of activities:

June 1

Grand Opening Salvo
The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu

June 1-3

One Town, One Product Exhibit
Organizer: Department of Trade and Industry
Ayala Center Cebu

June 8

Cebu International Film Festival (Cebu.CIFF) Curtain Raised
Organizer: Cebu.CIFF
SM Seaside City

June 10-12

Lumba’g Laag sa Sugbo: A Race to Cebu’s Hidden Attractions
Organizer: CBM 2018
SM Seaside City to South of Cebu

June 14

Tourism Innovation Forum
Organizer: CBM 2018
Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

June 19-20

Innovation Summit
Organizer: CBM 2018
Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino

June 21

Business-in-Golf Tournament
Organizer: CBM 2018
Alta Vista Golf and Country Club

June 22

MSME Industry Educational Tour
Organizer: CBM 2018
Different Companies

June 23-24

Sugbo Entertainment Expo (SEE) Cebu
Organizer: Enigmaworkz
Robinsons Galleria Cebu

June 29

Grand Chamber Awards and Fellowship Night
Organizer: CBM 2018
Oakridge Pavilion


Consul Antonio Chiu elected new CCCI president

The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) elected a new set of trustees and officials last February 23 at the Summit Galleria Hotel in Cebu City.

Antonio Chiu of Nutrivalue Technologies, Inc., the honorary consul of the Slovak Republic, was elected president for the term March 2018 to February 2019. Chiu thanked the trustees for electing him and pledged to continue making the CCCI relevant to the well-being of Cebu’s business community and the province’s economic growth and development.

Melanie Ng, the immediate past president, said she welcomed the election of Chiu, whom she sees leading the CCCI with the new board to greater achievements.

The new board of trustees was sworn into office by Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice president for the Visayas Samuel Chioson during the joint BOT meeting last February 28 at the Cebu Chamber Center.


The following are the 2018-2019 officials of CCCI.

Board of Trustees for 2018 – 2019

(* newly elected trustees)


  • Charles Kenneth C. Co*, Cebu Steel Corporation
  • Carolyne Lamakang Go*, Magic Melt Foods, Inc.
  • Ronald S. Po*, Fiesta Beverage Corporation
  • Enrison T. Benedicto, Mabuhay Filcement, Inc.
  • Antonio N. Chiu, Nutrivalue Technologies, Inc.


  • Dr. Jose Enrico R. Gandionco*, Cebu Primera Food Industries, Inc.
  • Edward Vincent Onglatco*, Hyundai Cebu, Inc.
  • Melanie C. Ng, Ng Khai Development Corporation
  • Christian T. Paro-an, RC Goldline Sale Shop
  • Robinson Uy, La Nueva Drugstore Chain Inc.


  • Virgilio “Nonoy” Espeleta*, Famcor Franchise Management & Executive Development
  • Wendell D. Gahinhin*, Punongbayan & Araullo
  • Aldie P. Garcia*, Isla Lipana & Co., a PWC member firm
  • Bunny D. Pages*, Pages Holdings, Inc.
  • Fr. Dionisio M. Miranda, SVD, University of San Carlos
  • Benny Y. Que, Golden Prince Hotel and Suites
  • Atty. Thomas A. Riveral, CPA, Oriental Port & Allied Services Corporation


  • Rey Maximo Eleccion, Cebu Bankers Club
  • Robert L. Go*, Philippine Retailers Association-Cebu Chapter, Inc.


  • Michael Cubos*, Performance 360 Global Services


Newly Elected Officers 2018-2019

Antonio N. Chiu – President

Ronald S. Po – Vice President for Finance and Administration Services

Charles Kenneth Co – Vice President for External Affairs & Relations

Virgilio Espeleta – Vice President for Business Development & Management Services

Edward Vincent Onglatco – Vice President for Membership Development

Rey Maximo Eleccion – Treasurer

Atty. Thomas A. Riveral – Board Secretary

Wendell D. Ganhinhin – Assistant Treasure (appointed)

Carolyne Lamakang Go – Assistant Board Secretary (appointed)

Business Feature News

Cebu Landmasters CEO named Entrepreneur of the Year

Jose Soberano III, who steered his homegrown business Cebu Landmasters, Inc. to an initial public offering (IPO) earlier this year, was picked Entrepreneur of the Year during the 2017 Grand Chamber Awards.

Soberano received the award from the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) during the Grand Chamber Awards and Fellowship Night last June 30 at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

The awards night capped the Cebu Business Month 2017 celebration.

Soberano, chairman and chief executive officer of Cebu Landmasters, Inc., left Ayala Land in 2000 to build what is now the top local housing developer in Metro Cebu.

Jose Soberano III
Jose Soberano III speaks during his awarding as the Entrepreneur of the Year during the 2017 Grand Chamber Awards.

Prestigious award

The Entrepreneur of the Year is the most prestigious among the five awards bestowed by the chamber. The other awards are Corporate Social Responsibility Institution, Small Business Entrepreneur, Countryside Entrepreneur, and Young Entrepreneur. The awardees are chosen by the CCCI board of trustees and past presidents.

CCCI President Melanie Ng said Soberano distinguished himself as the only Cebuano entrepreneur to bring his company public.

“Receiving this most prestigious award is thanks to my whole Cebu Landmasters team whom I consider family. They are the main reason why CLI is where it is today: number one in Cebu and soon to be number one in Visayas and Mindanao,” Soberano said in a speech during the awarding

P12 billion expansion

Soberano announced earlier this year a P12 billion expansion in the Visayas and Mindanao to address the need for housing, offices, and commercial spaces. CLI has simultaneous development projects in Cebu, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao for 2017.

Saying he has confidence in the economic prospects of the Visayas and Mindanao, Soberano urged local entrepreneurs to become champions in their turf and, at the same time, leverage opportunities beyond Cebu and the region. (Press Release)

Business News

Cebu business group launches CBM 2017

As a campaign to help bring businesses to the next level, Cebu Business Month (CBM) 2017 has lined up a host of activities that seeks to equip companies with the tools they need for growth.

Melanie Ng, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president, said during the CBM 2017 Grand Opening Salvo last Friday that the month-long event aims to inspire businesses to contribute to the competitive advantage of Cebu in the global economy through development in the areas of entrepreneurship, productivity, and technology.

CBM 2017, which marks the event’s 21st year, carries the theme “Step Up Cebu” for Sustainable Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Productivity for the Upliftment of Cebu.

Cebu Business Month 2017
CEBU BUSINESS MONTH. Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Melanie Ng (4th from left) and Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale (6th from left) flank CCCI brand ambassador Kenneth Cobonpue as they lead CCCI officials during the opening of the annual Cebu Business Month.

Expand business, be next big thing

Charles Kenneth Co, CBM 2017 chair, said the month-long event that serves as the yearly highlight for Cebu business is ready to help entrepreneurs who want to expand their business, tourism stakeholders who are looking to entice more visitors, and startups who dream to become the next big thing.

During the event, Ng also announced the selection of Kenneth Cobonpue as CCCI brand ambassador.

The choice of Cobonpue was in line with the business group’s quest to increase awareness among members, especially millennials, of CCCI’s vision and mission and to have someone represent the best of Cebu with the rest of the world.

Homegrown but global brand

She said the world renowned designer embodies the chamber brand, one that is homegrown but global.

Also during the CBM 2017 Grand Opening Salvo last June 1, business executives unveiled the business group’s priority focus areas of tourism, entrepreneurship, and ICT-BPM.


Cebu Business Month 2016 banners “Digital Cebu;” organizers release app to serve as conference guide

In line with the Cebu Business Month 2016 theme “Digital Cebu,” organizers released an updated version of the Cebu Business Month mobile app.

The app will serve as guide to Cebu’s biggest business event, which is held every June. It will also feature stories and updates about the event in the months leading to it. The app will also include articles about the Cebu business community.

The app will contain an updated listing of events related to CBM 2016. During the CBM events, the app will contain stories, updates, and links to resources related to the talks and conferences. The app has a notifications feature that organizers will use to alert participants about the different CBM events.

Cebu Business Month 2016 app
CONFERENCE GUIDE AND MORE. The Cebu Business Month 2016 app will not only serve as guide during the month-long conference, it will also feature CBM 2016 stories as well as Cebu business updates in the months leading to it.

Cebu Business Month 2016

Cebu Business Month is the flagship project of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI). CBM is organized to help inspire, promote, and grow Cebu business.

CBM 2016 will focus on technology and innovation and carry the theme “Digital Cebu.” CCCI said the event in June seeks to 1) promote the culture of innovation; 2) grow businesses through digital strategies and business analytics; 3) explore new technologies to upgrade business; 4) enhance governance through digital innovation; and 5) leverage digital technology.

Digital Cebu

“CBM 2016 is all about innovation and digital technologies. Digital Cebu is a statement of fact: Cebu is at the forefront of using technology to boost business. We are among the top locations for ICT and BPM companies. But we should not be complacent. Digital Cebu is also a rallying call: We need to harness digital technologies to boost our business and keep our edge,” said CBM 2016 chairperson Christian Paro-an.

The CBM 2016 app is now available for Android from the Google Play Store. The iOS version is still undergoing review prior to listing on the App Store. The app is developed and maintained by Cebu-based new media company InnoPub Media. (Press Release)

Business Events Food

From Magellan’s stew to tableya ice cream, Feria reimagines Cebu street food for Grand Chamber Awards

Balbacua turns into slow cooked oxtail stew topped with ginger flakes, dinuguan comes in a quiche topped with chicharon and crispy kangkong, while paella is wrapped in palm leaves shaped into a diamond container that Cebuanos call puso.

If you’re wondering what Cebu’s comfort or street food would be like turned into fine dining fare, then Feria Restaurant at Radisson Blu Cebu has the answer for you.

Feria provided a preview of the four-course dinner menu it will serve during the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) Grand Chamber Awards and Fellowship Night that will be held at the hotel’s Sta. Maria Grand Ballroom this June 30. The awards is one of the highlights of the ongoing Cebu Business Month (CMB) 2015 celebration.

Grand Chamber Awards
MAIN COURSE. The main dish is a selection of all-time Cebuano favorites: adobo, pork, chicken and chorizo barbecues, crispy pork belly arranged around the puso paella as centerpiece.

Radisson Blu Cebu director for sales and marketing Ann Olalo said CCCI asked for a different take on Cebuano cuisine to stay true to the CBM 2015 theme of a “Glocalized Cebu.”

In “Glocalized Cebu”, CCCI enjoins Cebu establishments to capitalize on local strengths as they compete in a global marketplace, said CBM 2015 overall chair Francis Dy.

Awards dinner

Rising to the challenge, Feria executive chef Roberto Kunitz and his culinary team went out and sampled Cebu street food to determine the taste of original Cebuano fare.

“Cebu is a melting pot of culture, flavor, colors and different colonial influences. Most of the Cebu dishes we tasted were flavorful and urban; it was difficult to combine all those in a plated dinner,” added Kunitz, citing he and his team came up with dishes that are local but of modern approach.

Kunitz’s 4-course menu, presented to CBM and Grand Chamber Awards organizers last week, included appetizers, soup, a main course, and dessert.

Grand Chamber Awards
STARTERS. The Island Platter contains the colorful fare of the island’s bounty.

The feast begins with starters called the Island Platter and it contains the colorful fare of the island’s bounty. It’s a full plate of kinilaw served in fish skin tortilla, sous vide pumpkin marinated in shrimp paste and coconut milk, dried fish arranged on fish bone, pork fois poached in extra virgin coconut oil, pork blood quiche with cured pork belly and crispy kangkong, and fresh herb salad with edible flowers on the side.

Magellan’s Stew is balbacua with a twist, cooked slow the traditional way but with oxtail dumpling topped with ginger flakes.

The main dish is a selection of all-time Cebuano favorites: adobo, pork, chicken and chorizo barbecues, crispy pork belly arranged around the puso paella as centerpiece.

The 4-course menu ends on a sweet note with local tablea ice cream on a rice cake (bibingka) bed and topped with diced mango, shredded buko and banana chips. Dessert is fittingly served on a coconut shell.

Grand Chamber Awards food
BALBACUA WITH A TWIST. Magellan’s Stew is balbacua with a twist, cooked slow the traditional way but with oxtail dumpling topped with ginger flakes.

Four Fs

Food is one of the four Fs that will be the highlight of the Grand Chamber Awards, said awards committee chair Beverly Dayanan. The other three are Fashion, Furniture, and Fabulous Prizes.

Cebu is acknowledged as the Furniture Capital of the Philippines and those who attend the awards night will be treated to a showcase of furniture and design, she added.

According to Dayanan, top manufacturers and designers in Cebu will be tasked with providing the dinner furniture and designing the table settings. These include Finale Furniture and Home Accessories and Luisa Home.

There will also be a runway show of modern Filipiniana fashion by such designers as Philip Rodriguez, Cary Santiago, Oj Hofer, Edwin Alba, Dino Lloren, Philip Tampus, Jun Escario, Ditas Rodriguez, Protacio, Albert Arriba, and Arcy Gayatin.

Tablea Ice Cream
TABLEA ICE CREAM. The 4-course menu ends on a sweet note with local tablea ice cream on a rice cake (bibingka) bed and topped with diced mango, shredded buko and banana chips.

At the same time, attendees will enjoy the prizes to be raffled off during the awards night, said Dayanan. One major prize will be a P750,000 discount to a condominium unit at the Bamboo Bay Community in Mandaue City.

A ticket to the Grand Chamber Awards costs P1,250 and can be bought at the CCCI office or at Radisson Blu Cebu.

CCCI will recognize outstanding businessmen and companies and give out Special Citations and awards for Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Countryside Entrepreneur of the Year, Small Business Entrepreneur, CSR Institution of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year during the Grand Chamber Awards.

Business News

‘We raised bar for Cebu entrepreneurs,’ CCCI president cites successes, business development activities in report

A year into her term as president, Ma. Teresa B. Chan reported that the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) improved the productivity and broadened business ties of Cebu’s entrepreneurs.

Cebu’s leading business organization conducted seminars, workshops, and trainings on entrepreneurship, human resource development, financial management, and other topics crucial to business growth and development from the start of her term on May 16, 2014, Chan said.

“In promoting the continuous improvement of productivity, quality standards and efficiency, we raised the bar for Cebu’s entrepreneurs,” she cited, adding that CCCI conducted year-round activities in collaboration with other groups to provide companies with the necessary skills to remain competitive in a global business environment.

Tess Chan CCCI
RAISING THE BAR. Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Tess Chan says that “in promoting the continuous improvement of productivity, quality standards and efficiency, we raised the bar for Cebu’s entrepreneurs.”

She added during the CCCI General Membership Meeting and Induction of New Officers and Trustees on May 15, 2015 that they also organized inbound and outbound trade missions to expand the network of member companies.

As a solution to the challenge hounding micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that is lack of credit access, Chan said that CCCI signed an agreement with the Small Business Corporation and Philexport Cebu to facilitate developmental financing for MSMEs.

Business activities

One major achievement of CCCI in 2014 was the launch of the Cebu Food Consultancy Group that’s tasked to assist the food sector meet international safety standards so it can participate in the global market.

The group was formed in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) 7 and AFOS Foundation, Chan said in her report.

CCCI also entered into partnerships with such groups as the Cebu Bankers Club, Federation of Countryside Rural Banks, SGV and Company, and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to strengthen the capabilities of micro, small and cottage industries.

The chamber also continues to offer administrative aid to businesses, such as exporters who need help in authenticating their export documents.

According to Chan, the group also serves as forum for gathering business consensus on matters with economic significance. These include such concerns as identifying the necessary road and infrastructure projects in support of industries that act as economic drivers of Cebu and other Central Visayas provinces.

The Coordinating Roads and Infrastructure Investment for Development (CR+ID), a project funded by the Australian Government through the Asia Foundation, is one example of such mechanism, she said.

Broader trade links

To widen the market and network of CCCI members, Chan said they co-hosted an international event, organized a trade mission to Malaysia, and facilitated forums and sessions with trade delegations from different countries that visited Cebu.

CCCI partnered with the Provincial Government in hosting the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders or OCEAN event in May 2014, added Chan. It also acted as the liaison of the United Nations, International Labor Organization, and AFOS Foundation in bringing about the early recovery and rehabilitation of livelihood and commerce in Northern Cebu, which sustained heavy damages from super typhoon Yolanda.

The trade mission to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia from September 17-20, 2014 resulted in broader trade links between Cebu and Malaysia and resulted in CCCI signing a sister chamber agreement with the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Sabah Branch as well as the Federation of Malaysian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

At the same time, CCCI held business matching sessions with trade delegations from Nigeria, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, Canada, Israel, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

Chan said they expect delegates from the trade, services, manufacturing, ICT and other sectors of Japan to arrive in Cebu this June 1.

Multi-sectoral issues

CCCI continued to highlight national, regional, and local issues through position papers, public hearings, and other activities that put the spotlight on such concerns as importation requirements, port and airport congestion, waste management, flooding, and power shortage.

The chamber, Chan said, was instrumental in bringing about a solution to the congestion in Cebu ports. The problem, caused by overstaying and seized cargoes, was compounded by confusing and new documentary requirements from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Bureau of Customs (BOC), and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), she added.

After almost a year of dialog and meetings and with the help of various stakeholders, all parties were able to come to an agreement on surcharges and storage fees that eliminated the congestion before the issue can become a pilot case for the Ombudsman Visayas.

The business group, at the same time, lent its expertise to other chambers. It formed the CCCI Bantayan Chapter to facilitate recovery in the Yolanda-stricken island and guided business organizations in Bohol, Ormoc, Siquijor, Dumaguete, Negros Occidental, and Bislig.

Cebu Business Month

Last year’s Cebu Business Month (CBM), chaired by trustee Felix Tiukinhoy, Jr., focused on preparing enterprises for ASEAN 2015.

CBM 2015, on the other hand, carries the theme “Glocalized Cebu” and is aimed at teaching companies to focus on local strengths to compete in the global marketplace.

As CCCI enters its 112th year, it will continue to focus being a catalyst for Cebu’s economic development, Chan added.

“We all have an enormous responsibility to continue the very challenging process of creating more solid strategic plans and ensure that it be inclusive, not only of everyone’s thoughts and opinions but that the benefits to be reaped would also be encompassing,” she further said.


Cebu News Digest Jan. 10, 2014: Leyte storm survivors return to dance Sinulog; Mayor Rama threatens to sue City Council for economic sabotage

The Sinulog grand parade will focus on its religious roots as it marks its 35th year this 2015. The festival was officially launched yesterday with a parade that started at the Basilica del Sto. Niño. Previous winner and crowd favorite Tribu Lingganay from Alang-Alang town in Leyte province will join the grand parade again after skipping last year when it was devastated by Super typhoon Yolanda.

Meanwhile, sparks flew at City Hall with Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama threatening to sue the City Council over the deferral of the conversion of City Hall’s foreign loan for the South Road Properties (SRP) into a domestic one.

CEBU NEWS. Today's front pages of Sun.Star Cebu and Cebu Daily News.
CEBU NEWS. Today’s front pages of Sun.Star Cebu and Cebu Daily News.

Here are the top Cebu news stories today:

Sinulog grand parade to focus on religiosity

The Sinulog Grand Parade will highlight the festival’s religious significance as it marks the 35th year. This year’s theme is “Sto. Nino: Hope of the People” and organizers want to emphasize the religious component of the festival.

The festival was launched yesterday with a parade from the Basilica del Sto. Niño to Fuente Osmeña and the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).

“This is not just a cultural and historical event, this is a religious happening.” — Sinulog Foundation Inc. executive director Ricky Ballesteros.

Ballesteros said the festival is held on the 450th year commemoration of the finding of the Santo Niño de Cebu image and the 50th anniversary of the designation of what was then the San Agustin Church as Basilica Minore.

The stage at the CCSC, where contingents will perform their respective routines, is also patterned after the façade of the Basilica del Sto. Niño.

RELIGIOUS FOCUS. This year’s Sinulog Grand Parade will highlight the religious foundation of the festival.
RELIGIOUS FOCUS. This year’s Sinulog Grand Parade will highlight the religious foundation of the festival.

Today: Sinulog Sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan

Different schools will perform during this afternoon’s Sinulog sa Kabataan
1 PM Parade of Participants, Capitol Site to CCSC
2 PM Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan at the CCSC

Tribu Lingganay returns to perform after surviving storm

Tribu Lingganay from Alang-Alang town in Leyte will be returning this Sinulog after skipping last year when Super typhoon Yolanda devastated their community.
Alang-Alang won in the free interpretation category in 2012 and 2013.

Cebu Daily News reported that 600 performers have been practicing since October for the Sinulog, even as typhoons Quennie, Ruby, and Seniang hit their community.

“We do not want to fail the Sinulog spectators. We wanted to make sure that we will be giving a good show.” — Alang-Alang contingent coordinator Kent Jefflord Guillermo.

Get Sinulog 2015 Guide on your phone!

Download the guide here.

DPWH working 24-hours a day to finish steel bridge in Sibonga

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) installed yesterday the steel decks of a temporary bridge in Barangay Dumlog in Sibonga. DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas said the installation might take five days but his agency will try to do it faster.

DPWH hopes the steel bridge will be passable before the important Sinulog events: the religious procession on January 17 and the grand parade on January 18.

The 18-meter approach to the Dumlog bridge, which links Argao and Sibonga, collapsed during a flash flood at the height of tropical storm Seniang.

The temporary bridge will have the 20 tons of capacity, the same capacity as the original span.

HONORING THE POPE. Inmates of the Cebu provincial jail dance to honor and thank Pope Francis for visiting the Philippines. (Photo from the Cebu Provincial Government Facebook Page)
HONORING THE POPE. Inmates of the Cebu provincial jail dance to honor and thank Pope Francis for visiting the Philippines. (Photo from the Cebu Provincial Government Facebook Page)

Cebu inmates dance to thank Pope Francis

More than 2,000 inmates at the Cebu provincial jail danced yesterday as prayer offering and thanksgiving to Pope Francis for visiting the Philippines. They danced to a Gregorian chant and the song “We Are All God’s Children.”

Mayor Rama threatens to sue City Council for “economic sabotage” over conversion of SRP loan

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama criticized the Cebu City Council for asking him to submit a request for the passage of a resolution to authorize the mayor to negotiate with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for the conversion of City Hall’s foreign loan for the South Road Properties (SRP) into a domestic one.

Rama said the councilors already knew about his plan and there was no need for him to file a request.

“Kahibaw na man sila ana. Kung wa sila kahibaw ana, buta sila. Kung wa sila kadungog, bungol sila. Kung wa sila kahibaw, insignificant sila. Unsa man ng klaseha uy? Dapat di na sila maghuwat. Dapat motabang sila sa mayor.” — Mayor Michael Rama.

In 1995, JICA lent Cebu City 12.315 billion yen to develop the 300-hectare SRP. Rama wants to convert the yen loan into a domestic one to save on interest and foreign exchange losses.

NO NEED FOR REQUEST. Mayor Michael Rama says the councilors already knew about his plan and there is no need for him to file a request. (Photo from Mayor Rama's Facebook Page)
NO NEED FOR REQUEST. Mayor Michael Rama says the councilors already knew about his plan and there is no need for him to file a request. (Photo from Mayor Rama’s Facebook Page)

“He wants to keep on filing, then let him file a case. He can do what he wants. Bahala siya.” — Councilor Margarita Osmeña

Councilor Sisinio Andales says a request from the mayor is required as part of protocol and procedure. Osmeña and Andales said they are in favor of restructuring City Hall has to follow procedures for transparency and accountability, The Freeman reported.

“But if he’s going to sue us. He can file case or whatever he likes. We are willing to face him. But as I said, we cannot take a shortcut, rather follow what is proper.” — Councilor Sisinio Andales as quoted by The Freeman

Other top Cebu stories:

Cebu Business News

Local taxi drivers making more money from cab booking apps

From just P500 a day as take home pay, Ronel Diapana now earns P900 after signing up with GrabTaxi, an app that allows commuters to hail taxis using their phones. Diapana told The Freeman that with the app, he can book 5 to 10 passengers during rush hours. The difficulty in getting a cab during rush hours is pushing more commuters to use apps like GrabTaxi.


“In a way, nakatabang gyud ni siya sa transportation industry — taxi industry. Karon, di na ang drivers mangita og passengers, ang passengers na maoy mangita sa drivers. The drivers no longer have to go around to find passengers.” — Raymond Dejan, GrabTaxi Cebu sales and operations manager

“These groups will be an extension of CCCI in the far-flung areas in Cebu. We are going to help them become legitimate and advocacy-driven business groups and not just a mere social club.” — CCCI president Ma. Teresa Chan