One of the ironies of leading and running an organization like the Mandaue Chamber is that, while observers describe the organization as dynamic and strong, the leaders and insiders themselves seem afflicted with self-doubt.
“Have we made a difference?” That is a constant question.
It may be, however, that these questions do not represent self-doubt at all, but only a healthy need to take stock and plan for the future.
In any case, I stand before you tonight to report how MCCI has faired in the last fiscal year and dare to answer in concrete terms the question: “Have we made a difference? “
Since 2004 when we first revived the Chamber with only 13 members, our membership growth has been climbing steadily with an average growth rate of 26 percent. Today, we are 200 strong with members not only based in Mandaue City but also in Cebu, Talisay, Lapu-Lapu, and even Metro Manila.
In the area of advocacy…
Today, more than ever, we have strengthened public-private partnership with a more dynamic and productive engagement with the local government of Mandaue and the Province of Cebu.
Through our efforts, the City of Mandaue under Mayor Jonas Cortes, was able to convene the Mandaue City Trade and Investment Board whose function, among others is to promote Mandaue City to investors local and foreign, and define incentives and projects for them.
This year, we held initial talks with Architect Felino Palafox to help in the masterplan of Mandaue and identify investment areas. We have also linked the Mandaue LGU with the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) to help them professionalize the bureaucracy through the scorecard system.
Last year, we were able to organize an initial trade mission to Shanghai with 54 delegates including members of partner organizations. We also interacted with ambassadors and envoys from different countries who came to visit Mandaue City and Cebu.
To dramatize our celebration of our 45th year anniversary last year, we rebranded and reshaped Mandaue Business Month to Mandaue Business Movement to give focus to our advocacies on responsible business practices and promote corporate business responsibility. Our events stretched beyond August and brought in some of the country’s biggest names and personalities.
A most significant accomplishment last year was our initiative to bring together all major business and civic groups to take part in our advocacies. Among these groups are the Mandaue JCI, Cebu Business Club, Cebu Leads Foundation, Rotary Club of Cebu, Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Filipino Cebuano Business Club Inc.
You are now looking at pictures of some of our major events during the MBM 2010. We are now back to our month-long celebration of Mandaue Business Month and later in the program, MBM Chair Mr. Stanley Go, will give you a run down of our future events.
45th Founding Anniversary
Another significant milestone last year was our celebration of MCCI’s 45th Founding Anniversary last December. The event gave us the chance to honor and recognize the men and women who started and sustained the journey of the Chamber. We were able to look back with gratitude to their contributions and affirmed our directions as we look into the future.
Obra Negosyo Eskwela
After the celebrations, we buckled down to work and launched another innovative program with the Provincial Government of Cebu under the leadership of Gov. Gwen Garcia – the Obra Negosyo Eskwela Countryside Enterprise Business Upliftment.
A total of ten (10) universities in Cebu & Mandaue participated by fielding their students, mentored by our businessmen from MCCI, to assist micro-entrepreneurs from 16 towns of Cebu in improving their business ventures. The provincial government awarded grants ranging from P25,000 to P200,000 to the winning business plans. MCCI is monitoring the progress of this project and will launch the second season this September.
On this note, I would like to invite our MCCI members to volunteer as mentors in this program as this has a very significant impact on our micro-entrepreneurs in the countryside. It is also a life-changing experience for the students. One student articulated this sentiment and I quote: “Before this program, I never thought that there are people in those isolated places who had dreams. They just needed other people to help them make their dreams a reality.”
In January this year, we held special events such as the Congressional Forum which brought to Cebu the leaders of the Congressional Committee on Ways and Means.
In February we had Views and Prospects, an Economic Forum with Prof. Fajardo of CBC and spiced up with inputs on Feng Shui by Maritess Allen.
Then we had our First Aid and Basic Life Support Course for our member companies. This was followed by our Mandaue Challenge – a Badminton tournament among our members and partners.
Most Outstanding Chamber in Visayas
To cap it all, we were recognized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) as the Most Outstanding Chamber in Visayas for three (3) consecutive years. We now belong to the Hall of Fame and continue to aspire to get the national and international recognition.
Looking back, I can say that the year 2010 was truly a memorable year given its formidable challenges. We survived those challenges and we became stronger. Just as gold is tested in fire, I can confidently say that the Chamber is now stronger and has gained its true value.
All these became possible because of the confidence and trust of the members and sacrifices of the men and women in the MCCI Board who gave their time, talent and treasure to make MCCI a significant organization.
At this point, allow me to recognize and thank the dynamic members of the Board of Trustees: Philip, Wilson, Don, Mico, Girlie, Mike, Glenn, Allan, Brian, Carmel, Marylou, Stanley, and Wesley. Thank you guys, for the courage and fortitude and for the gentle reminders when I get off track.
We asked them to bring their spouses tonight so their partners will know what keeps them late in going home sometimes.
Let me also thank our partner organizations, some of whom are represented here tonight for joining us in our endeavors. There is always strength in numbers and we look forward to having you on board as we continue to journey as a Chamber.
Finally, I thank the Lord, for blessing MCCI with good men and women who sincerely toil in the vineyard to make a difference in the lives of Mandaue City and Cebu as a whole. I pray that he continues to guide and disturb us as we sail beyond safe seas.
Thank you and enjoy the rest of the night!!!