New leaders must focus on infra

By: Vanessa Claire Lucero March 06,2016 - 11:00 PM

CBM LAUNCHING/MAY 9, 2014: Ma. Teresa B. Chan, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president deliver her welcome message during the Launching of 2014 Cebu Business Month in Marco Polo Hotel.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)


Infrastructure development and telecommunications should be the focus of the next administration, according to business leaders in Cebu.

They are also looking for honesty, transparency, decisiveness and the willpower to effect change as traits that government leaders should possess.

Candidates running for local and national positions should  fulfill their campaign promises, implement their platforms and work for the common good.

“Tanan ilang mga plataporma sakto man (All of their platforms are right). All of the platforms are very good. The presidentiables will promise you the world, but I just hope whoever wins will do what is best for the electorate,”  said Philip Tan, chief executive officer (CEO) of WM Global Holdings Inc. and past president of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI).


Business leaders, however, admitted that doing business in the country has become easier and that there is improved international business relations, making it easier to do business with foreign companies.

“The international relationships started from the perception that the president is honest and credible. We businessmen want a continuity in this,” said Teresa Chan, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI).

She said efforts of the Aquino administration to curb corruption and bureaucracy have contributed greatly to the improvement of the business climate in the country, as well as locally.

Porferio Montesclaros, a director of the Mactan Export Processing Zone Chamber of Exporters and Manufacturers (MEPZCEM), said it is now easier to do business in Lapu-Lapu City.

“Mas professional na ang pagpadagan diri (Things are more professionally run here). Business permits now are very orderly. You can get them in one day, compared to many years back when it was very chaotic over a longer time,” he said, citing that reduced corruption helped push the improvements in the city.

"TO GO WITH AILEEN'S STORY"/JUNE 7, 2013: Mr. Philip Tan, president Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industries (MCCI) discusses his experiences on a Cebu Pacific Plane services.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)



There is a desire among businessmen for the next administration to improve the continued ease of doing business in Cebu, as well as intensify anti-corruption and anti-bureaucracy drives.

“Hindi pwede ang known for being corrupt ang magiging presidente ng Pilipinas o leader ng Cebu (Someone who is known as corrupt should not become the president of the Philippines or a leader of Cebu),” said  Chan.

On the other hand, Tan said business policies should not be changed at the whim of politicians who are in power.

“We don’t like the business atmosphere to change because otherwise, businessmen will become confused,” Tan said.

“The good policies now should not be changed. Sometimes some politicians change policies because they are very conscious of who gets the credit. Irregardless of whose policy it is, kung dili gani kinahanglan ibag-o ayaw na (if it doesn’t need to be changed then don’t),”  he added.


Tan said the next administration should focus on infrastructure development and telecommunications.

“If the infrastructure is not in place in the next five years, we will be worse than Manila,  even if we solve the (Mandaue-Mactan) bridge problem. The traffic is getting worse with or without that bridge, and it is affecting not only the business sector but also the general public,” he said.

“Our infrastructure should be growing alongside Cebu’s GDP (gross domestic product) growth,”  he added.

He noted that the increase in direct flights coming to Cebu and improvements done at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) are a welcome development, but without the proper infrastructure in place these developments would be stunted.


Businessmen strongly believe that telecommunications in particular, has often been ignored by the government.

Montesclaros said that slow connectivity  affects business operations and further increases  operation costs.

“Many operations and businesses now are Internet-based, but how can we work properly if our connectivity is very slow?” he said.


While Cebu business leaders admitted that they may have personal preferences as to whom they would like to sit in power, this would not matter in the grand scheme of things, as long as whoever sits in power has the qualities they are looking for, and is willing to cooperate with the private sector.

Tan said businessmen can always just adjust to whoever will be elected in the coming elections as new national and local leaders.

Business leaders assured that regardless of who will take the helm of government,  they are ready to give their cooperation. But at the same time, they are also pushing for the institutionalization of private and public partnership and cooperation.

“It is time we should all unite that we can offer our services, as members of the private sector, to the government. We have the skills and knowledge and expertise that governments sometimes do not have. There should therefore be protocols and procedures on how the government can easily or readily ask help from us,” said Tan.

The CCCI had earlier signed a Memorandum Of Agreement with the Cebu City government to formalize its cooperation and partnership.

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TAGS: Elections, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry
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