15th Mindanao Business Conference begins today
text HADER GLANG
The 15th Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon) started here Thursday with a focus on key economic, development, and business issues that Mindanao faces, and the many opportunities for doing business in the region among other issues.
Hundreds of delegates, including investors and partners from BIMP East ASEAN neighbors, China, Italy, Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, and United States are attending the confab, which also discuss Mindanao’s mining prospects, the region tourism and ICT infrastructure challenges.
Hosted by the Mindanao Business Council, the government of Zamboanga City, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc., among others, the meeting is dubbed “Mindanao—The Best of the Philippines.”
The conference at the Garden Orchid Hotel will run until Saturday.
The three-day conference will look at where Mindanao is now, the socio-economic gains the region has achieved over the years, and how they can be fostered and enhanced further.
Local entrepreneurs will also have the chance to showcase their products to both local and international buyers. Small and medium enterprises in the region are expected to tap new markets for their products, organizers of the event said.
Activities lined up include business summit, plenary sessions, special tours, a golf invitational friendship tournament, fellowship, and trade exposition featuring the winning products of Mindanao and the Zamboanga Peninsula.
Sessions will focus on investing in Mindanao, the region’s mining prospects, its tourism, mineral development and economy, ICT infrastructure challenges, business climate, and business prospects for off-grip areas in the region.
“We are showcasing investment, tourism opportunities as well as our products and services as well. So this is really an opportunity for us to tell the national government about our policy advocacies and to also showcase to the rest of the world and the rest of the Philippines what we can do in Zamboanga,” said Romeo Serra, MinBizCon chairman.
Five major concerns—employment, mining, shipping, power and e-services—have been identified in the Mindanao Action Agenda of conference.Conference director Teresita Uy-Sebastaion, who is also the regional governor of the Zamboanga Peninsula Chamber of Commerce an Industry, said some of the country’s top business leaders and government economic managers are expected to attend the gathering.
She said among those attending are Dr. Lucio Tan, Lucio Tan Group of Companies chairman, John B. Ridsel, Canadian mining firm TVI Resource Development Phil. Inc corporate adviser; Peter Henrie Sutherland, Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines; and Gil Genio, Innove Communication Inc. chief executive.
Representing the government are Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila, who will deliver the keynote speech and Jesus Dureza, the presidential adviser on peace.
Dureza will brief the participants in overview of the present efforts of government and private sectors in enforcing peace in Mindanao for development.
Businessman Joey Concepcion 3rd, presidential consultant on entrepreneurship, will give a talk on developing and improving small and medium scale enterprises.
On the other hand, Tourism Undersecretary Oscar P. Palabyab will tell how to further tap the potential of Mindanao as one of the world’s top tourist destination sites.
"The presence of these top business leaders will surely change the present image of Mindanao, since the problem on peace and order has been the major stumbling block in luring investors to do business in Mindanao," Ms. Sebastian told The Manila Times.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is scheduled to grace the confab on Sept. 2, the closing program.
The annual MinBizCon is the advocate and voice of Mindanao. It embodies the collective aspiration and commitment of Mindanao to the island’s economic development, to put it in the mainstream of national growth. It is the initiative that works with government for policy and development action to enable all that Mindanao is capable of. (ZS)