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Good evening.. Thank you for the kind video introduction.

Hon. Mayor Sebastian Duterte, Vice Mayor Quitain, Honorable Members of the city council, PCCI Area Vice President Art Milan, PCCI Regional Governor Nitz Malbas Distinguished guests, members of the diplomatic and consular corps, outgoing President Malou Monteverde and outgoing Executive vice President Tony de la Cruz, fellow trustees and past presidents, committee chairpersons, fellow members and partners from the different foreign and local chambers of commerce and industry, My loving wife Dr. Rosa Tria and other family members, and friends, sa tanan natong kaigsuonan sa sector sa pagnegosyo sa atoang dakbayan, maayong gabie kaninyong tanan.

It is with great pride and honor that I come before you today on such a momentous occasion. The three years of virtual inductions and meetings do not do justice to the warm welcomes we have given each other today. The theme for this year is apt to describe the energy that we have felt at the beginning of the year, and puts forward a set of hopes and encapsulates vital objectives we need to achieve. My address will delve into this theme further.

Boundless opportunities

At the beginning of our term on January 1 we hit the ground running at a pace we have never experienced. As many of you may know we began with an assessment of our chambers plans and set objectives with an unprecedented very well attended first GMM last January 20 to consult with members on their concerns and proposals for the year. We hope for this to be an annual tradition that can set the years objectives. Apart from this, the last month has seen a flurry of activities in the visits of interested embassies and businesses and calls for partnership from various sectors.

These, I feel are the result of a renewed energy to restart trade that has languished in uncertainty in the aftermath of the pandemic and post pandemic disruptions. Already, last Tuesday the International Monetary Fund has hiked global growth forecasts to 2.9% from the previous 2.7%. I believe this indicates a deep desire and resolve of many countries to adapt and overcome despite the headwinds we continue to experience.

Already, as an island we have built an economy that is larger than Slovenia and Cyprus and Iceland. As an island economy, we have surged ahead of the Visayas in terms of economic contribution, bringing 17.2% of total GDP and growing at a rate of 6.1%, the country’s fastest.

The Davao Region economy, which accounts for half of Mindanao’s economy, grew at 5.9%, faster than the country’s GDP. Of this region’s growth, Davao city contributes
51.8% of the Davao regional economy, growing at a fast 5.5% rate. Already we are seeing an increase in new business rgistratopns and heightened electric consumption- signs of growth. These numbers show us the city, region and island’s continuing potential not only due to its resources and people, but due to its resilience in the face of many disruptions we have experienced and will continue to face. That said, there is still much growth to be achieved, more room for investment and more jobs to create, and more opportunities for the future.

The numbers of this region i mentioned bear for it the potential bolstered further by its geographic advantages making it as a major port city of interest in the Brunei Indonesia, Malaysia Philippine East AAEN growth area. Its deep water ports are the subregion’s closest to Long Beach, California, Yokohama and Hitachinaka in Japan , Shanghai and South Korea. We already have regular shipping links to Singapore and Port Klang in Malaysia and seek to broaden these further as vital nodes through which increased trade from India, Europe and the middle east will continue to grow. Getting more of Davao’s product’s onto these supply chain links will be necessary to provide opportunities for our business community.

The post pandemic surge and impetus to adapt despite the uncertainties, the lessons learned from a recovery period where we discovered new strengths and capacities , the government policy environment that has aligned with reforms such as the CREATE Law, the Amended Public Service Act. Retail Grade Act and foreign Investments ACT will bolster the rural economies by encouraging investments with incentives tailored for the development of local industry.

Limitless partnerships

In the three years since my presidency in 2020, the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry is blessed with partnerships such as those with its fellow local chambers of commerce, being an affiliate of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the various Filipino Chinese chambers of commerce.

Apart from these linkages, we are honored to sustain our linkages with the various foreign chambers of commerce such as the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines in Mindanao., American Chamber of Commerce in Mindanao, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce of Davao, the various chapters of the Junior Chamber International, the Davao City Young Entrepreneurs Association and the Bangsamoro Business Council.

In addition, we maintain and sustain our relationships with various foreign chamber of commerce and business associations in various countries you will see on screen.

With these combined elements in place, we in Davao are blessed to be placed in a rare historical juncture and a special geographic position to further grow the economy. Let us take advantage of this moment, innovate, think through and move forward.

This is because despite the post pandemic growth and gains made over the last year there still are uncertainties we all face. There is conflict in Europe that has affected us with high fuel prices that have spiked inflation and increased the cost of food and transport undermining the viability of our enterprises. There is shifting climate that has affected how we grow our food and supply our needs and make our tourist establishments enjoyable destinations for visitors. The ultimate result of these realities is diminished growth of businesses especially the small and medium enterprises.

Yet as we look back at the last two years the message is clear: despite these challenges the opportunities are boundless and the partnerships we have built are limitless. Despite these headwinds we remain strong ad resolute. We choose to move forward and we will not back down in their face. We will move ahead to build an inclusive and resilient local economy. We all must be part of this growth so that it can be sustained well into the future. As a chamber our Board has put in place objectives under the following headings in line with the three pillars of chamber work, namely, policy advocacy . business promotion and capacity building. In addition, we have put forward a renewed program for information exchange that will allow us to advocate and network more effectively among members and with partners.

For policy advocacy, we aim to advocate for legislation that will further benefit the business community. We have begun organizing the necessary dialogues as sectors under each Vice President to hear and develop proposals as necessary. We will continue to work with local and national government agencies to strengthen the business sector further.

In terms of business promotion we aim to consolidate various business leads and information on business development activities towards increasing the number of business matching activities, including facilitating trade and business promotion missions both foreign and local, virtual and physical. Such innovations bring us to a wider world, a broader base of buyers and suppliers. It is time we harness these.

In particular, while our service sector has so far been the most consistent in growth, there is a need to promote local manufacturing, as this will add value to our agricultural sector and enable our products to find new and farther markets.

Our capacity building efforts thus aim to help our businesses with programs that can help upskill our workforce and help get them and their employers ready for new skills under the new normal. This includes deeper collaboration with academe and public sector agencies
to promote innovation under the Innovation Act and the Regional Inclusive Innovation Center, a program bringing together the DTI and the DOST.

This includes programs for Business Continuity Planning and Strategic planning that will encourage our local businesses to cast a wider net, adapt more quickly to take advantage of the boundless opportunities, linkages and partnerships mentioned earlier. This also will include programs for development of our professional management team and the management f our physical assets.

We also aim to provide more information and communicate these programs and initiatives to the larger business community through traditional media and online channels.

We set these objectives with the business community at heart. We know that it will require much effort. As I quote the late US President John F. Kennedy, we pursue these “ not because they are easy but because they are hard”. But we do so because pursuing these goals will bring our the best in us

A great team that will get it done

My second term as president is a response to the call of many members, past leaders and young entrepreneurs to complete the reforms built over the last 3 years necessary to build the chamber and a help shape a strong and inclusive business community considering the challenges of today and tomorrow.

The call is for leadership that is thoughtful and decisive, that recognizes their concerns and shares their hopes. This inclusivity is a big part of what the chamber of the future is, because we have bolstered it today.
Getting these things done will require a great team. We have a superb one made up of professionals with long experience and distinct capabilities and experienced leadership. They represent the cream of the city’s broad business sector.

Before you are outstanding and approachable individuals that have your best interest at heart...Our Board chairman, Engr. Rodger Velasco brings years of management and business development experience as President of Davao Light and Power Company and the Cotabato Light and Power Company.

Our executive Vice President Belinda Torres shares with us her decades of experience in the information technology sector, with her company jobs e solutions now making inroads in ASEAN and her years as Executive vie president of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Davao.

Our Corporate secretary Raoul Balisalisa is a former chapter president of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the head of Sycip Gorres and Velayo. Our corporate treasurer Art Perez a seasoned banker and Vice President of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, and former President of the Davao Bankers Club. Our Vice President for Industry of Jennifer Ellen Dumlao, a veteran real estate practitioner and for a long time served as our Corporate Secretary. Vice President for Trade and Commerce Cherrylin Casuga brings with her long trade experience in getting our fruits and other products to various parts of the country. Our vice President for Professionals and Service Ventures Nicole Bian Ledesma brings expertise in the hotel and restaurant sector and shows the vital role of education in building the economy.

As a result of internal reforms begun in 2019 and 2020, 2023 heralds the entry of additional Vice Presidents to represent vital sectors of the business community. Our Vice President for Agribusiness Steve Antig is a familiar name to many of you with his long years in advocating for the banana and other agribusiness sectors. Dr. Roland Suico, our Vice President for Information and Communications Technology is also the chapter president of the People Management Association of the Philippines, while Cherry Faye al -Ag our Vice President for Tourism is at the forefront of strengthening our tourism sector being the former president of the Davao Tourism Association.

Our other trustees likewise bring necessary expertise to help us craft policy that will make the chamber stronger. Trustee Marilou Ampuan is a well known Halal advocate and tourism practitioner. Dr. Mirasol Tiu of the Davao Doctors Hospital brings management experience in heading such a large and very vital institution. Al Balagot is a Certified Public Accountant with a deep understanding of trading and agribusiness enterprises. Atty. Myra Quilatan is an experienced legal practitioner from one of the finest law firms in the country, the Anga aAbello Concepcion Regala and Cruz Law offices, more popularly known as ACCRA.

They all have the experience and the resolve and represent a new generation of business leaders able to peer into the future and chart a direction.

We have elected this team, put together these objectives and engaged all of you since we believe that building a resilient and inclusive economy is what will propel us forward and create the local economy we will bequeath to our children, who are the future of our city region and island. We seek to build the economy that will harness their potentials and sustain their dreams. E must always remember that the current economy is merely borrowed from our children who will inherit it. It is the economy of Junjun, Andrei, Therese, Nikka Joshua, Elysia, CHelz, CHeska, Michael, Robert my son Lance, nephew Miggy and niece Toni and all of our children.

To this end, let me be bold and declare that every every davaoeno damily who wants a future for their children has the chambers efforts to help build the economy of their future.

To Every davaoeno entrepreneur who seeks to build their entreprenurial dream we have your back and your interests in mind. To Every embassy and foreign mission, foreign and neighboring chamber of commerce you have a friend in the chamber. Everyone who wants to work fulfill the our islands promise of growth and development has a partner in the chamber.

In closing I ask Gods blessing on what will be a great journey. Let us all work together and build the future.

These are our trustees and officers, presented to you are our plans and programs. My name is John Carlo Tria and I am your president, reporting for duty and at your service.

Maayong gabie kaninyong tanan. 

John Carlo Tria
President, Davao City Chamber of Commerce .
Inaugural speech delivered on the occasion of the 55th installation of truetees and officers, Dusit Thani Hotel Ballroom, Davao City. February 3, 2023