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Time for the Local Business Community to Work as One

Three ranking members of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and their staff were in Virac last week to meet a select group of local business personalities. Their objective: to establish a local chamber of commerce and industry, something that has been missing in the growing economy of Catanduanes.

At this time when the local economy, in the very words of Governor Joseph Cua, is taking off, there is a need for local businessmen to work as one with the government in fostering a healthier business environment and helping improve the viability of various businesses.

For years now, those who have established their own businesses have been content with counting their money, with nary a concern towards the issues of global competitiveness, high local taxes, and local laws that promote unfair competition. There was one group – the Virac Chamber of Commerce – that was organized by the Department of Trade and Industry provincial office but it has reportedly gone into hibernation. Its chairman still sits as the group’s observer in public biddings despite the fact that its membership has not met since election and it has not been recognized by nor registered with PCCI.

In their meeting with the local businessmen headed by Cua Group of Companies CEO Peter Cua, PCCI South Luzon vice president Eduardo Nicolas III and Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Clarine Tobias emphasized that out of the six provinces in the Bicol region, only Catanduanes has no representation in the PCCI.

Interactive: Most Favorable Wind Areas

The importance of a local chamber of commerce cannot be taken for granted. It is supposed to serve as a voice in the business community and as an independent forum for the development of a consensus on matters of national and local concern. Thus, it will perform an active role in helping shape the course of local and national events, share its expertise, and make known its position on matters affecting business and the economy. Such issues could include the predicted influx of big companies from outside the island as the province’s population and consumer base expands in the next few years along with its burgeoning opportunities especially in eco-tourism.

Certainly, it is high time for those running businesses in Catanduanes to realize that they cannot just rake in the money, the consuming public be damned. They, too, have a responsibility to help their fellow businessmen, especially those struggling to make profit, through wise advice based on their experience and in ensuring that there is a level playing field. This will not only help their respective companies and businesses prosper but also give back the public some payback through a vibrant economy and a business environment that favors all.

Catanduanes Tribune

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