President Rodrigo Duterte with (seated, from left) Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo; (standing, from left) CLSA Exchange Capital Corp. chairman and CEO Luis Virata, ICTSI SVP and regional head of Asia-Pacific Christian Gonzalez, Udenna Corp. president and CEO Dennis Uy, Go Negosyo adviser on agripreneurship and Mindanao project head Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar and adviser on MSME development Merly Cruz, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Bing Limjoco, FFCCCII president Henry Lim Bon Liong, Wilcon Depot founder and chairman William Belo, Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corp. president and CEO Alice Eduardo, SM Prime Holdings director Hans Sy, LT Group Inc. president and COO Michael Tan, PLDT chairman and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan, Federal Land chairman Alfred Ty, Filinvest Development Corp. president and CEO Josephine Gotianun-Yap, Robinsons Retail Holdings president and CEO Robina Gokongwei-Pe, Aboitiz Equity Ventures EVP and COO Sabin Aboitiz, the author, Megawide Construction Corp. chairman and CEO Edgar Saavedra and Pilipinas Global president and CEO Ernesto ‘Bong’ Sta. Maria.
A private meeting with the President Atty. Mike Toledo
MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Mike Toledo (The Philippine Star) - April 23, 2019 - 12:00am

Business leaders, particularly the heads of the country’s top business conglomerates, were recently invited to have dinner with the President at the Malacañang Palace. Credit Go Negosyo founder and Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose “Joey” Concepcion III for organizing the gathering.

 The last time the President had “dinner with the taipans” at the Palace, which Joey also spearheaded together with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (not yet the Speaker of the House then), was in January 2017. Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president George Barcelon were in attendance together with the leaders of industry.

 Back in 2017, because the Duterte administration was just a few months in office, the gathering was an opportunity for the President to share with big business his vision on how to move the country forward, fight poverty and attain inclusive growth with the help of the private sector. In turn, the business leaders listened intently and shared what they can do to achieve the President’s objectives.

 This time around, the dinner focused on three main topics, what were considered as the “three pillars for greater inclusive growth:” tourism, agribusiness and digitalization. Joey gave a presentation that expounded on these three aspects.

 According to Joey, these key areas, coupled with the right projects that would strengthen connectivity such as airports, roads and bridges under the “Build, Build, Build” program of the administration; the expansion of telecommunications companies (like PLDT-Smart); and the agribusinesses in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) “will greatly contribute to the goal of inclusive growth and development in the country.”

 Go Negosyo ARMM projects program head and adviser for agripreneurship Ana Margarita “Ginggay” Hontiveros-Malvar also gave a presentation on the current development work being done in Marawi.

 Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat shared the Department of Tourism’s efforts in expanding the tourism industry and the various programs in place, while Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez shared the active participation of the private sector, especially the mall operators, in ensuring inclusive growth.

The invitees to the presidential dinner read like a Who’s Who in Philippine business. Invited from the private sector were CLSA Exchange Capital Corp. chairman and CEO Luis Virata, ICTSI SVP and regional head of Asia-Pacific Christian Gonzalez, Udenna Corp. president and CEO Dennis Uy, Go Negosyo adviser on MSME development Merly Cruz, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Bing Limjoco, FFCCCII president Henry Lim Bon Liong, Wilcon Depot founder and chairman William Belo, Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corp. president and CEO Alice Eduardo, SM Prime Holdings director Hans Sy, LT Group Inc. president and COO Michael Tan, PLDT chairman and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan, Federal Land Inc. chairman Alfred Ty, Ayala Corp. chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Filinvest Development Corp. president and CEO Josephine Gotianun-Yap, Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. president and CEO Robina Gokongwei-Pe, Aboitiz Equity Ventures EVP and COO Sabin Aboitiz and Megawide Construction Corp. chairman and CEO Edgar Saavedra.

 Attending from the government were Speaker Arroyo, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Secretary Lopez, Secretary Puyat and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

 The President was in a jovial mood the rest of the night. He always has this way of disarming his guests by making them feel comfortable and relaxed, but, of course, without detracting from the seriousness of the discussion on the business at hand.

 At the evening’s conclusion, the President, in his inimitable way, categorically told big business that he wants them all to succeed because their success will augur well for the general politic. But he also made it clear that he was elected because of his promise not only to eradicate the drug menace and corruption but also to uplift his countrymen from abject poverty. 

Big business must be a partner in this noble quest.

 We do well to heed this advice, that it is always good to dialogue with the President.

JOSE “JOEY” CONCEPCION III MALACAñANG PALACE
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