Freeman Cebu Business

Cebu business leaders take part in Duterte’s policymaking

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu business community highlighted the need for the new government to put utmost priority on rural development in Cebu, among other concerns and issues that affect the economic health of the province.

Business sector leaders in Cebu represented by Cebu Chamber of Commerce (CCCI) president Melanie Ng, past presidents Samuel Chioson, and Lito Maderaso, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) president Donato Busa, and board of trustee Glenn Soco, participated in the two-day Duterte Admin's Sulong Pilipinas (Hakbang Tungo sa Kaunlaran) presentation of the incoming government's 10-point Socio-Economic Agenda at SMX Convention Center, Davao City which started last Monday.

According to Ng, aside from presenting Cebu's unique issues and concerns to the brand new cabinet members, and ultimately to the incoming President Rodrigo Duterte, the Cebu team made their own recommendations in the 10-point agenda.

"What is good and very important is, we're [business sector] consulted and asked to be part of the policy making," said Ng.

Promoting rural development and value chain development is the fifth issue in the Duterte-led government's 10-point agenda.

CCCI, according to Ng, recommends that the government should support business membership organizations in key areas in the countryside to spur the framework conditions form micro, small and medium enterprises in their localities.

Part of Cebu team's recommendation under this category is to operationalize the industry and chamber partnership in the Go-Negosyo programs specifically in the key industries that provide relief and opportunities for MSMEs via big brother mentorship, angel-entrepreneurs.

 Embracing the concept of decentralization of planning is also being pushed, specifically in the allocation of resources and implementation of projects and programs that will benefit the countryside.

Other issues presented by the Cebu business leaders include; ease of doing business, curbing unresolved red tape such as the processing of Import Clearance Certificate (ICC) and Broker Clearance Certificate; Decentralization of BIR certificates; and reduction of documentary requirements.

 Cebu also joined the countrywide private sector's call to lower corporate tax rate from 30 percent to 15 percent and individual income tax rate from 32 percent to 15 percent, which is comparable with the ASEAN neighbors.

 Among other issues and concerns presented by Cebu business leaders included; liberalization of land ownership except for residential properties, detailed long list in infrastructure woes; some improvement on the K to 12 Plus Program to address industry-academe mismatch, lack of incubation facilities to develop further the creative industries in Cebu, and inclusion of entrepreneurial-driven "conditional cash transfer — rather than dole-out. (FREEMAN)

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