Business leaders bullish on Cebu’s growth trends

Carlo Lorenciana (The Freeman) - June 3, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu is poised to see continued stellar economic growth amid struggling to modernize its infrastructure, keeping up with innovation-led development and pushing for improved competitiveness.

Executives have highlighted Cebu's growth prospects as it starts the annual Cebu Business Month.

Speaking at the CBM 2019 opening event at Ayala Center Cebu Friday night, Cebu Holdings Inc. president Aniceto Bisnar Jr. expressed his optimism on Cebu's growth moving forward.

Bisnar anchored his optimism on increased spending in infrastructure and the sustained growth of Cebu's twin economic drivers, the tourism and business process outsourcing (BPO) industries.

He said the upcoming big infrastructure projects should further propel economic growth.

These are the proposed integrated transport system for Metro Cebu, the third bridge linking Cebu City and Mactan Island, second runway for Mactan-Cebu International Airport and the Metro Cebu Expressway.

Bisnar cited the increasing number of tourists and flights coming in and out of Cebu, following the opening of MCIA Terminal 2 last year.

He said the cooperation seen between the new leaders of the governments in Cebu City and Province of Cebu also bodes well for Cebu's overall growth.

"Improved infrastructure and business friendly environment are keys to improve business and attract more investors in Cebu," he said, citing the two are crucial in creating more jobs.

He believes there's more Cebu can offer if the public and private sectors further collaborate with each other.

This was the potential, he said, that was seen by the Ayala Group some 30 years ago when it invested in Cebu through CHI's developments, the Cebu Business Park and Cebu IT Park.

"We believe we can achieve more in the years to come," he said.

For his part, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Virgilio Espeleta said the Cebu business sector will continue collaborate and promote innovation through the CBM.

"Every June of every year is always an opportune time to establish new contacts, reconnect with business partners and enablers, discuss concerns of mutual interest with stakeholders across different sectors in the areas of Tourism, ICT and BPM, entrepreneurship and creative industries," he said.

Now on its 23rd year, the CBM is an annual celebration that provides venue for entrepreneurs, local and foreign investors, tourists and government to converge, get updates on innovation and trends.

While entrepreneurs recognize the volatile, uncertain and complex business environment they're in today, they must find ways to be agile and innovative, Espeleta said.

"Digital technology remains to be embraced by many of those in our community. Hence, we will be providing a venue for cliniquing during our Entrepreneurs’ Summit for our companies to address their digitization requirements," he said.

CBM 2019 chair Lilu Aliño said in today’s digital age, technology and other innovations are needed to keep up with the ever changing game of business. This year's CBM is guided by its three thrusts: tourism, entrepreneurship and ICT-BPM.

"CBM sets its sights on presenting Cebu as a valuable and prominent partner in building and improving local MSMEs, the promotion of tourism through creativity and innovation, and providing a venue for business leaders, stakeholders and other prominent industry personalities to gather and meet to establish new relations and possible partnerships," she said. (FREEMAN)

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