Sun Star Bacolod - - Front Page - BY ER­WIN P. NICAVERA

Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal Gover­nor Eu­ge­nio Jose Lac­son (second from left) with Metro Ba­colod Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try of­fi­cials checks out different lo­cally pro­duced prod­ucts show­cased at the on­go­ing 11th Ne­gros Busi­ness Week at Robin­sons Place Ba­colod which opened on Satur­day.

IN AN econ­omy of a de­vel­op­ing coun­try like the Philip­pines, the top of­fi­cial of Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal has rec­og­nized the im­por­tant role of the pri­vate sec­tor as an en­gine of growth and de­vel­op­ment.

Gover­nor Eu­ge­nio Jose Lac­son, who led the open­ing of the 11th Ne­gros Busi­ness Week at Robin­sons Place Ba­colod on Satur­day, ac­knowl­edged Metro Ba­colod Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (MBCCI) for fur­ther­ing the in­ter­est of small busi­nesses and en­trepreneur­s in the prov­ince for more than a decade now.

The an­nual event is ini­ti­ated by MBCCI in part­ner­ship with the provin­cial gov­ern­ment and other gov­ern­ment agen­cies like the Depart­ment of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy (DOST).

Lac­son said the sup­port of the busi­ness group has helped en­abled Ne­grense en­trepreneur­s both from ur­ban and ru­ral ar­eas.

In­deed, the part­ner­ship be­tween the gov­ern­ment and pri­vate sec­tor cannot be overem­pha­sized, he said, hop­ing that “the event may re­mind us all of our mu­tual re­spon­si­bil­ity to lead and se­cure the wel­fare of our Ne­grense en­trepreneur­s.”

The 12-day event gathers at least 30 en­ter­prises from different lo­cal gov­ern­ment units (LGUS) in the prov­ince.

Most of these en­ter­prises are from out­side Ba­colod City as­sisted by the busi­ness cham­ber and their re­spec­tive LGUS.

Lac­son, in his mes­sage, said this year’s busi­ness week theme “Driv­ing Progress in Har­mony” is timely.

“As your new gover­nor, I am here to­day be­cause I be­lieve that now is the time that we must work to­gether to achieve the ut­most po­ten­tial of our peo­ple and prov­ince,” he said.

Lac­son pointed out that while glob­al­iza­tion is de­sired and in­evitable, it causes com­pe­ti­tion.

The gover­nor, how­ever, said he is a be­liever of the Ne­grense talent and prod­ucts. “With proper op­por­tu­ni­ties and innovation, our prod­ucts can compete in the lo­cal and global mar­ket.”

Dur­ing the open­ing ac­tiv­ity, MBCCI of­fi­cials toured Lac­son around the booths show­cas­ing wide-va­ri­ety of lo­cally pro­duced prod­ucts, mostly food.

He took pride that the prov­ince is gifted with the most fer­tile soil in the coun­try mak­ing food prod­ucts a log­i­cal trade good.

Lac­son said it is high time to se­ri­ously rein­vent to show the world that Ne­gros is more than just sugar.

“It is the place where you can suc­ceed if you try, where a healthy econ­omy can ad­vance by what we make and in­no­vate,” he added.

This year’s busi­ness week is po­si­tioned to trig­ger growth and de­vel­op­ment to­wards the ru­ral ar­eas es­pe­cially agricultur­e and fish­ery com­mu­ni­ties in the prov­ince.

It is also part of the group’s ef­fort to em­power women, mainly en­abling to earn and aug­ment their fam­ily’s in­come.

MBCCI be­lieves in giv­ing equal op­por­tu­ni­ties to men and women, as well as in both ru­ral and ur­ban growth.

Also, it is bank­ing on mar­ket-ori­ented de­vel­op­ment which means not plant­ing or pro­duc­ing any­thing that the mar­ket does not need.

In Ka­bankalan City, for

in­stance, the busi­ness group said there are many individual­s who own parcels of land yet they do not have the cap­i­tal and skills to start a small farm.

“Through con­tract grow­ing model, we will teach them how to plant, give them the skills to pro­cess the prod­ucts with added value, pack­age it nicely and help them mar­ket,” it added.

For his part, MBCCI pres­i­dent Roberto Mon­telibano thanked the sup­port of var­i­ous partners for help­ing the busi­ness week to sur­vive for 11 years al­ready.

“From our ini­tial tar­getl­gus, we are ex­tend­ing this event to ev­ery part of Ne­gros Is­land,” he said, adding that “we con­tinue to en­cour­age par­tic­i­pat­ing en­ter­prises to con­tinue grow­ing through the sup­port of gov­ern­ment and pri­vate sec­tor.”

Mean­while, the open­ing ac­tiv­ity was also at­tended by Philip­pine Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try - West­ern Visayas Re­gional Gover­nor Donna Rose Ratilla, Dost­ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal Provin­cial Direc­tor Al­lan Francis Da­raug, Provin­cial Su­per­vis­ing Tourism Op­er­a­tions Of­fi­cer Cris­tine Mansinares, and Ba­colod City Coun­cilor Ana Marie Palermo, among other guests.*


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