CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MIKE BAÑOS / June 7)– Asked what Cagayan de Oro needed to do to further increase its competitiveness as the leading economy in Mindanao, the chairman of one of the city's real estate development firms replied : "Benchmark the opposition."
Speaking at the 2nd Quarter General Membership Meeting of the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. (Oro Chamber), Guillermo D. Luchangco, chairman of Pueblo de Oro Development Corporation, outlined a five-point program which included benchmarking the opposition, being proactive in making the city attractive and friendly to potential investors, organize teams to personally share first hand experience with visitors, brief "champions" in government on Cagayan de Oro's potentials by personally inviting them to experience the city, and more pragmatically, tempering the city's vaunted 'opposition" stance so as not to make it a deterrent to potential investors.
"Few people may actually come to you just because your team exists," Luchangco cautioned. "You may have to work at becoming the organization to which investors are automatically referred if they are looking at Cagayan de Oro."
To make that possible, Luchangco turned over a lot at the Pueblo de Oro Business Park which will house the Oro Chamber Business Development Center (OC-BDC) in groundbreaking rites yesterday afternoon attended by City Mayor Vicente Emano, Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno and Romeo Serra, chairman of the Mindanao Business Council.
"We are very pleased with the fact that the dream f the board of directors and the general membership, even that of the past chamber officers is finally seeing fruition," said Oro chamber president Ruben Vegafria. "With the support of corporate partners like Pueblo de Oro, our business development and investment promotion undertakings are slowly but surely materializing."
The future business office of the Oro Chamber, OC-BDC will offer business advisory and information services, events management, investment promotion, policy advocacy, market development and entrepreneurial and marketing trainings for its clients and Oro Chamber members. Construction is slated to start in two months.
Luchangco said the latest Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Survey of Competitiveness of Philippine Cities in which to do business, shows Davao city among the top five for Metro Cities and Iligan City among mid-sized cities.
"Maybe the chamber can take upon itself to study what enabled Davao and Iligan to qualify for this ranking," Luchangco said. "I suggest that the chamber set a goal for itself, and that is, to put Cagayan de Oro among the Top 5 next year! I believe that if you can do this, you will be making a real contribution to the economic expansion of the city. And it will also be good for your business!"
Perhaps equally important, albeit sensitive, was the frequent comments regarding Cagay-anons' "chip-on-the-shoulder".
Luchangco related how he heard about the survey of the attitude of the potential work force commissioned by a foreign company for its call center which eventually decided not to locate here due to the survey results which showed that "employees would likely have a tendency to be difficult to deal with, to often clash with management, rather than cooperate, to be defiant."
Although he indicated that the recent decision of Pueblo de Oro IT park call center locator Link2Support to double its work force appears to debunk this finding, Luchangco said it is incumbent upon business leaders "to exert influence to temper that tendency in appropriate degrees whenever you see the problem arising."
"Do not just seek back and watch such events transpire," he urged. "Get involved and try to intercede and explain to your people where they are too quick or too negative in reacting."
Not the least, he cited the key role played by meticulous preparation.
"In the case of Pueblo de Oro, when we set about to attract a call center to locate here, we studied what was important to operators of call centers. We prepared a presentation that addressed the facts they wanted to know, from power rates to supply, to telecommunications availability to supply of the types of people they would want to hire," Luchangco stressed. "One call center company told us this was the most impressive and comprehensive presentation they had see.
"And of course, do your homework. Don't expect to just sit down with the visiting businessman and talk small talk. Know your statistics and facts about Cagayan de Oro versus the rest of the Philippines."
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