Brief History

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Australia Philippines Incorporated is the first local Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Australia whose charter is focused on bilateral trade relationship between Australia and the Philippines.

CCIAP believes in the Australian multicultural principle of productive diversity which asserts the significant cultural and economic dividends arising from the diversity of the population. Composed largely of Philippine-born Australians (the fourth largest non-english speaking ethnic group in Queensland), CCIAP members have the advantage of maximizing business opportunities and enhancing cultural ties between Queensland and the Philippines.

The Chamber had its humble origins from the Filipino-Australian Business and Professionals Network, a Filipino-interest advocacy group centered on local business and community issues with Noreen Dejoras as prime mover. In mid-2000, Connie da Cunha suggested the Network’s transformation into a Chamber of Commerce. The idea was broadly supported, and thus an ambitious quest and challenge commenced. On 20 September 2000, the Network expanded its role into an association offering business support services to its members. The following year, Chamber status was applied for with the State umbrella body, Commerce Queensland. After a rigorous process requiring the highest standards of integrity, sense of mission and commitment, Chamber recognition was granted and led to its subsequent incorporation on 7 June 2001 with Daniel J. Hernandez as founding president and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Jose Miguel T. Arroyo as honorary members.

In 2001, the Chamber organized the first trip to the Philippines of the Queensland Government’s Special Representative for South East Asia, Ms. Sallyanne Atkinson AO, paving the way for bilateral relations between the two states. Subsequent visits of Queensland business ventures in construction and energy were likewise organized with introductions to Philippine business networks facilitated. In the following years, investment inquiries from the Philippines covering macadamia farming and property development were attended to with due diligence reports prepared by the Chamber for prospective investors.

Under the presidency of Francis Liongson from 2004-2006, the Chamber established its long term strategic goals and embarked on a work program to accomplish those objectives.

The Chamber’s website underwent a metamorphosis to communicate with its many publics more effectively. The Chamber’s quarterly newsletter, The Messenger, was revived and its circulation increased to reach key government, corporate and other relevant sectors beyond its member readership base. The Q Business Circle, a regular business column in the Philippine Community Herald – the largest Filipino monthly community newspaper in Australia, was launched and maintained to serve as the Chamber’s forum for issues and ideas.

The Chamber likewise organized, participated and/or orchestrated the following events to promote Queensland-Philippine trade and good will:

  • 02 March 2005 – Visit of the the Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Tony Hely.
  • 14 March 2005 – Visit of Philippine Tourism Attaché to Australia and New Zealand Consuelo Garcia Jones
  • 09-10 March 2005 – Visit of the Philippine Trade Mission on Building Materials headed by Philippine Trade Commissioner to Australia and New Zealand, Zafrullah Masahud. The official visit was capped by a Queensland-Philippines Trade Forum organized in cooperation with the Queensland Government.
  • 16 June 2005 – Visit of the Philippine Equine Buying Mission organized by Austrade Manila to participate in the Gold Coast Magic Millions National Yearling, Weanling, and Broodmare auction sale.
  • 01 July 2005 – Launching of the first Queensland-Philippines Business Excellence Awards to recognize achievements in the field of exports, imports, government, small business, and community service.
  • 09 August 2005 – Visit of the top level Philippine Mining Roadshow headed by the Presidential Adviser for Minerals Development and Ambassador to Germany, Delia Albert.
  • 12 August 2005 – The First Philippines-Australia Ministerial Meeting (PAMM) in Sydney where the historical meeting among Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, the Hon. Mark Vaile MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Alexander Downer MP, Philippine Secretary of Trade and Industry, the Hon. Peter Favila and Secretary of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Alberto Romulo was held.
  • 30 September 2005 – The Inaugural President’s Dinner held at the Parliamentary Annex with the Philippine Ambassador Cristina Ortega as guest of honor. The recipients of the first Queensland-Philippines Business Excellence Awards were presented during the event.
  • 06 November 2005 – Visit of the 2005 Outstanding Philippine Career Executive Officers at the Gold Coast. The guests included Dr Filomena delos Santos, Chief Executive of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center; Atty Robert Abejero, Regional Director of the Department of Interior and Local Government for Region VII, and Mr Sani Macabalang, Regional Director for the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources for Region XII.
  • 08 December 2005 – Visit of the 2004 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Emergent Leadership, Benjamin Abadiano.
  • 02 March 2006 – Visit of the inaugural delegation from the Philippines to the Australian Political Exchange Council. The 7-man delegation, headed by Bulacan Governor Josefina M. dela Cruz, are members of the Philippine Council of Young Political Leaders (PCYPL), an affiliate of AUSPOL. Other members of the delegation include: Bohol Cong. Edgardo M. Chatto, Eastern Samar Cong. Marcelino C. Libanan, Marikina Cong. Del R. de Guzman, Zambales Vice Governor Ramon G. Lacbain II, Davao Councilor Danilo C. Dayanhirang and PCYPL Executive Director Rolendes C. Fabi.
  • 18 June 2006 – Visit of he Philippine Equine Buying Mission organized by Austrade Manila to participate in the Gold Coast Magic Millions National Yearling, Weanling, and Broodmare auction sale. This is the third consecutive year that the Philippines participated in the event.

During the Liongson incumbency, the Chamber strengthened its ties with Commerce Queensland and affiliated itself with the Ethnic Communities Council Queensland (ECCQ) on 17 March 2005 and the Australia Philippines Business Council (APBC) on 28 April 2005. These alliances have been undertaken for the Chamber to benefit from the influence and reach of these business and ethnic community umbrella organizations. Sister chamber relationships were established with the Australia New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Philippines (ANZCHAM) in March 2005, the Australia Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. NSW (APCCII) on 2 August 2005 and the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc (DCCIII) on 2 March 2006.

The Chamber also became a member of the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Business Round Table on 27 September 2005 providing a vehicle for interacting with other multicultural business groups and for assisting Brisbane City in its multicultural endeavors. The Chamber joined the Southeast Regional Council of Commerce Queensland on 6 February 2006 and participated in a number of consultations with other bilateral trade chambers.

Among its many community involvement, the Chamber established its Annual Christmas Fund Appeal with the Red Cross Philippine Disaster Fund and the indigenous peoples of Mindanao through ILAWAN as the recipients in 2004 and 2005 respectively.

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