Annual General Meeting: 16 July 2016

Date posted: August 15, 2016

Good afternoon to all!

Welcome to the 16th AGM of the Chamber. I can’t believe that we have reached this significant milestone: 16 years!

I am very thankful to all our members and executive committee members past and present in their contribution in making our Chamber alive and well. To borrow from the famous saying, “it is not what the Chamber can do for you; it is what you can do for the Chamber”. Like an ocean tide, members come and go, but the Chamber remains an “island home” and an anchor in the commercial world both here in Australia and in the Philippines, ensuring there is indeed a true Commerce with no barriers. This vision of the Chamber still holds true after 16 years and I am very hopeful, it will be so in the next 16 or so years; to benefit the emerging entrepreneurs and professionals between our two countries.

In 2015-16, the Chamber continue to promote commerce and trade and provided support to our members and even non-members who have approached us for our help to enter the two market economies: Australia and the Philippines. We also developed business contacts from Singapore and China. We continue to be an active member of the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Round Table; representing the Philippines and the Filipino community as part of the 25 members from different foreign business councils and chambers.

In February and March 2016, I have separately met with each Executive Members of the Albay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Metro Naga City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (the City of the new Philippine VP Leni Robredo). Most recently, in early June 2016 I’ve met with the Executive Members of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Cavite Chapter. These 3 Philippine local chambers, would like to pursue a tie up with our Chamber individually. With the PCCI Cavite Chapter currently reviewing the MOA that I have drafted and provided to them in late June.

In April 2016, I was invited by the Founder and Chair of the Philippine Venture Capital and Investment Group, the longest (29 years) and most respected Group of its kind in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, to make a presentation to their monthly forum. I have introduced our Chamber to the group of Filipino investors, entrepreneurs, businesses, academia and students at their April forum held at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City. There were a lot of interest about the Chamber and the presentation raised awareness and interest from many investors and entrepreneurs at the forum to consider doing business in Australia. The Chamber now is regularly represented in this forum; paving the way for our members to be connected with this important group, should they visit the Philippines or should they consider doing business in the Philippines.

The PVCIG is a good networking forum for our members coming from Australia. Our membership level remains steady with the aim of increasing its number from where we are at, without sacrificing the membership application protocol that all members must be sponsored and the application seconded then tabled to the executive board meetings. This way, we can rest assured the quality of our referrals within Australia and the Philippines is of highest level; as the Chamber have an excellent reputation to keep; built on our past performance.

Two major events where planned last year: the business mission to Australia of Filipino young entrepreneurs (May 2016) and the business start-up expo (July 2016). Both events have been deferred as per the decision of our Board due to the elections in the Philippines (May) and Australia (July). The new Board will reconsider whether these events will be held in the near future.

To conclude, I would like express my gratitude to our Board members and their families in keeping our Chamber operating. There are a lot of opportunity for all of us, whether you are in the Philippines or in Australia. There is the Asia Pacific region to explore and do business with; the Chamber is here to continue to serve our members. Let’s continue to join our efforts together for success.

God bless.
I now table this report.

Connie da Cunha

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