The elected officers and directors of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce-Toronto for the Term 2013 to 2015, who are to be sworn in shortly to their respective offices.

PCCT Members, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen.

First and foremost, I am extending my warm congratulations to you – the elected officers and directors, who will be the skippers for the next two years. I pray with you for the smooth sailing of the PCCT –  recognized as the premier business organization for Toronto’s Filipino Canadian business community.

While the PCCT is one organization that my wife, Rosemer, and I consider as “home”, still it is both an honour and privilege for us to be among you here tonight; and we thank you so much for that.

Friends, I must tell you that Rosemer and I have a strong kinship with the PCCT for two significant reasons; and not necessarily in the following order:

Firstly, I, as the Founder of the Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation or the PCCF, the PCCT has always been a partner in the planning and execution of the annual “Pinoy Fiesta and Trade Show sa Toronto” – so far, the biggest fundraiser of the PCCF, such that the PCCF is able to accomplish its objectives on charitable endeavours;

Secondly, as your only Filipino Canadian Senator, I have set myself into helping undertake in bringing the PCCT into the wider attention of the diverse business communities in Toronto, the government and an enlarged public, through several avenues that the government of Prime Minister Harper has embarked on during the recent past.

For example, on the government’s “Economic Action Plan 2013”, the PCCT contributed to its finalization. You might have known that representatives from the government sat with members of the PCCT in January this year for a roundtable meeting with members, representing a cross-section of various industries in the Filipino Canadian business community.

In November last year, the PCCT was among those in the official delegation of the Prime Minister during his state visit to the Philippines, conferring with President Noynoy Aquino on increased trade between the Philippines and Canada. The PCCT was able to make initial steps, hence, in the recent trade mission of the group, I understand that some of the members of the delegation were able to close contracts for what they aimed for in joining the trip, such as those engaged in the cosmetics industry and those in the logistics, trading and cargo forwarding industries.

On the homefront …

Mid month last month, I had a dialogue with the Manitoba Filipino Business Council.

During my meeting with the group, they brought forward an interest to work with the different Chambers of Commerce across Canada to work towards an expansion of markets for two-way trade with the Philippines.

I believe that such suggestion is sound – if, indeed, we are to work towards an increased business with our beloved country — the Philippines!

The Manitoba Filipino Business Council believes – as I do, that such path towards an expanded market for two-way trade with the Philippines is easier, should they, and the different Chambers of Commerce across Canada work together.

As you know, we have a saying in Filipino, that states, “Ang mabigat ay gumagaan, kung pinagtutulungan,” which means, “A heavy burden is lightened, if everyone participates in carrying it.”  Henceforth, I am suggesting to you, officers and directors of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce-Toronto to explore such area. After all, you have already started and embarked on it.

… and on that, I assure you that whatever my office may do to help you in the private business sector, just let us know.

With that, ladies and gentlemen of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce-Toronto for the Term 2013 – 2015, I urge each one of you to please continue the good work that your organization has set yourselves into.

Members, friends, guests, ladies and gentlemen, we have just started the work towards Filipino Canadian economic prosperity. A lot more has to be done. It is said that “a broom is sturdy, because its strands are tightly bound.” … “Matibay daw ang walis, palibhasa’y magkabigkis,” as our Filipino proverb states. So, please, let us work together.

Thank you so much. Good evening and …

“Mabuhay Tayong Lahat!”

— End —