‘The Game Changers’

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Annually, the Philippine business community, government, the academe, the diplomatic corps and other stakeholders gather under one roof in the country’s biggest business meet: the Philippine Business Conference and Exposition (PBC&E).

Organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the 44th edition of the PBC&E will give special focus on today’s interconnected global economy vis-à-vis infrastructure development.

The staging of the annual PBC&E comes after five area chamber conferences in Northern and Southern Luzon, NCR, Visayas and Mindanao. It aims to build linkages and strengthen partnerships between the private sector and the government ─ to discover ways to exchange views on the general state of the economy and arrive at meaningful and doable policy recommendations that will help improve the country’s overall economic climate.

We are at a much-interconnected junction. The Philippines’ goal of reaching unparalleled competitiveness that is inclusive and sustainable is only possible if we can ride on the waves of digitalization and if the needed soft and hard infrastructures are securely in place.

The theme of this year’s 44th PBC&E, Infrastructure and Digital Economy, “The Game Changers,” will highlight the importance of infrastructure development to create the needed jobs and investments and the prospects of the digital economy — that help spur innovation while making doing business more effective and efficient not only for big businesses, but most especially the small and medium enterprises.

At the 44th PBC&E, we will find the nexus for collaborations and opportunities and identify the roadblocks that have to be addressed for the private sector and the government to effectively work on the underpinnings of sustainable economic growth.

The PBC&E has been led by well-regarded leaders in the business community and this year will be no exception. On this 44th edition, the chairman is Ramon S. Ang, president and chief executive officer of San Miguel Food and Beverage, Inc. A keen leader and innovator in the food and beverage industries, as well as in the infrastructure sector, Ang will spearhead this year’s conference to greater heights.

Key leaders from government and the private sector, as well as from the diplomatic corps, have been invited as resource speakers and panelists at the 44th PBC&E to share their views on the local and global economy. Topics of current significance include the importance of the Silk Road initiative; the Philippines’ agenda on infrastructure, energy and power and ICT and telecommunications; risks and effects of the trade war; industrial revolution and disruptive technologies; agribusiness and economic partnerships with our longtime trade and investment partners, among others.

The 44th PBC&E has also prepared simultaneous breakout sessions on specific topics and initiatives that will be of great interest to the participants. It will also honor movers and shakers from diverse sectors whose work and efforts have contributed to the Philippines’ economic growth and development through the various PBC&E awards.

Not to be missed as well is the well-curated exposition, where local and international businesses will showcase their world-class and innovative goods and services.

In walking the talk of going digital, this year’s conference decided to do away with the usual printed souvenir handbook and materials. Instead, registered attendees will be given tablet computers, with the conference program and other relevant information incorporated in the MyPhone-created gadgets.

The 44th PBC&E expects a thousand attendees for the two-day conference, composed of PCCI members, local chambers, private companies (chief executive officers and industry captains from large, small and medium enterprises), government, academe, diplomatic corps, international organizations, development partners, industry associations, business councils and the media, among others. At the Concluding Plenary, a set of wish lists from the private sector, encompassing policy recommendations on the economy, will be presented to the President and members of the Cabinet.

The event is scheduled to commence on 18 to 19 October 2018 and will be held at no less than the historic Manila Hotel, where visitors from overseas and the provinces will be treated to the old-world charm of the City of Manila. Before the conference proper, there will be a Chamber Management Workshop for PCCI local members and the annual Businessmen’s Golf Cup Tournament open to both PCCI members and non-members alike. There’s nothing like starting the week with a friendly (or competitively friendly) game of golf!

Business conferences should not be a cliché nor a drag. At every PBC&E, the chamber movement envisions a meeting of not only partners, but of friends with one goal at heart: Economic prosperity and growth for all.

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