In January 2022, three-time Oro Chamber President Ruben A. Vegafria formally turns over the gavel of leadership to incoming president Raymundo G. Talimio, Jr. during the Oro Chamber’s 4th Quarter General Membership Meeting, Awards Night and Fellowship.

Among the highlights of the occasion is Vegafria’s presentation of the President’s 2021 Annual Report, and he shared with BusinessWeek Mindanao some salient points of the year’s accomplishments among of which are the following:

For the first time, NON-TRUSTEES of the chamber were appointed to chair Permanent Standing Committees, which allowed them to submit activity designs and to report accomplishments during the monthly board meeting.

“The underlying purpose is to make the committee a training ground for future leaders of the chamber,” Vegafria noted. “The incoming president is a product of this initiative.”

Committee Heads’ Meeting with Oro Chamber President, Ruben Vegafria. Present were Trustee Pio Baconga, Trustee Arthur Quiblat, Mr. Rene Michael Baños, Mr. Raymundo Talimio Jr., and Mr. Clifford Jose Roa.

Strengthened and expanded the areas for collaboration of the Orobest Innovation Program through government-industry-academe partnership and established a dynamic and inclusive innovation ecosystem.

“The success of the Orobest Innovation Program led to the establishments of another innovation hubs, the ILIGANIZE of Iligan City led by MSU-IIT, and soon-to-be formed BUKIDNON PRIDE, to be led by a group of chambers in Bukidnon,” the outgoing president explained.

Orobest Innovation has become the exemplar of the Regional Inclusive Innovation Center (RIIC) which according to DOST Regional Director Alfonso Alamban, may soon be adopted by all the regions nationwide, he added.

Notably, the Orobest Innovation Program was cited by DOST as a contributor to the rise of the Philippines in the Global Innovation Index from 100th place in 2014 to 50th in the 2020 global ranking.

In response to the pandemic, Orochamber geared up its Orobest Bridge Program to help members and non-members alike navigate the crisis brought about by the Covid-19 crisis.

To date, the program has assisted 88 MSMEs to stay resilient and relevant as they navigate their operations under this Covid-19 setting. It also has facilitated 7 industry-driven R&D Projects which provided enterprises technologies to increase productivity and competitiveness.

Orochamber was officially admitted as a member of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Metropolitan Cagayan de Oro Master Plan to establish strategic partnership with NEDA, Consular Office of Japan in Davao, USTP and LGU-CDO and other stakeholders.

It conducted 14 good business forums webinars during the year and participated in more than 400 zoom meetings.

Oro Chamber President Ruben A. Vegafria (center left) and Pueblo de Oro Development Corporation Vice President & General Manager Chrysler Acebu (center right) led the unveiling of the GUILLERMO D. LUCHANGCO HALL at the Oro Chamber Business Development Centre on June 21. Also in photo are Oro Chamber Executive Director Luthgarda Mutol (left) and Program Director Querittes Queja (right). (Photo courtesy of PDO)

Lifetime Honorary Membership was bestowed upon Mr. Guillermo D. Luchangco, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Pueblo de Oro Development Corporation in grateful recognition of his donation of 2,800 sq. meter property where the Orochamber Business Development Centre is now located, and honoring him by naming the board room as the Guillermo D. Luchangco Hall.

For the first time ever, the Oro Chamber joined the CDO Business Month celebration in October, and conducted, after a 2- year break due to pandemic, the 1st virtual 5-day Oro Best Expo 2.0, the region’s largest and longest running business trade exposition. 

“For the first time, the five (5) sectors of the chamber presented a well-curated webinar with the assistance of its innovation partners – DOST, DTI, USAID-STRIDE and NorMinCIEERD,” Vegafria noted.

Not the least, the chamber forged a partnership agreement with DOST, DTI, USTP, and USAID-STRIDE to establish the Orobest Innovation Management Board, and signed MOUs with USAID-AER for COLLABDev; TESDA-10 and SBIR with LGU-CDO.

All told, a performance worth celebrating, as Covid-19 cases decline all over the country, and the economy slowly reopens to recover its pre-pandemic levels under the New Normal.

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