Antonio Peralta, a longtime business and social development official in Mindanao, was recently named founding chairman of the Southern Mindanao Chamber of Commerce (SMCC).
The SMCC was recently formed by key members of Southern Mindanao’s private sector. The Council operates under the aegis of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP), reputed to be the largest organized business chamber in the country.
Peralta is President of the Foundation for Rural Enterprises and Ecology Development of Mindanao (FREEDOM) Inc., a non-government organization based in Davao City.
With a background in international banking, venture capital markets, and donor-driven project implementation, he became a key official during the formative years of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) under the Ramos Administration. He eventually served as Regional Economic Adviser to the Office of the President in 1992.
In a presentation he delivered at a September forum organized by the Foreign Service Institute, Peralta “discussed the developments in BIMP-EAGA since its inception, priority projects in Mindanao, the role of stakeholders in fulfilling the BIMP-EAGA Vision 2025, and the opportunities and challenges of promoting Mindanao’s development” through the subregional scheme.
FREEDOM has been in operation for eight years. It is envisioned, according to Peralta, to “inspire and empower rural communities … to be a catalyst for change … for rural communities to grow towards more durable and environmentally responsible economies.”
The ECCP, on the other hand, is an 800-strong group that “promotes European interests in the Philippines and vice versa. (It) offers a strong business network that holds great potential in translating to tangible business opportunities,” according to its website.
(Photo: Peralta receives a certificate of appreciation from Julio Amador III, Deputy Director-General of the Foreign Service Institute, following the former's September presentation on EAGA prospects. Courtesy of FSI)