(Cagayan de Oro City) -- Food industry pioneer Mercedes Pelaez-Mejia is president of the newly-organized European Chamber of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Business Council (ECCP-NM BC).
Ms. Mejia is Managing Director of Slers Industries, Inc., one of the city’s homegrown brands behind the famous chicharon and ham of the same name. Aside from showcasing and selling different varieties of its chicharon, SLERS was also featured at the Madrid Fusion Manila.
Officers of the fledgling council were elected during the organizational meeting held March 14 at the Xavier Sports and Country Club in this city where they were briefed on the ECCP’s objectives and functions by ECCP Executive Director Florian Gottein and on the Generalized System of Preferences by Walter van Hattum, Head of the Economic & Trade Section, European Union Delegation to the Philippines.
Elected vice president was Ms. Lordilie Enjambre, Acting Area Head for North Eastern Mindanao at the Mindanao Development Authority (MINDA) since 2013. She is also the Local Representative in Northern Mindanao for PUM The Netherlands, which was organized in 1978 to support small and medium enterprises.
She was Executive Director and Program Manager of the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. (Oro Chamber) from 2003 – 2008. Previous to this, she was an Office Manager at the now defunct Office of the President of the Philippines in Mindanao (OP-Min).
Besides Mses. Mejia and Enjambre, the council also has three members of the Board of Councilors: William Malagar (Owner/President of Global Chips Technologies CDO, Inc. the ASP Authorized Service Provider and Business Partners of HPE, HP Inc., Asus, Acer, Lenovo); Rhodora Abella (President and General Manager of The Stoneware Pottery, Inc.) and Roderico Bioco (COO of Mindanao Grain Processing Co., Inc. in Aglayan, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon since 1999 and President of the Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce & Industry. He is also Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross in Bukidnon and the Philippine Maize Federation, Inc.’s Chairman Emeritus)
The ECCP first set up its Northern Mindanao office in the third quarter of 2017, with Cagayan De Oro as its hub.
With this initiative, ECCP aims to provide stronger support to existing European businesses in Northern Mindanao as well as a boost the promotion of local businesses in ASEAN countries and Europe.
ECCP also sees this as an opportunity to share the European Union’s “Generalized System of Preferences” to Northern Mindanao Filipino exporters which allows developing countries to pay lesser or zero duties on their exports to the European Union’s single market of 500 million+ end consumers.
“ECCP has, aside from its main office in the Makati central business district, already established branches in the Visayas (Cebu City), and Southern Mindanao (Davao City) regions, because we recognize the need to expand the organization’s footprint to the rest of the country,” said ECCP Executive Director Florian Gottein.
“By expanding its footprint to Cagayan de Oro, ECCP is taking a step forward to better serve existing European businesses in Northern Mindanao as well as helping promote Northern Mindanao through ECCP’s vast network in ASEAN and Europe. This is in line with ECCP’s aim to support and contribute to the inclusive growth of the Philippines,” he added.
ECCP is a service-oriented membership organization that fosters close economic ties and business relations between the Philippines and Europe.
Established in 1978, the ECCP offers a wide range of business services and linkages between companies, organizations, and individuals with existing or potential business interests in Europe and the Philippines.
The ECCP provides services ranging from client, supplier, distributor/agent, and partner matching, market intelligence and research, company pooling, events management, and providing training programs.
The chamber also organizes various recreational and networking events for its members such as the ECCP Football Cup, the ECCP Annual Golf Challenge, Joint Foreign Chambers Networking Night and the ECCP Coffee Mornings alongside advocacy geared events such as forums that allow the business community to dialogue proactively with heads of the Philippine government.
ECCP is recognized by the European Commission as the official European Business Organization (EBO) in the Philippines. It is a part of the EU Market Access Team and manages EU projects in the Philippines.
With over 800 members, the ECCP is the Philippines' biggest foreign chamber and serves as the voice of the European-Philippine business community.
[Photos: Walter van Hattum and Florian Gottein with the new officers of the Northern Mindanao ECCP Business Council led by Pres. Mercedes Pelaez-Mejia and VP Lords Enjambre; The Council holds its organizational meeting in mid-March in Cagayan de Oro City / Mike Baños, NPN]