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Intro | History | Chamber Mission | Chamber Goals | Chamber Services

       The Palawan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) roots its history in the nineteen sixties when it was then officially known as Puerto Princesa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PPCCI). The official venue of meetings and gatherings of PPCCI was at the most prestigious pension at the time –Rafols Pension. Elected founding president of then Puerto Princesa’s only business association is Don Felix M. Rafols who carried the Chambers leadership through the 70’s. Among its membership of about thirty pioneer businessmen of the city are Don David Garcellano, Don Ramon Tan and Dona Ofelia Miguel.

By 1994, the PPCCI through its revival metamorphosed into a provincial organization by carrying the banner of the entire business interests for the whole of Palawan as it assumed the identity of Palawan Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Membership to the Chamber is in the name of the enterprise or businesses engage in commerce and industry. A member company or proprietorship is entitled to one official representative with two designated alternates. It regularly holds monthly business meetings at designated establishments usually owned by member s.

It would be interesting to note that during the initial afternoon meetings for the revival of the chamber of commerce at Kamayan Restaurant along Rizal Avenue, there were thirty persons who attended but are not necessarily the same thirty persons who originally comprised the PPCCI. Interestingly also to note is the fact that for the second time in the business chambers history in the province, the founding president of the new chamber of commerce is again from the illustrious Rafols family, but this time it is the much younger but equally dynamic Rey M. Rafols.

Don Rey, upon being unanimously elected to lead the revival of the then Puerto Princesa Chamber of Commerce took a break from his hectic schedule as president of the largest multi-media network (Palawan Broadcasting Corporation) in Palawan and thereafter proceeded to Manila to confer with the officialdom of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Chamber national president Jose Yulo graciously hosted the new leader of businessmen in Palawan and Yulo’s support was so tremendous that the Puerto Princesa Chamber of Commerce and Industry was eventually granted by the national chamber of commerce to carry the name Palawan instead of being limited to the name of the capital city. Thus paving the way for the PCCI to be recognized as the sole businessmen’s chamber under the rules of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry which spells that in one province only one chamber shall officially be recognized.

By June 14, 1995, the Articles of Incorporation of the present Chamber was issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission under Registration No. ANO95-02174. The incorporators represent a cross- section of the commerce and industry of the province : Arnel Abela, Simeon Alarcon, Angel Antic, Cynthia Aragona, Bobby Castro, Jose Castro, Jr., Renard Dacuan, Pedrito Ensomo, David Garcellano, Agustin Go, Antonio Goh, Agapita Hagedorn, Elidoro Perey, Rey Rafols and Roland Siat. Don Angel Antic was the first corporate treasurer while Jacinto Magay ,Jr. was the first corporate secretary.

In 1995 Chamber national president Jose Yulo inducted at the Grand Ballroom of Asiaworld Resort Hotel (formely Rafols Hyatt –Palawan) the first Board of Trustees and officers of the PCCI. The first trustees to make the Board are Angel Antic, Bobby Castro, Jose Castro, Jr, Renard Dacuan, Antonio Goh, Agustin Go, David Garcellano, Agapita Hagedorn and chaired by Don Rey. By 1997 Don Rey was reelected president and was inducted to office in a dinner gala at the same hotel by Chamber national president Federico Pascual. The ingenious Don Bobby Castro of the growing Palawan Pawnshop chain was the vice president while the treasurer was LandBank of the Philippines wonder boy Ferdinand Adriano. The indefatigable Cynthia Aragona of the Palawan Cycle chain of stores was also re-elected secretary general. A third induction was held with House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Alfredo Abueg, Jr. being the inducting officer.

Like his late father, Pres. Rey Rafols was credited for his pioneering endeavors that, so to speak, established the promontory on which the present Chamber ‘s laurels are firmly anchored. It was during Don Rey’s presidency when several government agencies confirmed the vital role of the Chamber in the community. Since then, the Chamber is the official business sector representative to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development under the Office of the President of the Philippines. By virtue of an Executive Order of President Fidel V. Ramos, the chairmanship of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council in Palawan was assumed by the PCCI.

Representation in the Provincial Economic Council was also extended to the Chamber during Pres. Rey Rafols’ incubency. This was about the same time when the co-chairmanship of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) For Palawan was held by the PCCI.

Pres. Rafols did not miss to consider the invaluable tie of the academe to the business sector since he holds the view that from Industry.  To complement the vision of Don Bobby,an understanding of cooperation was forged by the Chamber with the local office of the Department of Trade and Industry. This partnership brought about the creation of a Business Information and Assistance Center in the DTI-Palawan office. A one-stop-shop for business registration and permit was also sought to be implemented by multiple government agencies.

President Castro introduced fellowship evenings as part of the Chambers activities to develop camaraderie among the business players in the province. It was not purely fellowship however, but mostly work, when the Chamber hosted the forum for local election candidates to face the people in a no- holds-barred evening. The Chamber was represented in regional conferences such as in Lucena City where the Southern Luzon Business Conference was held. It was at this time when the Chamber was allotted a seat in the bidding committees for government projects y the Department of Public Works and Highways.The advocacy of the Chamber on local real property taxes went on a high gear at Pres. Castro’s time such that it lead to the creation of a working committee to study the matter and come up with recommendations to the city officials.

The third president of the Chamber is Don Angel Antic whose extensive experience in banking and finance brought a new and welcome dimension to the thurst of the Chamber. In The entrepreneurial genius of Pres. Bobby Castro in building a regional empire of pawnshops found application in his thrust to development entrepreneurs from Palawan.  A workshop to install and develop entrepreneurial skills was conducted at Garcellano complex by the Chamber in coordination with the National Youth Commission and the University of the Philippines Institute for Small and Medium Scale.

By March 2002 the leadership of the Chamber was passed to a gentleman from a family of eleven brothers and sisters hailing from Brooke’s Point, Palawan. University of the Philippines Law School graduate Don Vicente Tan passed the bar exams with flying colors but he was destined to be a successful business man and leader. He assumed the presidency at Asturias Hotel upon being inducted to office by Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Sergio Ortiz-Luis. Special guest of honor was the former senator but then Department of Education Secretary Raul S. Roco.Don Vicente brought with him to the leadership of the Chamber his wide experience and expertise in handling organizations as he was a past president of the oldest Rotary Club in District 3830—The Rotary Club of Puerto Princesa. He was also past president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-- Palawan Chapter. Inducted with him are his vice-president Edgardo A. Palanca of Philippine Veterans Bank. Dona Virgina T. Gapuz of Olympic Construction became the secretary general. Jerome T. Lastino of PCI-Equitable Bank and Teodoro Constantino of Philippine National Bank were the treasurer and auditor , respectively. The immediate past president Don Angel Antic chaired the Board consisting of the officers and Cynthia Aragona of Palawan Cycle Center, Engr. Cipriano Barroma of Austin Keith Lending and who was then president of CREBA, Don Bobby Castro, Don Gregorio Castro of Circon Lodge and Commercial Center, Benjamin Cabrera of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Teresita Dimalanta of Avenue Enterprises, Agustin Go of Seven A Shell gas station, Chea Lok of Badjao Inn, Dante Villar of Metrobank and Lolita Zabala of Golraz Enterprises. General legal counsel was Attorney Allan Carlos.

The first order of Don Vicente’s tenure was to increase membership and as the membership increased the Office of the Secretariat was institutionalized with the engagement of The Firm General Services as its secretariat, public/press relations and events coordinator. Aside from the publication of newsletter -type bulletins or notices the recording and filling of official resolutions, minutes of meetings and activity records had been ordered by Don Vicente to be systematized. But even before all these were fast tracked, Don Vicente was quick to the draw in establishing a Presidents fund for the Chambers projects and sourced from his personal fund and given to the Chamber as a sizable cash donation to the Chambers projects.

Official joint activities with the Rotary Club of Puerto Princesa and the Palawan Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce were regularly conducted leading to the holding of a series of dinner forum with candidates for the local elections. Three contending mayoralty candidates for the City of Puerto Princesa separately held dinner fora with the Chamber in joint session with the Rotary and Fil-chi chamber. A one-on-one symposium in a debate format was also held on the burning issue of the Malampaya wealth share of Palawan. Governor Joel Reyes joined Kilusan Love Malampaya chair Ceasar Ventura in the discussion.

Don Vicente’s clans’ southeast Asian connection was rekindled during his tenure as he was sought personally by Malaysian public official James Lim of Kudat, Sabah to be in reunion with the are representatives from : Europarts –Franz Heppelien, Roxas Cable and Television- Honorio Ventura Jr. and Palawan Casbro Corporation-Tereso Montero. Also inducted as officers are the following: Internal Vice-President Simeon E. Alarcon of Maileens Merchandising, External Vice President Angel Antic, Secretary General Eric John G. yayen, Treasurer Jeromy T. Lastino, Auditor Agustin K. Go. Also inducted as chairman of the Board is Don Vicente Tan together with trustees/directors (in addition to the officers) Atty. Allan Carlos of The Firm General Services and Prudential Customs Brokerage and Services Inc., Don Gregorio D. Castro , Don Bobby Castro, Teresita G. Dimalanta, Agustin K. Go, Jeromy Lastino, Margarette Lumauag, Engr. Armando Lustre of AR Lustre Construction, Engr. Eufronio R. Reyes of Triple R Construction, Eric John Yayen and Lolita G. Zabala. Atty. Carlos continues as general legal counsel.

Pres. Gapuz lost no time in forging the international ties built by her predecessor as she flew to Malaysia in September 2004 on her personal expense and met with her counterpart to follow up on the gains of the protocol. In the same month, the Chamber hosted the official visit of immediate past national president Noemi Saludo who spoke on the ten point agenda of Pres. Arroyo and the creation of one million jobs among others. Saludo also made a tour of several in the city.

Among the many guests invited to the regular business forum of the Chamber every Tuesdays is former Depart of Tourism secretary Wilhelmina "Mina" Gabor sometime in April 2005. Gabor emphasized on the role of small and medium enterprise in nation building and shared her experiences in community development work. She also visited small scale manufacturers of souvenir goods as well as several handicraft makers.

In March 2005, the Chamber hosted fora for property owners along Rizal Avenue to conduct a dialogue with officials of the city on the widening and enhancement of the main avenue of the city. The second dialogue was held at Skylight Apartelle whereby Engr. Jonathan Magay and zoning officer Jovenee Sagun explained some details of the project. The mayor considered the suggestions of the Chamber and passed in a Resolution.

President Virgie approved the continued participation of the Chamber in the Baragatan Festival in May in commemoration of the founding anniversary of the Province of Palawan. The Chamber, through Secretary General Yayen, took the management of the construction and leasing of the private sector commercial booths.

The indefatigable Palawan-governor Joel T. Reyes, Puerto Princesa City multi-awarded mayor Edward S. Hagedorn, the legendary Provincial board members Antonio Alvarez, Ramon Zabala, Modesto Rodriguez Jr., city councilor Rebecca Labit, city administrator Agustin Rocamora, Executive Assistant Alfred Sy, congressional district chief of staff Atty. Winston Gonzales, provincial information officer Rolando Bonoan, Jr. Don Vicente Tan of the Palawan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) headed the business and civic delegation consisting of Palawan Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce president Efren Chua, Rotary Club of Puerto Princesa president Simeon Alarcon, PCCI and Rotary Club chief legal counsel Atty. Allan Carlos, Rotary Club past president Felix Lao, former Sabah resident and Palawan foreign investor Jean Pol Plisnier, former Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development assemblyman Al Babao, travel and tourism guro Eddie Nuque and copra magnate William Tan.

Prior to this official visit, a group of officials and businessmen from Malaysia visited Puerto Princesa in January. During the Malaysian visit, former Kudat mayor James Ibrahim Lim learned of Tan’s stay in Kudat more than three decades ago and when Tan told him of the twins in the house he stayed in at Kudat, Lim immediately realized that it was Tan whom the chief minister was asking to be located in Palawan. The chief minister’s father and that of Tan are old friends. According to Lim, the chief minister immediately ordered for an official invitation to be sent to Reyes, Hagedorn and Tan after he learned of the hospitality accorded to his constituents on their visit to Puerto Princesa. The chief minister was also informed of the observation that so much could be done for the mutual benefit of Sabah and Palawan in the areas of trade, tourism, education and cultural joint undertakings.


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