Oct 272014

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
2009-11-12 04:34
2011-08-30 01:44
Embassy Manila


DE RUEHML #2359/01 3160434
O 120434Z NOV 09


E.O. 12958: N/A

¶1. SUMMARY. The Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) visited Cagayan de
Oro, a vibrant city in Northern Mindanao, October 23-24 and
showcased the continuing U.S. commitment to the economic and social
development of the Philippines. The DCM presided over the conferral
of an internationally recognized food safety accreditation to four
food companies to which USAID provided assistance, and visited a
large U.S. business process outsourcing center. The DCM also met
with the leaders of a local Chamber of Commerce to learn about the
commercial and economic environment that stimulate increased
business in the city. She also delivered the keynote address at a
bloggers’ summit chartered to help promote positive social change,
and spoke with local media about U.S. contributions to the region.

Background: Cagayan de Oro

¶2. (U) Cagayan de Oro (CDO) is the capital of Misamis Oriental
Province and the regional center of Northern Mindanao (Region X).
It has a land area of around 489 sq.km. and an estimated population
of 553,966, making it the most populous city in Region X and the
eleventh most populous nationwide. CDO is considered a commercially
progressive business hub of the Northern Mindanao region, with an
economy based on industry, trade, services and tourism. The top
exports are products from nearby regions such as canned pineapple,
sintered ore, crude coconut oil, desiccated coconut, and milk
powder. The city is also being marketed as the call center capital
of Mindanao. However, it is still losing human resources to
business process outsourcing (BPO) centers in Cebu and Manila, which
offer more attractive compensation packages. Although CDO is the
commercial hub of the region, it has generally succeeded in
preserving much of its natural resources and is a prime destination
for tourists.

USAID’s Food Certification Assistance Project

¶3. (U) An important goal of USAID’s Growth and Equity in Mindanao
(GEM) business development activities is to substantially expand
exports of high-value commodities from Mindanao to foreign markets.
To achieve this goal, GEM initiated a program to help Mindanao
companies increase food production safety standards to an
internationally recognized level that, once certified, has the
potential to significantly expand the market presence of their
products. GEM has identified and worked with some 50-60 firms that
it believes have good prospects of achieving the Hazard Analysis and
Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification, and has already helped
four companies reach this achievement. The DCM helped confer HACCP
certificates to each of the firms, and congratulated them for their
bold and forward-thinking steps to upgrade the quality of their
products to internationally accepted standards for the benefit of
not only the owners, but also for the Mindanao economy and farmers
as well.

——————————————— ———-
——————————————— ———-

¶4. The DCM’s visit to a thriving, high-tech U.S. outsourcing center
in Cagayan de Oro underscored the positive ways our partnership with
the Philippines continue to produce economic and social benefit.
She toured Concentrix, which opened a technical center in 2005 and
created over 1,000 well-paying and highly sought-after jobs. The
site’s clients include two large U.S. network and software
companies. Concentrix’s executives told the DCM that the large
population of fluent English speakers and a cost-effective business
climate make the Philippines an attractive place to invest. The
recent storms that disrupted operations to many businesses in Manila
also highlighted the importance of diversifying in areas outside the
capital region. Concentrix also just recently opened Concentrix
Institute that, in collaboration with the Philippines government and
local universities, offers a state-of-the-art training program to
equip students with the technical and customer service skills sought
after by BPOs and information technology centers.

Let Clean Waters Flow

¶5. In 2002, the USG and Government of Japan (GOJ) signed the
Memorandum of Understanding on Clean Water for People Initiative
aimed at jointly helping selected countries achieve their Millennium
Development Goal targets for water supply and sanitation. USAID and
GOJ’s Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) were tasked to
execute the collaboration in agreement with the Philippine
Government to provide assistance through an innovative and
sustainable financing mechanism for water supply and sanitation
projects. The Philippine Water Revolving Fund (PWRF) mechanism was
designed to leverage public with private resources. USAID provided
the technical assistance to establish the fund and JICA provided a
loan to the Development Bank of the Philippines to capitalize the

Fund. USAID is also providing partial credit guarantee to private
banks through the Development Credit Authority. The DCM
participated in an initial marketing event to promote PWRF to
private banks and water service providers. She emphasized the
importance of programs like PWRF to help bridge the significant
shortfall between required funding for water projects and available
financing, and the socio-economic and humanitarian importance of
access to clean water. She then re-affirmed that the U.S. remains a
committed partner to supporting water aid in the Philippines.

Progressive Media, Positive Messages

¶6. The DCM also met with members of the progressive Mindanao
Bloggers Community at their 3rd annual summit. The founder of the
group organized both Muslim and Christian bloggers from throughout
Mindanao to express a true picture of the island’s beauty and
diversity. The Cagayan de Oro mayor first opened the summit with a
speech that reflected the substance of a breakfast meeting with the
DCM earlier that day. The DCM followed with the keynote speech at
this summit, and spoke of a vision of a prosperous, progressive
Mindanao free of conflict, full of opportunity and focused even more
on preserving its unique cultural and natural heritages. She then
challenged the bloggers to be the agents of this change, and
underscored the power that social media has to build large
coalitions that stand against violence, demand ethical governance,
and protect human rights.

¶7. The DCM concluded the visit to CDO by moderating a roundtable
discussion with recipients of the Department’s International Visitor
Leadership Program. This event, held at the American Corner in
Xavier University, included a former Philippine ambassador to
Nigeria, Fulbright scholar, and media and education executives. The
discussion focused on a rich variety of topics, including Graceland,
U.S. media sensationalism, and comparisons between our two systems
of government. In all interactions with the media, CDO Chamber of
Commerce, business and government leaders, and development partners,
the DCM underscored that the Philippines is an important U.S.
partner on a number of global issues, and that we will seek even
more ways in the future to expand our excellent relations.




Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.