By Wendy Osher
Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutusi of Maui will head a delegation of more than 40 business executives to the Philippines.
This is the 23rd trade mission organized by the Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii. The group is scheduled to depart on Feb. 1, and return on Feb. 11.
This will be Lt. Gov. Tsutsui’s first trip to the Philippines. He will be joined by Philippine Consul General to Honolulu Julius D. Torres, who will co-head the delegation.
The delegation represents a diverse group of business interests, ranging from the president of an electric company on Maui to a military contractor.
The group is expected to make courtesy calls with various Philippine government officials, and will include a hosted Aloha Night welcome dinner reception on Feb. 4, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati, Philippines.
This year’s mission theme is Fostering Sustainable Growth in the Asia-Pacific Region.
FCCH President Bryan Andaya, who also serves as chief operating officer of L & L, Inc., said the theme helps to address the challenge of developing human systems, technologies and lifestyles that can provide high quality and environmentally conscious ways of life now and many generations into the future. Particular emphasis will be on developing relationships to foster the positive exchange of ideas around these principles.
The goals of the trade mission include: increasing business activity by promoting Hawaii and the Philippines as investment and tourism destinations, encouraging trade and economic activities across the Pacific region, and developing renewable and green technology.
Due to the prolonged recession, another goal is to help small businesses to thrive, despite the current economic downturn by helping companies reduce overhead through various means, including: promoting the outsourcing of labor-intensive back-office tasks; seeking new markets especially in the area of architecture/engineering and environmental consulting; and identifying new products. Because there is a need to identify options to retirement that can extend Hawai`i residents’ buying power, the Philippines as a retirement destination will also be explored.
The trade mission will be visiting major cities in the Philippines that are experiencing significant economic activity and emphasis on renewal and green technology. Cities on the list include: Manila, Makati, Laoag (Ilocos Norte), Vigan (Ilocos Sur), Candon (Ilocos Sur), and Caoayan (Ilocos Sur) particularly because of Hawaii’s ties to these regions.
Organizers note that over one hundred years ago, many of the original immigrants to Hawaii were “Sakadas” or plantation workers who were recruited to work in Hawaii’s plantation fields. Officials with the FCCH say a majority of today’s Filipino American community in Hawaii trace their roots to the provinces of the Ilocos regions.
Since its establishment in 1954, The Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii has served as a voice of the Filipino businesses in Hawaii and provides leadership in promoting Hawaii’s business community through its programs and activities.