Republic of the Philippines

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Launching of Aotearoa-Filipino Business Club opens up Economic Partnerships and Business linkages in ChristChurch, New Zealand

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Another significant milestone in the economic and business horizon was reached when a group of innovative business people and entrepreneurs and successful professionals from the Filipino community in Christchurch launched the Aotearoa-Filipino Business Club (AFBC) on 30 November 2014 envisioned to be at the forefront of fostering greater business to business linkages and closer people-to-people ties, broadening networking and building on their strengths and complementarities to move mutually beneficial business opportunities and partnerships between the Philippines and New Zealand. Philippine Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez led the AFBC’s induction ceremony for its officers and Board of Directors composed of Mr. Ronnie Guevarra, Chairman, Mr. Ronald Manalili, Vice-Chairman, Ms. Lily Bloxham, Secretary, Mr. Ron Villaseñor, Treasurer, Mr. Alfie Alojado, Jr., Director, Mr. Agnes Abuel Guda, Director and Mr. Admiral Blade Lazo, Director at the Quality Hotel Elms, Christchurch city. Ambassador Benavidez and Philippine Labour Attaché Atty. Rodolfo Sabulao congratulated the AFBC which is well poised to make great things happen given the dynamism and the bright prospects of the Philippines’ expanding relationship with New Zealand especially in the economic arena. “Our two countries and peoples are stepping up our cooperation and interaction in the priority areas of trade and tourism promotion, education, higher value knowledge processing in the ICT sector, renewable energy, dairy, environment, Christchurch rebuilding and reconstruction projects, public-private partnerships, disaster preparedness and mitigation, development assistance, among others,” Ambassador Benavidez stated.

The AFBC advances the momentum gained following the first ever event called “THE BIG LAUNCH: Building a Stronger Philippine Community in Christchurch” of six Filipino businesses in Christchurch on 18 October 2014. They are among the trailblazers that harness and capitalize on Filipino talents, artistry and creativity in key areas of specialization – cuisine and catering, web-based platform for business and community connection, news and print media, events planning and management and sounds and lights set up for functions. The AFBC Chairman Ronnie Guevarra presented the organization’s mission and vision of leading a strong and united Filipino business community, growing harmonious trade and economic ties with the private sector, financial institutions, relevant agencies and ethnic community groups in New Zealand on a wide range of civic, commercial, industrial, agricultural and tourism areas and serving as a platform to assist Filipino business enterprises and channel to generate greater networking and collaboration among its members. The setting up of AFBC is timely and opportune given the spotlight on the unfolding great economic story and significant business upswing between the Philippines and New Zealand that is happening at a crucial juncture when the Philippines continues to receive unprecedented upgrades, positive international ratings and outstanding reputation as now a favourite destination for investments and business, enjoying a resounding affirmation of domestic and global confidence. The continuing good news are very much evident when in 2013, the Philippine economy grew 7.2%, the second highest in the region. For AFBC and the many Filipinos who have made New Zealand their second home, Ambassador Benavidez enjoined each and every one of them to continue speaking well of the positive developments happening back home in the Philippines. “We need to speak more often and more loudly and share more widely about our very bright future. It is heartening to know that our friends from New Zealand who do or have done business in the Philippines continue to be our champions. We deeply appreciate their support and confidence in our country and people. There is a close synergy and complementarity between New Zealand hailed as the economic rock star of 2014 and the Philippines labelled as Asia’s Rising Tiger that will remain as one of the world’s fastest growing economy. As the Philippine economy continues to take off and soar high under the reform agenda, good governance and the straight and righteous path that President Benigno S. Aquino III Aquino has set out for all us Filipinos, let us be part of the wind beneath its wings,” she said.

A lively and interactive dinner fellowship capped the meaningful evening as the AFBC Officers, Board of Directors and the officers of the Association of Filipino Tradesmen in New Zealand invited on this occasion and other guests highlighted the huge importance of and collective resolve to continue engaging with one another and linking up with the local authorities, agencies and businesses, groups and organizations, Filipinos and the wider communities for mutual benefit and dynamic partnership.

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