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A Roller Coaster Week for Negros Island

Game of Thrones Philippines : Winter is Coming to Negros ...or something like that.
MAKATI, Philippines - I was up in Baguio the other week for the Media Congress, which is somewhat a world apart from the discussions on sugar.  I was there wearing my hat as an advertising guy enjoying the camaraderie of not so old friends from McCann-Erickson, who are now scattered in the different media agencies.

While the Media Congress kicked off at Camp John Hay in Baguio on Thursday, September 7, 2017, the “Sugar and More” Negros Summit went on at the Sugarland Hotel in Bacolod City.  I followed a bit of it from the slides posted by a friend on her Facebook wall.

“Sugar and More” Negros Summit, was spearheaded by the Negros Occidental Investment and Promotion Center as a proactive initiative in response to the growing challenges affecting the sugarcane industry, that, if not addressed effectively will ultimately affect the economy of Negros.

From a brief, I read that the two Negros provinces need to reexamine their strategic positions in terms of economic direction in relation to the rest of the country and Southeast Asia, and to find ways to strengthen the agricultural economy while developing other avenues for more investments, growth and job creation.

And with that, my FB friend posted a few slides from the Summit with these thoughts:

I commented on this photo on Facebook, "Thanks for posting this. I have to say though that this slide is a flashback of 1993 prior to the WTO-GATT agreements. If you recall, the militants were in the street with placards "Batukan ang WTO GATT". 24 years on we're somehow addressing the same thing.

Moving on after the GATT in 2000, Mardi Mapa-Suplido gathered the up and coming leaders of Negros aged 40-years-old and under in a two day summit called Negros 2020.   At that time, we were only being introduced to the internet and email.

Negros 2020 Summit with Negros Occidental's future leaders.

I'm sure there have been more summits, conferences, and fora on the state of Negros Island and the future of it from year 2000 onwards.  Even the Negros Congress comes in mind.  So, is this to say that the last summit was a useless exercise of talking about the same old thing?

My answer to that would be "Not at all!".  In fact, I would have to commend former Governor Rafael "Lito" Coscolluela, now the provincial consultant on investment and promotions, trade and export development and inter-agency coordination for stoking the flame because we need it.  There are so many changes coming about which time and again, call for us to adjust our sails and ride with the wind so to speak.

In today's world of technology, it's like Agile software development wherein requirements and solutions evolve through the collaborative effort of self-organizing and cross-functional teams.  The factors besetting Negros Island require constant fora and banging of heads (literal at times) so that we can advocates adaptive planning, evolutionary development, and continuous improvement. 

Rapid and flexible response to change is the order of the day.  It is easier said than done but surely, we can do it.  The ability to transmit and capture information is a lot easier these days and we can even meet online via Skype or Viber on Desktop.


Ending on a high for that week with conclusion of the
“Sugar and More” Negros Summit, the enthusiasm was given a douse of cold water when President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday that he would want to abolish three government agencies, including the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) in a speech he gave on Saturday at the Mindanao Business Conference and Expo in Cagayan de Oro City.

As expected, an official interpreter for the President's semantics came to the rescue on Sunday, saying that
“It was not really a definitive pronouncement”.  Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he was under the impression that President Duterte was just floating an idea on the abolition of the Sugar Regulatory Administration.

Through it all, it was an event filled week for Negrosanons.  Whatever the outcome, we've proven to be resilient to such buffeting.  We just need to be prepared, wiser and faster this time.

As is the motto of House Stark, one of the Great Houses of Westeros in the Game of Thrones, we should be of the mindset that "
Winter Is Coming" .

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