This year’s Philippine Business Conference and Expo (PBC&E), the country’s biggest gathering of businessmen and policymakers organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), staged on October 16 and 17 at the Manila Hotel was a huge success.
PCCI Vice Chair Dr. William S. Co, who chaired this year’s PBC&E, beamed with pride on the highly successful staging of the annual event which was opened by Vice President Leni Robredo on the first day and the awarding of outstanding business leaders and closing rites led by President Rodrigo Duterte and other top government officials on the second day.
Co said their different committees worked really hard in the past seven months to make sure the 45th PBC&E at the Manila Hotel will live up to its billing as the most important business event in the Philippines. It was a huge success, he shared. The event had for its theme “Enabling Business in a Digital Economy”.
“We did a lot of work. We invited VIPs, experts, speakers to become our guests. We also went around the country to invite our regional members to come and attend this special event,” he enthused.
Co said the top agenda of this year’s PBC&E is President Duterte’s massive infrastructure buildup under the administration’s BBB (Build, Build, Build) scheme. Businessmen, he noted, hoped that with the private sector support, all the major infrastructure projects lined up by the government will be completed in the next three years to vastly improve the country’s investment climate.
Aside from infrastructure, Co said experts also shared ideas on how businesses can thrive in the digital-driven economy, with complex developments such as big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and ecommerce impacting business operations. Other major topics included agriculture, food security and environment.
“We welcomed everybody, not only businessmen. We also had an expo and franchising as well as tourism seminars.” The expo was opened by the spouses of the PCCI board of directors.
Co, who is presently PCCI Director for Agriculture and Fishery, said more than 1,000 attendees participated in the 45th PBC&E. Before facing the serious issues in the conference, however, the businessmen converged at the Eastridge Golf and Country Club on October 15 for a round of golf. “It was an opportunity to exchange business cards, get together and know each other before the big event,” he further shared.
PCCI president Ma. Alegria Sibal Limjoco said their Board unanimously picked Dr. Co as chair of this year’s PBC&E because of his vast experience in the field of information technology; he owns and runs the ICCT Colleges.
“We wanted Dr. Co to be the face of the 45th PBC&E with its theme related to information technology. For the past 20 years, our registration has always been headed by Dr. Co. He has the people to demonstrate ICT, and even ushers and usherettes who are techie,” Limjoco emphasized.
Co has been a business leader and advocate for decades now. He is also currently the treasurer of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, an Executive Committee Member of the Export Development Council, a Trustees of the Philippine Exporter Confederation of the Philippines, Honorary Consul of the Consulate of the Republic of Namibia, and Assistant Treasurer of the Consular Corps of the Philippines.
Aside from his active involvement in export promotion, he was also a former Philippine Agriculture Attaché to China. As an active advocate of modern agriculture and mechanized farming, he is very interested in promoting hybrid rice and corn, modern fishery and aqua resources, and Philippine export of tropical fruits around the world. He helped establish the Phil-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology (PhilSCAT) in the Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija. Co also founded the Philippine Colleges & Universities China Studies Association (PCUCSA).
Dr. Co was born on July 29, 1947 to a rice miller and sugar planter family in Lubao, Pampanga. He finished his BS in Engineering at the University of the Philippines and his MA in Business Administration at the University of Santo Tomas.
Co was conferred his Doctor of Humanities title by the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in 2004. Later, he was conferred the prestigious San Antonio Pierozzi Award in 2005 and St. Antoninus of Florence award in 2014 by the University of Santo Tomas. He was a Gawad Rizal Awardee in 2012 by the Rizaleno Sulo of Rizal Province, and was presented the Outstanding Educators award by the Philippine Association for Graduate Education in 2015.
He founded and chairs the ICCT Colleges, DCLC Diagnostic and Medical Center, and has held various corporate executive positions at the Victoryland Corporation, Victory Management and Development Corporation, Tagumpay Realty Corporation, Contronics Computer Technologies, Inc., Omnibus Bio-Medical Systems, Inc., BlueGold Marine Farms and Processors Corporation, BlueGold Bio-Gen Corporation and VC Securities Corporation.
His extensive business experiences in the past 45 years involved engagements in various fields including agri-machinery; and industrial, medical and information technology facilities. He actively promotes bamboo planting and modern agriculture, and supports SME countryside development as a core project of PCCI.