21 July 2022, Iligan City - Local Economic and Investment Promotions Officer (LEIPO) Eileen E. San Juan presented the Cagayan de Oro experience at the Conceptualization Workshop for the Marawi Investment Promotion and Facilitation Center upon the invitation of the USAID Marawi Response Project (MRP) yesterday, July 20, 2021, at Monlan Suites, Iligan City.

Through the workshop, MRP sought to capacitate the Marawi City local government in investment promotion and facilitation, convening heads of key city government offices, members of the Bangon Marawi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BMCCI), and representatives of other development partners including non-government organizations like Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc., towards the creation and operation of the proposed Marawi Investment Promotion & Facilitation Center.

In the open forum that followed, Mr. Marlon Libot, Chief of Party of Plan International, USAID’s implementing partner for MRP, asked LEIPO San Juan if she could recommend concrete first steps that the City Government of Marawi might take towards the realization of their own investment promotion and facilitation center.

LEIPO San Juan responded that first people would have to be assigned and the work that they would do would have to be defined, citing as an example the beginnings of Cagayan de Oro’s Trade and Investment Promotions Center (Oro-TIPC), which started with just her and a staff of two (2) organic city government personnel detailed from other offices, plus the secretary of what was then the Promote Cagayan de Oro Foundation, Inc. (PROMOTE CDO, now PROMOTE NORMIN).

LEIPO San Juan also emphasized the importance of partnerships, which in Oro-TIPC’s case, came in the form of technical guidance from what was then the USAID Investment Enabling Environment (INVEST) Project, logistical support from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and collaboration with the private sector, including business chambers, civil society organizations and the academe.

The participants, which included the heads of Marawi City’s Public Employment Services Office (PESO), City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), and City Tourism Office, thanked LEIPO San Juan and the members of her team who presented with her, namely Simonette Sagaral for Investment Marketing, and Oxanna Custodio and Hanin Laguindab for Investor Services, for inspiring them to forge on despite the challenges they face in rebuilding their city.


MRP Economic Development Head Lauro Tito Ilagan encouraged, and LEIPO San Juan welcomed, the continuation of knowledge exchange between the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Marawi, both expressing excitement at the doors that an investment-enabling environment would open for Marawi City.

Learning from each other: Cagayan de Oro LEIPO Eileen E. San Juan (center) receives a token of appreciation from the local government of Marawi City and Plan International.
With her are (left to right) Princess Tarhata Pacasum-Mangotara, Head, Marawi City Tourism Office; Alikhan Abuat, Head, Marawi City Planning and Development Office (CPDO);
Lauro Tito Ilagan, Marawi Response Project (MRP) Economic Development Head; and Cabsaran Ali A. Pacasum Jr., Head, Marawi Public Employment Services Office (PESO).
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Cagayan de Oro, 26 March 2021—Cagayan de Oro’s Local Economic and Investment Promotions Officer, Eileen San Juan, delivered a presentation at the 2021 Regional Conference of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) today, March 26.

LEIPO San Juan was featured in the Asia Global Session on Economic Recovery during Covid-19 (March 26, 10am-11:45am Beijing/ Manila Time / March 25, 10:00 -10:45pm Eastern US Time) along with Dongfang (Linda) Wong, Executive Director, ICMA China Center, China.

Her presentation, titled, Cagayan de Oro City: Growing Back Better, Leading Regional Economic Recovery, started with an overview of the regional economy and the role of Cagayan de Oro in Region X and Metropolitan Cagayan de Oro, briefly touching on the economic impact of the pandemic, before going in depth into the city’s recovery programs, particularly for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which comprise 99% of all business registered.

From baby steps to leaps of faith

She ended her presentation by sharing two success stories.

First, the launch of the W Blend, coffee made from beans grown by women farmers from different parts of the Philippines, first brought together through The Coffee Project initiative of the Cagayan de Oro Trade and Investment Promotions Center (Oro-TIPC) with the USAID Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project, the U.S. government’s Women-Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, and the Philippine Coffee Board (PCB).

The flagship brew grew out of value-chain analysis (VCA) conducted by Oro-TIPC with local coffee growers in early 2020, and snowballed into training webinars on cupping, Q-grading, coffee processing, and flavor development. The W Blend is now being served in women-owned coffee shops in key cities in the country, capping the celebration of women’s month.

Second, LEIPO San Juan featured the pivot managed by Oro Handmade Innovations, Inc., a local company founded and run by Ms. Lolita Cabanlet, that specializes in handmade paper. With virtual courses and mentoring under city’s response programs for MSMEs, her company transitioned to digital marketing, increased its online presence, and participated in in international virtual trade shows like the Paris Maison et Objet and Manila FAME. thereby capturing new markets.

The simplified module and application filing assistance also enabled Oro Handmade Innovations, Inc. to prepare a Business Recovery Plan that clinched much-needed financing for the company.

As a way of giving back, Ms. Cabanlet now shares her experience as one of Cagayan de Oro’s mentors for the courses: Joining Virtual Trade Fair and Exhibits, and How to Become an Exporter.

City managers’ converge in cyberspace

Members, like LEIPO San Juan, and nonmembers of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) share lessons learned and explore strategies and best practices in local governance at the annual ICMA Regional Conferences.

The yearly event, which gives local government professionals an opportunity to connect and learn from each other as well as to gain or hone city/county management skills with their peers in the international community, went totally virtual this year in response to pandemic restrictions.

This year, the conference focused on tools, processes, and practices for the equitable recovery and transformation of local government management and communities.

The session in which LEIPO San Juan was featured, showcased the economic recovery plans of local governments in China and Philippines during and post-COVID-19 and how they have supported their local businesses.

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