Philippines dominates ASEAN Business Awards

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 6) — The Philippines dominated the ASEAN Business Awards on Wednesday, taking eight of the possible 24 categories.

A far second were Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore with two awards each.

Four local companies were Excellence Awardees in the ASEAN's priority areas for integration. The country's oldest distillery, Destileria Limtuaco, won in the food sector. Nature's Legacy Eximport topped the wood sector, while Asian Marine Transport Corp. topped the logistics sector. Golden ABC, which operates the Penshoppe clothing line, won in the retail sector.

Meanwhile, Hapee toothpaste maker Lamoiyan Corp. won the SME Excellence Award for Corporate Social Responsibility.

Davao businessman Dennis Uy was named the ASEAN Young Entrepreneur of the year. Uy, the owner of Phoenix Petroleum, has had a stellar year, acquiring stakes in shipping giant 2GO and hospitality and culinary school Enderun Colleges.

Property developer Imperial Homes Corp. bagged the Green Technology Award, with its pioneering, solar-powered community in Batangas.

Generika Drugstore won the Inclusive Business Award, a category that has been introduced this year. A partnership between Teodoro Ferrer and the Ayala Group, the pharmacy focuses on offering affordable generic drugs.

Legacy Awards were also introduced this year for "entrepreneurs who have passionately committed themselves to growth and excellence while significantly contributing positive impact to the ASEAN Community," a statement read.

The Philippine winner was family patriarch John Gokongwei, Jr. He founded JG Summit Holdings, which owns the likes of budget airline Cebu Pacific, food maker Universal Robina Corp., as well as the Robinsons malls and department stores.

In a touching moment, founding members of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council were recognized.  Among them was Jose Concepcion, Jr. - council chair a decade ago - who stood onstage with his son and current chair Joey Concepcion.

The younger Concepcion said in his speech, "Even if my father does not remember my name, I know I have done him proud." The elder Concepcion is suffering from Alzheimer's.

Duterte: ASEAN entrepreneurs must promote local businesses

President Rodrigo Duterte also recognized the awardees, lauding their contributions to the regional economies.

"We recognize the finalists and awardees for their outstanding performance in their respective communities. We also acknowledge outstanding companies that made significant social impact through their inclusive business models which enable us to achieve inclusive growth and prosperity for all," he said.

The President urged ASEAN entrepreneurs to promote innovation, change, and economic development in the region.

"I call on other entrepreneurs in the region to…become beacons of innovation and change towards poverty eradication and economic development in your respective countries," Duterte said at the ASEAN Business Awards 2017.

Being the association's chairman this year, Duterte said the country has undertaken various initiatives to enable and nurture the local business environment for entrepreneurs.

"As Chair of ASEAN in its milestone 50th year, I consider it a privilege to usher in a new age in our regional economy-one that is motivated not by the desire for profit, but by the drive and entrepreneurial spirit of our peoples," he said.

The President said the business sector saw the nationwide promotion of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME), the development of innovation-driven economy, and the integration of women and youth in all sectors.

"We have also challenged those who achieve success and wealth to embrace inclusivity by helping our MSMEs. I now extend this call to other big businesses in the region. Embrace MSMEs in your supply chains, open up your retail stores, and integrate these small entrepreneurs into the way you do business," Duterte said.

He also urged the ASEAN countries to boost local businesses in order to "eliminate inequities" within the region.

"It is my fervent hope that all ASEAN member-states would continue to support local businesses through governmental and private endeavors that would make it easier for them to grow, flourish, and contribute to the development of their communities, their countries, and the entire region," Duterte said.