CEMCDO Brief History
In 1990, the City Economic Management Office (CEMO), together with the City Population Management Office (CPMO) and the City Housing and Land Management Office (CHLMO) were created to address the increasing demands of the city, as it continues to develop. The City Economic Management Office was created through SP Ordinance No. 22, series of 1990, in order for the city to have a specialized department dealing with specific issues, concerns, and demands with regards to economic development.
It was the year 1999 when DTI moved to its current facility on South Osmeña Street, which led to the separation of the three divisions and one department. The Economic Policy, Research, and Investment Division and its administrative section joined the DTI, while the other two divisions were reassigned to three offices (or agencies, as the case may be), allowing the Special Projects and Cooperative Development Division to join the City Social Welfare and Development Office, and the Tourism, Cultural Promotion, and Development Division to join the city mayor's office and the Area Development Project Office.
The year 2004 saw the re-emergence of CEMCDO as a whole, as a means of re-entering the fold of individuals who had certain commonality. Needless to say, we came together in a hospital that is now the DJPRH administrative office. In 2004, we were based at this site. It is there that we are beginning to see the writing on the wall that CEMCDO will once again be a single unit. In the same year, CEMCDO activities including the Yaman Awards, Eco Karera and City Festivals were initially facilitated and as well as the logistical concerns of the department and improvement of the tourism profiles and investment promotions of the city were able to be addressed.
In the years 2005 and 2006, CEMCDO relocated to lease a commercial one-story area next to the Phela Grande Hotel, which was held by the same hotel, because there was still no place to take them in the boundaries of the city hall or any space controlled by the local government. Due to a lack of room and subsequently realizing that their movements were being restricted, they did not stay long enough and began hunting for a spot that would accommodate their growing demands.
At some point in time, thru CEMCDO in partnership with GSC Tourism Association. the City started to promote Fresh Tuna Sashimi which eventually form part of the city's culture and a must-served delicacy during weddings, parties and conventions.
The first promotion of Tuna slicing the whole tuna into sashimi slices happened at Heroes Hall, Malacanang - Pres. Ramos' time. The following day, more tuna arrived from Gensan, to be sliced during the PICPA -CAPA at world trade center where our exhibits “Romancing the Tuna” took place.
Throughout the ten years, from 2006 to 2016, the situation remained stable as CEMCDO stayed at Dadiangas East Barangay Hall without fear of being removed at some point. Then the tide turned.
On June 2013, after so many upheavals, a new building known as the one stop shop building was built, and a space was assigned to CEMCDO, making their transfer inevitable beginning on July 2016 and culminating with the blessings of the building and, in particular, the office, on September 2, 2016.
Now, the City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office has long been a leader in the field. As they continue to be the City Mayor Office's development arm in guiding the tourist and business environment of General Santos City’s approach to economic diversity as well as competition.
Under the leadership of Dr. Leonard V. Flores, department head, now assisted by Mr. Jose Kevin Sienes, Assistant Department Head, CEMCDO now operates as a seven division- department - each of which was designed specifically to meet the demands of the city.
These divisions includes the following; Tourism Division headed by Mr. Eliodoro Y. Alcaya Jr., Administrative Division headed by Mr. Leonard O. Betonio Jr., Investment Division headed by Mrs. Ellorence Cruz, Cooperative Division headed by Mrs. Maria Lessa I. Barcelona, Special Projects Division headed by Ms. Adelyn C. Yucanco, International/Domestic Relations Sections headed by Mrs. Maria Cora C. Tito, and QMS ISO Coordinating Center headed by Ms. Gladys Joy S. Jimenez.
Each division has its unique function to produce a department plan, and the divisions work under the principle of creative cooperation. These divisions complement or synergize in theoretical contemplation to attain the office mandate, which is economic progress, in a suitably definite method.
Ms. Gloria J. Mercado, MNSA , the First Department Head (DH), served CEMCDO then City Economic Management Office (CEMO) from 1991-1996. She was assisted by Mr. Dario Pampanga as Assistant Department Head (ADH).
Ms. Mercado started the operation of the department and eventually started its livelihood programs, fulfilling the purpose of its creation.
She also worked for the Tourism Office to be transferred under CEMCDO.
Ms. Rose Evelyn Lumbos is CEMCDO's second department head who served a short term of 1 year from 1996-1997 as she replaced DH Gloria Mercado in 1996. She was also assisted by Mr. Dario Pampanga as ADH.
Mr. Dario Pampanga, is CEMCDO's first Assistant Department Head from 1991-1996. He served CEMCDO as acting department head in 1997. He then served again as assistant department head in 1998-2004. He conceptualized and implemented all the activities of the Investment Division. Moreover, it was during his term when the Tuna Festival started.
Ms. Rebecca Magante is CEMCDO's OIC department head in 2003. She served CEMCDO for a year. She later served as the department head of the City Social Welfare and Development Office until she retired from government service in 2021.
Ms. Coralynn Espinosa served the CEMCDO as its department head from 2004 up to 2009. She was then supported by her Assistant Department Head, Mr. Edgar D. Cadiente. During her term, CEMCDO held office at the City Hospital, then Phela Grande, then later on at the Dadiangas East Barangay Hall.
Under her leadership, various activities were conceptualized such as the Yabong Maliliit na Negosyo (a business month celebration) Yaman Awards Night, Eco Karera, 1st Philippine Cooperative TEAM Shop, and City Festivals were initially facilitated.
In her 6-year stint as the Acting Department Head, Ms. Espinosa was able to address the budget, personnel (job orders) and logistical concerns of the department and improved the tourism profiles and investment promotions of the city.
It was also during her term when the Yaman Awards, National Tourism Week Celebration, & Miss Tourism started.
Mr. Edgar D. Cadiente ,the Assistant Department Head from 2004-2009, served as CEMCDO's officer-in-charge when Ms. Espinosa assumed office as the assistant city accountant.
However, during his stint as Assistant Department head to Ms. Espinosa, he developed the promo materials "IT's GENSAN NOW" as well as the Magandang GenSan Branding and the Core Value designs.
Through his artistic skills, CEMCDO's promo materials levelled up in terms of content and design.
During his term, the creative industry started to sprout in General Santos City.
Mr. Gabriel Francis Glenville Gonzales replaced Ms. Espinosa as Acting Department Head in 2011. He then transferred to the City Admin Office then to the Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital as he now served as its department head.
He was able to process and approve several applications for investment incentives and able to join investment and tourism-related missions.
He also able to lead the successful conduct of Yaman GenSan and Yaman Awards.
He also started the inventory of the World War II Japanese War Defense Structure (Bunkers).
Ms. Meriam Buguis was appointed in August 2011 as City Government Department Head II of the CEMCDO.
Under her leadership, the Quality Management System (QMS) was introduced. In addition, the General Santos Economic Summit was launched as department’s regular activity every two years, the purpose of which is to solicit issues and concerns from different stakeholders regarding the economic situation of the city.
Meanwhile, the City Government of General Santos, through CEMCDO, forged a partnership with the City Development Initiatives for Asia (CDIA) on the conduct of Pre-Feasibility Study on the Integrated Economic Development for Regional Trade in General Santos City.
Ms. Buguis started the CMCI data collection from the respective partner offices. She also worked in the conceptualization, proposal preparation and funding generation as well as other initiatives in relation to the Investment Action Center (Green) Building of the city. She also worked on the organizational structure of CEMCDO.
She is also among those instrumental for the establishment of the dialysis center in DJPRH.
In addition, during her term, the Klaja Karst Ecotourism Project (TIEZA funded project ) and promotion of PEZA were initiated.
Lastly, it was during her term that the PPP Ordinance was started and approved.
Her stint as CEMCDO's department head ended when she resigned in April 2015.
After Ms. Buguis resigned in April 2015, Engr. Nael Joseph Cruspero, was designated as CEMCDO's Officer-in-Charge in May 2015 until June 2015.
Engr. Cruspero is now the head of the City Planning and Development Office.
Engr. Riza Marie Paches assumed office as acting head and introduced some improvements, and automation of office processes and functions.
She served as CEMCDO's department head from July 2015 up to November 2017.
Engr. Paches introduced the centralized document tracking system, enhanced CEMCDO’s Performance Monitoring System–an online Strategic Performance Management System, automated the supply distribution and monitoring system.
Engr. Paches also worked for the Re-alignment of PPAs, Budget of 3 program funds combined into 8971 (main).
Also, she established the quarterly issue of CEMCDO Digest and the Annual Accomplishment Report of the office.
During her term also, the conceptualization & implementation of the Cultural Mapping & Museum started.
Lastly, it was during her term that the transfer of office from Dadiangas East Barangay Hall to Investment Action Center Building of the City was effected.
Ms. Leah Y. Tolimao served as Officer-in-Charge of the CEMCDO in concurrent capacity from December 2017 to February 2018. She was designated by the city mayor as acting head for six (6) months before she went back to work full time as the Department Head of the Human Resource Management and Development Office.
Dr. Leonard V. Flores, ENP, JD, MPA was appointed in March 16, 2018 and serves as CEMCDO Department Head to date. Dr. Flores, used to be assisted by his former assistant department head in the person of ENP Allan Marcilla from 2018 to 2019 then by Mr. Jose Kevin Z. Sienez, JD beginning 2021.
He worked for the reorganization of CEMCDO increasing the operational divisions and number of personnel; introduction of BEST Fund Program, GeNC Program for the Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises, Tourism Infrastructure, and GREAT Project; rationalized investment planning, pushed for the realization of Gensan Aerotropolis and Routes Development, and championed the institutionalization of Metro Gensan strategy.
Currently, through him, the CEMCDO is leading the pursuit for ISO 9001 certification of LGU Gensan QMS. Dr. Flores is also active in planning for Espacio Heneral, Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Development Masterplan, among others.