Iloilo draws P150 billion investments
The country’s top six business conglomerates and foreign investors are investing over P150 billion in ongoing and future projects, one third of which goes to power ventures, in Iloilo, drawn by the province’s right business environment, quality human resources and quality of life.
Company CEOs took turns to confirm these investments at yesterday’s Iloilo Business Forum, the third in a series of regional investment promotions sponsored by the USAID in Makati City. The first two being Batangas and Cagayan de Oro City, also held in Makati City.
The confirmed investments are from Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC), Phinma Corp., SM Investments Corp., Megaworld Corp., and In Japan Investments Inc.
All these investors, who come from the province, cited Iloilo’s good governance policy, skilled manpower, good infrastructure facilities, good education, rich natural resources, and local officials working together harmoniously as factors that attract them to invest in Iloilo.
Iloilo Governor Arthur D. Defensor Jr. told reporters the province has enough room to absorb all these investments.
“We are ready for that,” Defensor said noting that the local government is even spearheading the P500 million development of a new containerized port in Dumangas. The airport is also being expanded to accommodate additional international flights. At present, the airport hosts three weekly international flights and over 50 daily domestic flights.
ALI President and CEO Antonino T. Aquino told the forum that his company has invested P2 billion annually in the past two years for the development of the Ayala Techno park, which is a subset of its Makati and Global City development.
“I believe this annual investment is sustainable over the next five to ten years due to our tourism projects in the northern part of Iloilo which will be developed similar to the El Nido Palawan,” Aquino said.
Aquino cited Iloilo City’s good governance policy, good infrastructure, and adequate supply of power and water.
The only missing link in Iloilo is a major seaport infrastructure, he said.
GPBC chairman Francisco C. Sebastian said the company has $1 billion in investments already in the province mostly in power projects.
INJAP CEO Edgar J. Sia II also announced that his property firm Double Dragon Properties is the first property developer to establish residential condominium in Iloilo City in 2011 and a 21 storey building structure will be completed this year.
Sia further said that Citimall Center Inc. is investing P1.4 billion for the establishment of 5 Citi malls over a three year period in Iloilo.
According to Sia, Citimall Center Inc. is 34 percent owned by SM Investments Corp. and 66 percent by his company Double Dragon. Citimall plans to put up 100 malls in five years in the Visayas and Mindanao. Twenty five Citimalls including the five in Iloilo are expected to be in place by 2015.
“Iloilo is not only a good place to expand, but a place to start a business from scratch,” Sia stressed.
SMIC EVP and chief financial officer Jose T. Sio said his company’s total original investments in Iloilo already reached P10 billion but could have been doubled at today’s prices.
Sio noted that the quality of Iloilo’s human resources and the quality of life are two factors that make the province and city very attractive.
“The quality of people and leaders will determine the future of a country and the quality of life will be sustain that,” Sio said noting that the leaders of Iloilo are all working together in harmony in moving the province forward.
Kevin Andrew L. Tan, first vice-president of Megaworld Corp., said the country’s largest condominium developer is investing P35 billion over a 10 year period for the development of the country’s largest township called the Iloilo Business Park in the old Iloilo airport.
Tan said that 10 to 12 buildings are expected to be completed in 5 to 7 years to serve the booming IT-BPO firms, which are relocating and expanding in Iloilo given its 92 percent literacy rate.
Three of these buildings, which could house 25,000 employes are ready for turnover end this year.
Megaworld is also investing P2 billion for two luxury hotels Richmond and Courtyard by Marriott.
Ramon del Rosario Jr. said the company has poured in P7.5 billion for its power project under Trans-Asia Power and its investment in education via the University of Iloilo-Phinma, which has 7,500 students or a 30 percent increase in enrollment.
Del Rosario cited Iloilo’s quality education as part of its major come-on for investors.
Investments in the power sector are estimated at over P50 billion or a third of the P150 billion total committed.
These power investments include those of Palm Concepcion Power Corp. (P16 billion for the 270-mw power plant complex in Concepcion emfor completion in 2016 and another power plant worth P10 billion by 2019); Global Business Power Corp. (P15.6 billio); Energy Renewable Asia (P2.5 billion); Dream Engineering Co. Ltd., (P10 billion power project and cable car connecting Iloilo City and Guimaras island); and NV Vogt Singapore Pte.Ltd. (P2.5 billion 5-10 megawatt power plant).
Intracare Inc., a American firm, is also investing P150 million to P200 million for an all-suites boutique hotel in Iloilo.