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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

ILOILO and Guimaras will have a “coming out party” of sorts during an investment forum in Metro Manila that will feature the two areas as future investment hubs in Visayas.

The Iloilo Economic Development Foundation, Inc. (ILEDF) will host the Iloilo-Guimaras Investment Forum on September 4 at the Hotel Intercontinental Manila. 

The forum will present investment opportunities and prospects in the areas of information technology and communication, tourism and agribusiness in Iloilo City, and in the provinces of Iloilo and Guimaras.

The half-day forum opens with a commercial exhibit at 8am.

The keynote speaker is Ramon del Rosario, Jr., new chairman of the University of Iloilo, and president of PHINMA Group which recently acquired the university.

Del Rosario will tackle their company’s belief in investing in education in Iloilo.  

Other speakers who will participate in the forum are Oscar R. Sanez, president of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines; Narzalina Z. Lim, former tourism secretary now president of Asia-Pacific Projects, Inc. Tourism and Hospitality Consultants; and Jesus N. Alcordo, president of Global Power Business Corp., which is presently building a coal-fired power plant in Iloilo. 

Aurelio R. Montinola III, president and CEO of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, will deliver the luncheon address.

In a statement, ILEDF said Iloilo and Guimaras make for an attractive investment proposition because of their development-oriented and business-friendly local governments, backed by a young and highly-educated population, a strong OFW sector, air, shipping and telecoms infrastructure already in place.

The coal-fired power plant project which will be completed in 2010, is expected to solve inadequate and expensive power supply.  The ongoing flood control project which will be completed next year will also ease flooding in the city and its suburbs. 

The good mix of cultural and natural attractions makes Iloilo and Guimaras the tourists’ delight, further highlighting their preparedness for socioeconomic growth.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE new president of an influential business organization in the country vowed to help the city and province of Iloilo rise to economic prominence provided that problems on power and water shortage are solved first.

 

Alfonso Uy, the newly elected president of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII), said the two problems besetting Iloilo must be solved first to encourage investors to come to the city and the province.

 

“Many investors are interested in Iloilo but they are hesitant because of our unstable and expensive power and water supplies,” Uy said in a phone interview with The Daily Guardian Monday.

 

Uy was elected FFCCCII president April 6 during the federation’s 27th Biennial Convention at the SMX Convention Center at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City. He is the first Visayan president of the federation.

 

FFCCCII is composed of 170 member organizations nationwide and one of the most influential business organization in the Philippines today.

 

Uy also chairs the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation (ILEDF) which promotes the city and province of Iloilo as the future investment site in the country.

 

Uy said they are pushing for projects which are “fundamentally needed to promote Iloilo.”

 

“One good news is the construction of the coal-fired power plant of the Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC). We expect the price and supply of electricity in the city and province to stabilize once the project is completed and goes online between October and November 2010,” Uy said.

 

Engr. Adrian Moncada, GBPC vice president for commercial operations, told the Iloilo business community in a forum on power issues last Friday that the 164-megawatt power plant will be completed in the last quarter of 2010.

 

“Landfill development is currently ongoing in the 24-hectare site and actual construction will start by July or August this year,” Moncada said. 

 

As regards water supply, Uy said they are looking at the long-term supply that will cater to big investments in Iloilo.

 

He cited the integrated irrigation system project of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) which got the support of the World Bank.

 

The NIA project will construct a water dam in Lambunao which has capacity of 360 million cubic meters. The project will also create an irrigation canal system.

 

“The integrated irrigation project will irrigate our farmlands the whole year and supply water to Iloilo City and the towns along the distribution lines. It will mean increase in agricultural production and stable water supply,” Uy said.

 

ILEDF has requested NIA to revisit the study on the integrated irrigation project to find out if it’s still feasible.

 

“We have to revalidate the data of the study to find out if it’s still feasible nowadays to address the water shortage,” Uy said.

 

Uy said solving the power and water problems are the key to Iloilo’s prominence in “sunshine industries” such as the business processes outsourcing sector.

 

“If we solve these concerns, it would be easy to attract members of the business community to invest in Iloilo,” he added.

 

Two years ago, a major call center investor moved to Bacolod City because of high power rates in Iloilo City.

ILED president Rex Drilon

ILED president Rex Drilon

Biz group slam guvs’ anti-coal letter

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

AN umbrella group of business organizations here slammed the five Western Visayas governors who called for the revocation of the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) of the proposed coal-fired power plant of Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC) in LaPaz, Iloilo City.

Ilonggo business executive Rex Drilon, Iloilo Economic Development Foundation, Inc. (ILEDF) president, said the actions of the five governors led by Salvacion Perez of Antique are “deplorable” and the “work of an evil hand.”

ILEDF is an umbrella organization of 14 major business and professional associations tasked with promoting business, investments and tourism in the city and province of Iloilo.

The Iloilo City mayor, Iloilo provincial governor and provincial DTI director are ex-officio members of the ILEDF board of directors. The group represents more than 350 small, medium and large businesses employing thousands in Iloilo.

The proposed coal power plant is a joint project of GBPC with the Formosa Group of Taiwan and will cost P18 billion, the biggest investment ever in Iloilo City and Panay Island.

“The actions of the Western Visayas governors, save for Iloilo Governor Niel Tupas who did not sign the petition, are mysterious, defy logic, border on interference on the affairs of other independent local government units and are anti-business and anti-investment. It is as if an evil hand is at work,” Drilon said.

Drilon, chief operating officer of Ortigas and Company Limited Partnership, expressed disbelief at Gov. Perez’s position “particularly because five years ago, she signed a memorandum of understanding with KEPCO, a Korean power company, to set up a 100-MW coal plant in Antique.”

“And today, Antique has a 15-MW coal power plant, which uses an older technology, operating in her province. If a coal plant was good enough for Gov. Perez in Antique why is she now objecting to a coal plant in Iloilo City?” Drilon said.

The ILEDF president also debunked the claims of the five governors that GBPC’s coal-fired power plant will pose danger to their constituents staying in Iloilo City

“That is hilarious and shallow. All the concerned parties went through a long, rigorous process to assure that the coal plant will be ideally situated and pose minimal adverse impact on residents and the environment. We went through another protracted process to secure the ECC. The benefits to our communities are undeniable and unquestionable,” he said.

Revoking the ECC issued to the project proponent will result in investor flight, straining Iloilo City’s economic development, Drilon added.

“With the ECC approval, contractual and supply commitments had been finalized by the investors. If the ECC is cancelled as proposed by Gov. Perez, the investors will be left holding the proverbial bag – this is no way to promote investments in our country and will only confirm the perception that, indeed, in this country, we change the rules of the game in the middle of the game,” Drilon added.

Drilon said the 164-MW coal power plant of GBPC, “together with the 100-MW coal power plant of DMCI Power in Concepcion, Iloilo, were designed to assure adequate, reliable, quality and cheaper electricity for the whole island of Panay in many years to come.”

“Ilonggos were banking on these power plants to solve their perennial brownout problems and high cost of electricity – obstacles to the attractiveness of Iloilo as an investment and tourism destination.”

BRIGHT SPOT Iloilo Gov. Niel Tupas Sr. stresses Iloilo role as an IT investment destination during the investment forum of the Iloilo Information Technology Week at Amigo Terrace Hotel Tuesday. Listening are (L-R) Antonio Jon of ILED, Atty.  Giovanni Miraflores, Rex Drilon II of ILED, and Dr. Glenn Aguilar of IFIT.  (Photo by Tara Yap)

BRIGHT SPOT Iloilo Gov. Niel Tupas Sr. stresses Iloilo role as an IT investment destination during the investment forum of the Iloilo Information Technology Week at Amigo Terrace Hotel Tuesday. Listening are (L-R) Antonio Jon of ILED, Atty. Giovanni Miraflores, Rex Drilon II of ILED, and Dr. Glenn Aguilar of IFIT. (Photo by Tara Yap)

Iled now confident of promotional campaigns

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

SELLING the city and province of Iloilo to potential investors is a cinch with the looming construction of a coal-fired power plant in LaPaz, Iloilo City.

Rex Drilon II, Iloilo Economic Development Foundation president, said they will mount a major investment forum in Metro Manila late this year to push Iloilo to serious investors.

Drilon, the chief operations officer of Ortigas Co. and Limited Partnership, said they have been planning to mount the forum “but various problems, especially in the power sector, stopped us from going all-out.”

Drilon said the issuance of the environmental compliance certificate to two coal-fired power plants proposed by Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC) and DM Consunji, Inc. will put Iloilo in an attractive position in the eyes of investors.

“We can now go full steam ahead with our marketing efforts for Iloilo. With these two power plants combining for more than 200MW of power, we have more than enough and investors will surely flock the city and province,” Drilon said.

GBPC, the mother company of Panay Power Corp. which is the sole power supplier of Iloilo City, is the proponent of the coal-fired power plant at Brgy. Ingore, LaPaz.

DMCI is proposing to construct a similar plant in Concepcion, Iloilo.

During the IT Investment Forum at Amigo Terrace Hotel Tuesday, Arman Lapus, GBPC executive vice president for commercial, assured businessmen that their company will deliver the plant in 2010.

“Cheap and reliable power supply will be available in time for the projected boom in the information technology sector. With the issuance of the ECC, we can deliver the plant by end of 2010,” Lapus said.

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