PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan— A group of Filipino-Chinese businessmen is looking at the possibility of venturing in fish port and water system development projects in this city, and tourism investments in the northern town of San Vicente because of their competitive advantages compared to other areas in the country.
Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) vice president Mary Go Ng said their interest was kindled by a presentation Tuesday night of an interesting development master plan made by Palafox Associates.
“We are thinking of your fish port and your water system that were presented. These are very interesting for us,” Ng said in a media conference Wednesday.
She said the development master plan has not yet been officially presented for approval to the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
“We’re very impressed with your local government. Your local government presented to us a very, very impressive plan. We have never gone to any region that made any presentation like what your local officials, who are proactive, did,” she said.
Part of the presentation for the members of the FFCCCII is the Environmental Estate in Barangay Sta. Lucia, which the city government has been trying to develop into an eco-tourism park and environmental center.
Businessman Jeffrey Ng, owner of Astoria Palawan eco-friendly resort, who is also a vice president of the FFCCCII, said the competitive advantages of Puerto Princesa compared to other cities are access to abundant lands that are still very reasonably priced, the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR), and the recently opened international airport.
“I’m sure these will bring in a lot of tourists from other countries like Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea. These are your three big competitive advantages, which is why we invested in Astoria Palawan. We’ve been doing good business for the past two years, and we know it will be improving dramatically in the next few years,” he said.
Sterling Paper Products Enterprises (SPPE) owner and hybrid rice pioneer of SL Agritech Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong, who is the executive vice president and board member of the FFCCCII, said he has invested in several hectares of properties in San Vicente but only visited the area on Tuesday.
“San Vicente can really rival Boracay because it is only five kilometers of white sand beaches while San Vicente is three times longer, and has the longest beach in the Philippines,” said Lim, adding he is very optimistic about the place.
Lim said the completion of the regional airport has made investors in San Vicente very excited but it still needs to be upgraded into an international airport.
Meanwhile, paint and realty tycoon and FFCCCII president Domingo Yap said Puerto Princesa and the province of Palawan have better-run local governments that will confidently bring in more investments in the next few years.
“We saw those ambitious plans last night, and in our minds we are thinking that when we go back to Manila, we will also tell these to other businessmen. Maybe some of them might come here and invest,” Yap said.
The visit of the members of the FFCCCII in Puerto Princesa was hosted by the city government of Puerto Princesa, and the Palawan Economic Development Council (PEDCO) led by its president, Engineer Benedicto Guaño Jr.
Guaño said he hopes the businessmen would come back to Puerto Princesa and help its economic growth by investing on worthy tourism projects and other ventures.
Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida, in his message at the press conference, said Puerto Princesa has been clamoring for visitors like members of FFCCCII who can open business opportunities for residents, as well as boost the local economy.
“Right now, the biggest employers here are the city and provincial governments. But investments are starting to pour and we would like to accept more investments in the tourism industry,” he said.