ILOILO CITY Development and Tourism:
Development Updates

Thursday, October 08, 2015

APEC delegates impressed with Ilonggo culture

The similarities in culture have made some foreign delegates of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings here to immediately ‘feel at home’ in the city of Iloilo.

Carmen Azurin, a delegate from Peru, said that Filipinos and Peruvians share cultural similarities particularly in how they live their daily lives. “We were also a colony of Spain and we got our independence in 1821 but the influence of Spanish culture in our country is still there,” she said.

She said that some traditional customs and practices have survived and these have enriched the cultures of both countries.

Wan Tze Chen, a delegate of Chinese-Taipei, said she is delighted to know the long-standing relationship between the Chinese and the Filipinos in Iloilo City. “I am happy that I am from Taiwan and we share something here in Iloilo,” she said.

During the city tour for APEC delegates, one of the stops was the Museo Iloilo where they were given a brief talk on how trade between the Chinese and the Filipinos in Iloilo has flourished.

Azurin said that she would like to come back, visit other interesting places in Iloilo, and try out other local delicacies. “I have not tried ‘batchoy’ but I have enjoyed some delicacies including a fish soup and pastries made with banana. My favorite is adobo,” she said.

On one hand, Chen said she would want to visit Iloilo again and witness the Dinagyang Festival next year with her family.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Vista Land to build P40B ‘Communicity’ in Iloilo

Villar-led Vista Land and Lifescapes Inc. said that it would be expanding its Iloilo-based residential project into a “communicity” able to provide residents with everything they need.

In a disclosure, the company said the Vista City Iloilo development would be a flagship project for the Visayas, containing malls, hotels, buildings for the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry and hospitals.

It will be an expansion of the Savannah Glades project, which was the property firm’s first Iloilo development. Opened in September 2000, it now comprises seven residential enclaves covering over 300 hectares and is the largest residential community in Panay Island.

“The integration of the residential project with commercial development will complete Vista City Iloilo’s transformation into a communicity with adequate security and convenient transportation services,” Vista Land said.

Vista Land describes its “communicity” projects as “innovative masterplanned city developments designed to be completely self-contained, with vast properties that offer facilities, amenities, community structures and commercial establishments closer to a city than a mere residential village.”

The project value of Vista City Iloilo was estimated at P40 billion. It will cover about 500 hectares, spread over Oton, Pavia and San Miguel on Panay Island.

The developer said it had allocated at least 100 hectares for the city center, which will house BPO offices, shopping establishments and hotels. It will also have churches with a columbarium, events places and amusement parks.

Establishments located near the development include the University of the Philippines Visayas, Central Philippine University, University of San Agustin, and the West Visayas University; as well as the Western Visayas Medical Center and The Medical City Iloilo.

Vista Land noted that Iloilo City has been attracting major real estate industry players, is the regional capital and economic hub of the Western Visayas and is hosting Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conferences this year.

Ombudsman grants BLUE Certificate to Iloilo City’s business process and licensing office

The Office of the Ombudsman awarded this city government’s Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO) with a Blue Certification Level 2 Award simultaneous with the launching of the Investment Ombudsman here.

The Blue Certification Award, which is similar to the International Standards Organization (ISO), is granted to local government units (LGUs) that have complied with business standards set under the Ombudsman's Blue Certification Program in addressing red tape issues.

Iloilo City was able to comply with 65 of the 87 business standards, thus earning the Level 2 award. The 87 business standards cover the order and proper management of LGU ranging from the application form, requirements, procedures, information technology−enabled system, citizens charter, customer’s convenience, anti−fixing mechanism, business permit, and continuous improvement.

“Today, we commit our full support and take the challenge to increase our level, from Level 2 to Level 3,” said Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.

This city’s BPLO was the only LGU to be given the Level 2 certification outside of Metro Manila excluding Makati City. Nine assessors from the Office of the Ombudsman in Western Visayas led by acting director Atty. Philip C. Camiguing observed how the BPLO transacts business with its clients during the renewal of business permits in January this 2015.

The blue certificate will last until September 30, 2018. Meantime, the Investment Ombudsman in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Board of Investors (BOI) and the Business Community would like to ensure the good environment, security and order in business that will encourage the local and foreign investors to invest in the country.

Assistant Ombudsman Evelyn Baliton, during her presentation, showed that in 2015 the Philippines was cited to have the most number of procedures in Southeast Asia in terms of processing business documents. The procedures, requirements, customer orientation, proximity of offices, forms that are difficult to fill in are the reasons that lead businesses to deal with the “fixers” to facilitate their licenses.

However, Mabilog said that the processing of business permits in Iloilo takes only 30 minutes from three months in 2011, three days in 2012 and one day in 2013. “We encourage the investors if they would meet some obstacles in terms of investment or trade related complaints on government agency, they can always send their complaints or requests to the office of the Ombudsman.

We have our email account (IO@ombudsman.gov.ph) text (09266994703) or call ([+033] 508−9658) to the office of the Ombudsman,” said Camiguing. Investment Ombudsman encompasses even the smallest scale businesses like the sari−sari stores up to large scale business.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

JRMP II to start in February 2016

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon announced here that the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project II will be Iloilo’s contribution to the food security program of the country. Drilon said construction of the P11.2-billion project, located in Calinog, Iloilo and the biggest of its kind outside of Luzon, will start in February of 2016.

The much-awaited project was supposed to come after the first phase of the Jalaur River-based project was completed in 1983 but was shelved due to lack of funding. Once completed, JRMP II will be able to expand the area of irrigated farms in the province to cover some 32,000 more hectares with close to 1 million farmers benefitting from it. The dam project will also create thousands of jobs especially during the construction phase, generate potable water supply and hydro-electricity, livelihood from inland fisheries, and eco-tourism opportunities.

It is funded by the Export Import Bank of Korea to the tune of P8.95 billion with the P2.2 billion provided by the Philippine government as counterpart under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Drilon accompanied President Benigno S. Aquino III during the Chief Executive’s visit here September 14 to lead the launching if the Iloilo Business Park urban township development project of Megaworld located at the site of the old Iloilo Airport in Mandurriao district and the inauguration of Richmonde Hotel Iloilo and the Iloilo Convention Center.

More employment opportunities now in Iloilo

Dr. Andrew Tan, Chairman and CEO of Megaworld encouraged future graduates to stay in Iloilo and to take advantage of the new employment opportunities available to them.

“We also hope that those who have decided to work in Manila, Cebu or even abroad, will go back to Iloilo, be united with their families and loved ones because they have already found job opportunities here,” said Tan in his message during the inauguration of the Iloilo Convention Center. Tan said this is the idea of reverse migration that their townships hope to achieve and contribute to the community and to the country.

Megaworld has developed its 72-hectare property here into an urban township called Iloilo Business Park envisioned to be the city’s central business district and a center for lifestyle and tourism of Western Visayas.

Tan said with the Iloilo Business Park, they hoped to generate 250,000 direct and indirect jobs for Iloilo not just in the Business Process Outsourcing sector but also in their hotels, malls, commercial centers, residential buildings, transport, security, construction and in the convention center.

The ICC which is considered to be the premier convention and event destination in the region owned by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority or TIEZA, an attached agency of the Department of Tourism, sits in the 1.7 hectare lot donated by Megaworld within the Iloilo Business Park.

To complement the expected growth of the city’s tourism industry with the rise of the ICC, two hotels were built inside the business park. These are Richmond Hotel which was just inaugurated and Marriot Courtyard Hotel which is set to open next year with more than 300 rooms. Tan said three major players in the BPO sector have also chosen the business park as their home in the region.

These outsourcing companies are Star Trek, Reed Elsevier and Transcom. In the next five years, around 100,000 square meters of additional spaces will be completed that can generate approximately 40,000 jobs in the BPO industry.

Also, residential condominiums will also be seen rising in the next five to seven years at the Iloilo Business Park. These include The Palladium which according to Tan will become the tallest residential tower in the island of Panay.

Other support services that will be offered by the business park are the Festive Walk Mall which will bring renowned local and international retail brands to Iloilo and the Street of Festive Walk, which will be the longest retail and dining strip in the Visayas and Mindanao.

President Benigno S. Aquino III joined by Tan, Senate President Franklin Drilon and Congressman Jerry Trenas unveiled the markers of the ICC and the business park, September 14. Tan thanked President Aquino for supporting their projects and visions and vowed that Megaworld will remain committed to helping the country succeed towards economic progress.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

ICTO gears to introduce "Digital Certificate" project to Iloilo

A technology that will ensure signatures affixed in documents are genuine will soon be made available in Iloilo by the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO), an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

ICTO director for Visayas 1 cluster Frederick D. Amores said that they hope to launch the digital certificate project within the year.

He said the digital certificate will be introduced to government officials who are signatories in various documents such as local chief executives and directors.

Upon registration, a special code will be embedded into their documents such that by a mere click, a security certificate will appear, thereby affirming that the signature is real. One has to have access to the internet to verify the signature, he said.