This file image is a 2018 photograph of Xiamen, China, taken by Jay Huang and uploaded to Flickr by Dagger.

A group of Chinese investors recently visited Puerto Princesa to explore various business opportunities, including establishing direct flights from three major cities in China to Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

City Tourism Office (CTO) chief Demetrio Alvior Jr. said Saturday that one of these cities they are looking to connect with Puerto Princesa is Xiamen, located in southeastern Fujian near the Taiwan Strait.

The proposed route is intended to operate three times a week, connecting Xiamen to Palawan via the Puerto Princesa International Airport. He said the Chinese businessmen have already conducted a feasibility survey and were encouraged by its results.

In addition to the aviation sector, Alvior said they expressed interest in putting up microchip manufacturing in the city, capitalizing on Xiamen’s reputation in the computer and communication equipment industry.

Alvior said the investors appear to have connections with former President Rodrigo Duterte and his son, Davao City Mayor Baste Duterte.

“Pumunta sila dito at marami silang gustong investments. Namimili sila ng mga cities na gusto nilang tulungan. Mga kakilala ito ni Baste at ni dating presidente Digong—siguro yong mga nakilala doon noong nagpunta siya sa China,” he said.

“Nagsusurvey sila kung ano yong puwedeng ipasok na investments. so isa yan, yong airlines. Yong isa naman, parang may nabanggit silang microchips na dito gagawin. Pati sa mga solar gusto nilang mag-invest. Gusto rin nilang magdala ng mga electric car—mura daw doon. Marami silang mga investors na dumating dito,” Alvior added.

Alvior stated that Mayor Lucilo Bayron provided them with informational materials regarding Puerto Princesa, detailing where they can invest their capital for business purposes.

Additionally, he said that the city mayor, along with other city engineering representatives, traveled to China and arrived there on September 28. They have been invited by the investors to visit various tourism sites in the country.

They will also explore a housing initiative in China that has the potential to become a blueprint for Puerto Princesa, a beneficiary of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino Program.

“Isa sa mga titingnan nila doon, yong model na pabahay ng China. Di ba kasi recipient tayo ng pabahay program ni PBBM? Tapos may mga titingnan din sila na mga destination na puwedeng iduplicate sa atin sa Puerto Princesa. China government ang nag-invite sa kanila doon—part yan ng mga Chinese investors na bumisita sa atin,” he elaborated.

When it comes to domestic flights, the city’s tourism sector reportedly aspires to establish air travel connections to Cagayan de Oro, often referred to as “the heart of Mindanao.”

Last week, the Clark to Puerto Princesa route was also launched, with Cebu Pacific being the current carrier serving this destination. Philippine Airlines may potentially join in the following year.

“Kailangan natin itong mga ito kasi connectivity. Ang Palawan is an island so ang form of transportation lang para ma reach mo itong Puerto Princesa is either air or sea. Pero mas favorable ang air kasi mas mabilis,” Alvior said.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.