Mayor Lucilo Bayron in ANC on September 12, 2019, in "Unlocking Puerto Princesa's Economic Potentials".

Puerto Princesa City has already received around P23 billion investment pledges ahead of its planned business forum with the private sector in Manila and the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE).

Mayor Lucilo Bayron said in a September 12 guesting on ANC that the pledges are from delegates that the city government invited to the business forum that will be held on September 25 at the Luzon/Visayas Ballroom of Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City.

“We have received pledges from the delegates that we invited of about P23 billion and I hope we’ll be able to get more on the day of the investment forum,” Bayron said.

He said the investment pledges are toward the expansion of existing businesses in the city, some pioneering enterprises, and more ventures in the tourism and agriculture industries.

In the coming business forum, Bayron said the city government will present potential investment ventures in business process outsourcing (BPO), more hotels, and establishment of an economic zone in four properties under either a long-term lease, private-public partnership (PPP), or joint venture.

“We are pitching for the establishment of additional tourist destinations, more tourism events so we can attract more tourists, more accommodations, restaurants, commercial buildings, and BPO buildings. We can do this and we will,” he said on unlocking the potentials of Puerto Princesa.

Call center hub with PEZA help

Bayron believes that Puerto Princesa is now ripe for the establishment of its own BPO hub right at the back of the City Coliseum where the fiber optic network cable runs along.

He said it is possible with the help of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) under chairman Charito Planas whom he had already met.

“We are thinking of being able to set up BPO facilities that are covered by PEZA — they do this, it’s possible,” he said.

Bayron cited SITEL, a BPO company in the city that now has over a thousand call center agents from different parts of the Philippines.

He said he had initially discussed the establishment of a BPO hub with Planas who said: “It is possible”.

”We’re looking for investors to put up the building. We have a six-hectare property in the center of the city — that’s where the City Coliseum is. At the back of that, near the main road where the fiber optics run along, we are proposing for the setting up of BPO buildings. We don’t have the funds to construct the buildings so, we’re asking investors to do that for us,” Bayron said to ANC.

Bayron said tax incentives can be given by the city government to new businesses that will set up ”anywhere” in Puerto Princesa.

The ordinary tax incentives they give, he added, is for ”preferred industries”.

He said the city government is willing to offer free tax for the first five years.

”On the first year, we allowed 100 percent tax credit for local taxes. This is graduated in the second year to 75 percent, 50 percent in the third year, and 25 percent in the fourth year. On the fifth year, they start paying their local taxes,” Bayron 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.