Gov. Dennis Socrates poses with Mayors Perla Bacuel of Agutaya, Richard Herrera of Dumaran and Sue Cudilla of Araceli and Ambassador Franz Michael Skjold Mellbin of Denmark before the Sulong Palawan business forum at the VJR hall of the provincial capitol. | PN photo

Palawan’s business sector hopes to expand investment opportunities and find solutions to problems by holding a forum at the provincial capitol last Wednesday.

The activity spearheaded by the Palawan Business Club, Inc. (PBCI), in cooperation with the provincial government, also aims to aid the business sector recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, PBC president Oscar Joseph P. Miguel said.

It particularly focused on energy and education, where guest speakers discussed the current status for the province.

“We want to make things work in all sectors of society, and that includes the cooperatives, so that we can help in the recovery of livelihood for all,” Miguel said.

“We want to focus on the connectivity infrastructure–communications,” he added.

He said that with large investments like Lionheart Farms in Rizal town, more potential will be unlocked not only in the province but also throughout the Philippines.

“Napakaganda ng forecast ng Pilipinas pero dito sa atin, pero malalampasan natin yung potential dito kasi mas marami tayong blessing, halos lahat ay nandito na sa atin,” he stated.

“Especially now that we are doing this because our aim is that after the pandemic, we are all in equal footing so there is a big chance that we should not let it pass,” he added.

While this forum focused mainly on energy and the Information Technology-Business Process Management (IT-BPM), Miguel also said they are planning to hold a similar forum for other sectors.

“This is actually our second meeting, the first one was back in November 2021. And we are planning to do this every quarter and the next is for agriculture and health sector,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Governor Victorino Dennis M. Socrates expressed gratitude to PBCI in its efforts to assist the business sector of the province.

The idea was to generate interest among potential investors and I think they invited some players in different sectors of the industry and the world of business. So kahit wala dito, I imagine, they intend to present yung mga napag-usapan dito, doon sa mga pwedeng tumugon sa mga pangangailangan ng mercado,” Socrates said in an interview with Palawan News.

The governor also pointed out the problems in the energy sector which was among the topics discussed in one of the plenary sessions, that he said needs to be addressed, in order to attract more investors.

“Isa sa mga napag-usapan na problema is power na kailangan talagang ma-solve, so we also need investors in the power sector,” he said, noting the solar farms in Sitio Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan as one possible solution.

“Hindi kailangang malakihan, maraming maliliit na solar hubs to solve our power problems. This is essential for other businesses like IT,” he said.

He likewise focused on the need for more skills and talent in the ITBPM where he said Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will play a key role.

Furthermore, with the conduct of the forum and with the economy slowly recovering, he expressed optimism about the outlook of the business sector in the province. He said that while the forecast might be a bit misleading, considering the pandemic, it is a positive sign.

After the pandemic, we have no where to go but up. Kaya anglaki ng GDP growth rate ng Pilipinas, kasi we started very low. Medyo misleading yun kasi hindi naman tayo ganoon kayaman pero anglaki ng growth rate na nire-reflect ngayon which is 7 percent,” he said.

“But things are really looking bright, of course we are coming from a very low point, at ang isang negative effect ng COVID is lumiit yung perspective ng local government, lumiit ang ating national tax allotment,” he said.

“I think more investors will come, especially in the power sector to solve our problem. Tingin ko may makakarinig nito kasi ibig sabihin, may market, may opportunity for players to come in and take advantage of our need in the market. Importante na napag-uusapan, we are playing it up so that potential investors will learn about our need,” he said.