(PN file photo)

The Puerto Princesa government will host an investment briefing in Manila on Thursday, where Mayor Lucilo Bayron will highlight opportunities in areas in the city to venture capitalists in an effort to draw in more business investments.

Some of the big names in the country’s business sector are expected to be present in the briefing on October 27, including Astoria Hotels and Resorts and Fil-Estate Groups, SM Prime Holdings Inc., Vivant Energy Corporation, and Vivant Infracore Holdings Inc.

City Administrator Atty. Arnel Pedrosa said the event is in line with the city government’s thrust to further boost the economy and expand development to the outer parts of the city.

Pedrosa particularly talked about the environmental estate, a 1,072-hectare reserve in Barangay Sta. Lucia that is being considered as a potential eco- or agro-tourism center.

Initially, Bayron has already met with Japanese and Korean firms who are expected to submit proposals. The Japanese company has said that it wants to build a convention center, and the Korean company wants to build a golf course.

“We have opened the environmental estate at may mga gusto ngang maglagay diyan ng malaking convention center na kapag na-establish na, siyempre susundan yan ng iba pang maliliit na structures like hotels, restaurants, and other establishments,” Pedrosa said.

“And then mayroon ding proposal para sa paglalagay ng fishport na pwedeng gawin dito. Dalawa yan na pwedeng yung isa gawing main fishport at yung isa doon sa rural,” he added.

He, however, noted that while international firms have already expressed interest, the city will still prioritize local investors.

“Yung Japanese at Korean, wala pa naman talagang proposal. Nagpahayag pa lang ng interest kaya lang medyo talagang malaking pondo rin ang kailangan dyan kaya hindi rin tayo pwedeng basta na lang mag-commit na kung ano yung pinakita sa atin ay yun na kaagad. Pag-aaralan pa yan ng husto,” he stated.

“At siyempre dapat, as much as possible sana, priority natin yung malalaking businesses dito sa Pilipinas, yun yung mga target nitong investment briefing. Pero pag talagang walang uubra na malalaking local businesses, no choice din naman tayo kundi tanggapin din yung offers from the outside, he noted.

Pedrosa also said that the event was a follow-up to an investment forum that took place in 2019 and was meant to bring in P26 billion in investments.

“Ang isang naging problema diyan, however, is na-stall kasi yan ng pandemic kaya hindi natuloy lahat. Although merong ibang natuloy, gaya nung ACE Medical Center,” he said.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic still lingering and considering that the economy has yet to fully regain stability, Pedrosa expressed confidence that the city will be able to attract more investors to come.

“We will entice them to invest sa mga business activities na wala pa dito sa atin na may kinalaman sa agriculture or combination like agro-tourism, or yung pwede sa night time economy,” he said.

“We will also give them tax incentives and with the assurance of stability of the city’s peace and order which is one of the country’s safest. Meron tayong ordinance for tax amnesty na for five years, they will start with 100 percent break and vanishing down to 25 percent on the 5th year,” he added.

Pedrosa also said that because Puerto Princesa is a partner with the U.S. Agency for International Development Cities Development Initiatives, it will be easier for investors to get services and do business in areas where the city and the agency can work together to keep the economy growing and developing.

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