PCCI pushes private sector-led developments

Erwin P. Nicavera

THE Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) is pushing for private sector-led developments, particularly in infrastructure, to further speed up the country’s economic growth.

The PCCI is holding the two-day 43rd Philippine Business Conference and Expo at The Manila Hotel in Manila City, which runs until Thursday, October 19.

Themed “Giant Steps: Taking the Leap Forward,” the annual gathering gathers local, national, and global leaders from business and government sectors.

This aims to further look into other synergies and strategies needed to create a more competitive business and investment environment leading to the envisioned economic transformation by 2022.

PCCI Western Visayas and Negros Island Regional Governor Frank Carbon, who is attending the event, said the chamber has recognized that in terms of infrastructure projects like airport, private sector-led developments are faster than government initiatives.

Carbon said they believed that “if they have the capacity, then the developments should be given to the private sector while the government will just utilize its little resources in other areas which cannot be entered by the former.”

The PCCI cited that in the last 10 to 12 years, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is mainly attributed to efforts initiated by the private sector and very minimal from the government.

This year’s conference underscores the push for private sector-led developments, which will surely result to geometric increase if the government fully realizes its “Build, Build, Build” projects, Carbon said.

The PCCCI is also urging local government units to venture into more partnerships with the private sector to improve their major facilities like markets and terminals.

“Once materialized, this will really bolster the economy of Negros putting it at par and competitive with Cebu in terms of attracting more investments,” he added.

Most business-friendly city

During the opening rites Wednesday, the PCCI awarded the plaque of special citation to Bacolod City as one of the top three most business-friendly cities in the country.

Bacolod is the only highly-urbanized city outside Metro Manila included in the top list, along with Makati and Quezon.

The three edged other finalists, including cities of Iloilo, Parañaque, Caloocan, Davao, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Lapu-Lapu, Olongapo, Muntinlupa, General Santos, Tacloban and Zamboanga.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia received the award from PCCI president George Barcelona, conference chairman Jose Leviste Jr., awards committee chairman Samie Lim, and former PCCI president Donald Dee.

The final awards night will be held in today’s activity of PCCI, with President Rodrigo Duterte as the guest of honor.

The local business chamber said the recognition proves that Bacolod City as well as the whole of Negros Occidental is in the investment radar.

Carbon said private sector investments are increasing, which means investors have recognized that their businesses will really grow here despite the challenges in the sugar industry.

“The rapid growth of investments is one of the criteria,” he said, adding that the service sector including retail, hotel and other developments are driving mainly, about 60 percent, of the local economy.

In 2007, Bacolod was also named Most Business-Friendly City in the country by PCCI.