Pampanga Rising

By: Jess Nicdao

The new terminal of the Clark International Airport will significantly boost the airport’s current passenger capacity.

Twenty years ago, the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry assumed the role of the provincial chamber with a mission to rebuild, rehabilitate and restore Pampanga’s economy from the ashes of an epic disaster—the eruption of Mt Pinatubo. Priming countryside business became our dictum. And our direction was to unite the business community of Pampanga into a single voice, to advocate for a business-friendly local environment, and to promote Pampanga as a viable investment destination.

This stage of Pampanga’s development is certainly exhilarating and, at the same time, exceedingly daunting, especially to sustain and maintain. But preparedness and awareness are key to resiliency.

Decongesting Metro Manila

The quality of life in Metro Manila is at an all-time low and experts recommend the setting up of urban areas outside Metro Manila to help prevent an implosion that will affect the whole country since it serves as the economic and financial nucleus of the Philippines.

In fact, our advocacy to decongest Metro Manila had “for our country’s sake” as a qualifier. If a major disaster strikes the center of development, the hub of investments, and the seat of the national government, which is Metro Manila, while the countryside remains underdeveloped, or worse, not developed at all and unprepared, the entire nation’s economy will be affected and we will all suffer the consequences. As a countermeasure, we need to prepare the countryside.

We committed to “transform the local economy into one that is vibrant, competitive and integrated into the national and global business community”. Ever since then, we endeavored to carry out our sworn mission, embarking on advocacies that prime countryside business and undertaking activities that enhance the capabilities and abilities of our homegrown companies and open opportunities to more local and foreign investors.

A developed countryside will foster a business environment that is conducive to investments, and where job productivity is maximized because travel time from work to home is pleasantly short and free from traffic congestion. It is where health, personal safety, a sense of belonging, emotional and financial well-being, work, social relationships, and quality of environment are assured and nurtured.

We endorse and support responsible business practices that yield the triple bottomline–people, planet and profit, in this particular order of priority.

Stimulating economic activity

To further promote countryside development, the national leadership has embarked on a mega project–the Build, Build, Build, program–which we believe will help stimulate economic activity in all the provinces.

Our region, particularly our province, will be one of the first beneficiaries of this project and this early, the business sector in the countryside is beginning to realize the magnitude of economic activities the infrastructure improvements in and outside Clark will generate in the countryside.

And we are grateful that this is now happening. We now see Clark International Airport being endorsed as an international gateway to Central and North Luzon. The new, expanded terminal has been completed and we expect a steady increase in visitors and flights at the airport once the restrictions are lifted.

The construction of the Manila North Railway between Clark and Manila is now in full swing and the Clark to Subic railway will start soon. Did you know that the province hosts the most number of SM Malls at four and there is one more that is coming. We have three Robinsons malls, a Vista Mall, Nepo Mall and a lot of arcades all around. I must also say that Pampanga now have 50 Jollibee outlets. These all will tell you the kind of market that we have here.ADVERTISEMENT

Welcoming Rockwell Land

Complementing infrastructure and businesses is the development of many residential facilities and mixed-use communities. Most, if not all, of the country’s biggest developers are now in Pampanga and we are delighted to welcome the entry of Rockwell Land in Angeles City. We hope it will expand in more areas in Pampanga and Central Luzon.

PamCham, through our advocacies, helps bridge the gap to facilitate coordination between business and government to properly draw and execute the roadmap of countryside development and economic progress.

In return, we must always champion good business practices, remain compliant with government policies and regulations, stay committed to our obligation of providing employment to our fellow Kapampangans, and remain conscientiously caring and protective of our environment.

The author is the chairman of Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry


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