Fourteen investors from Hong Kong are in Iloilo for a return mission to see for themselves how viable this part of the country for investment.
During Thursday’s investment meeting hosted by the city, Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said that following last month’s investment mission in China, “it is now the time for the investors to have a feel of Ilonggo hospitality.”
“They will look into the viability of investing in Iloilo City. We would like to showcase Iloilo City as an Information Technology (IT) hub in this part of the country,” he said.
Iloilo City is now being recognized as a “Center for Excellence” as far as IT-Business –BPM is concerned. This means that “everything that is needed by the industry is there,” said Jesraf Palmares, president of the Iloilo Federation for Information Technology (I-FIT).
He said there were 47 registered IT-BPM firms based in Iloilo employing more than 21,000 regular workers. There are also firms that are yet to get registered.
The Board of Investments (BOI) supported Iloilo’s position as a good place for IT investments citing its strong infrastructure and human resources (HR).
“There is a huge potential for this sector. HR is one of the strengths of Iloilo,” said Lubin R. Dr Vera Jr, of the BOI’s Domestic Investment Promotion Service in presenting the country’s investment climate.
Apart from the strong HR, location is also critical for investors, he added. He remarked that Iloilo was located in the heart of the Philippines.
Investing in Iloilo has been made easier with the online permit processing already available, from 27 steps the processing of new and renewal of permits is down to three and the document is ready in 15 to 30 minutes, Mabilog said.
Moreover, from 15 signatories, the city government has already made available electronic signature to further fast-track the processing of documents.
Also in place is the city government’s tax incentive provided to investors depending on the amount of investment.
Iloilo City, according to the mayor, has sufficient power and water supply while major telecommunication firms are also present in this part of the country.
Narz Lim, president of the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation assured that investors get the support not only of the city and provincial government but as well as the private sector and the whole community.
The investors were joined by Rex Aguado, chairman of the Philippine Association in Hong Kong.
“I think, we are now in the motion of exploring what Iloilo needs and what Hong Kong Hainan, China can supply. We, in the business sector would like to explore the business side of things. And we are happy to find such amazing host (and) it is so amazing to be here and I am very proud sa akon kasimanwa,” added Aguado who is also an Ilonggo.
Iloilo Business Club (IBC) executive director Ma. Victoria Lea Lara said the business sector was hopeful that more business opportunities would open up in the city and province of Iloilo after the return mission of the 14 investors.
“Now that they have taken this trip, it shows that they are really interested to come here.Hopefully, after their meeting tomorrow with the key players, they will be able to make decisions because we are really looking forward for their investments,” said Lara. (PGL/PNA)