Marcos underscores gov’t, private partnership in visit

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (3rd from left) unveils the Megaworld Upper East township marker Sunday. Looking on are (from left) DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos, Special Assistant to the President Anton Lagdameo, Alliance Global CEO and Vice Chairman Kevin Tan and Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo ‘Albee’ Benitez. (Dolly Yasa photo)

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. underscored the importance of government and private sector partnership as a vital component in the country’s bid to surge forward in the future under his administration.

President Marcos Jr.  was here Sunday afternoon for the inauguration and unveiling of the marker of the 34- hectare Megaworld Upper East township together with Alliance Global Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman Kevin Tan and Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez.

He lauded property developer Megaworld for its continuing faith in the country by pouring in investments that will help generate job opportunities for the people especially in Bacolod City.

Marcos Jr. also stressed that the government is planning to transform the Philippine economy in the next few years to be able to compete and to succeed in the new global post-pandemic recovery.

“You may have heard many, many times that we have talked about the partnership, coordination, and synchronization between the public and private sector. Megaworld and Kevin have shown that this is really the way forward to the future,” he said in a speech during the ceremony also attended by Megaworld officials and Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya and Presidential Personal Adviser and Negros Occidental Vice Governor Jeffrey  Ferrer.

“We are coming out from a difficult time in our economic history. But we see the light coming not only from one place – we see the light coming from our people, our government, private partners, individual citizens and all those who will have participated in the partnership that we are slowly forging. And the partnership that we just have seen is a very good example of that,” Marcos Jr. further said.

He also pointed out that the former Bacolod Murcia Milling Company (BMMC) where The Upper East now stands has significant connections to Bacolod City and will become more than just a historical site.

“It will become a center for development in Bacolod and I believe for the rest of the region. I am very confident to say that we will see more job opportunities, even quality jobs,” Marcos said.

He congratulated Megaworld for the new development it began and hoped to see more investments from the company and from all other groups in the country, he said adding that “Slowly we will begin to see that it will lift up the rest of the economy.”

On his part Tan said “Throughout our 33 years as a company, Megaworld has been investing in next-generation cities and provinces in the country. With Bacolod’s modern central business district rising here in The Upper East, Megaworld aligns its efforts with the government’s objectives of generating employment, jumpstarting tourism, and bringing in high-quality investments to the country.”

He also said that Megaworld is also reinforcing its commitment to help Bacolod’s information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) sector grow by opening new PEZA-accredited office towers that will provide employment to around 100,000 individuals in the next five to ten years.

Tan is a member of President Marcos’ Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC), a team led by business leaders that helps the government discuss solutions on how to address various challenges from several different economic industries and sectors.

He was part of the President’s entourage that met with several companies and foreign investors in Europe and the United States and helped bring back investment commitments to the Philippines.

“I specifically remember us sitting down with the seven largest BPO companies in the world, most of whom are already our tenants in our office developments.  The feedback that I got from them after our discussions was that they are now looking at the Philippines more favorably as a viable investment destination. Several investors have already reached out to us to discuss their plans about expanding in the Philippines, and Bacolod is very high on their list,” Tan said.

Tan says that investor confidence is currently at an all-time high because of the President’s unwavering support to the BPO sector and the entire business community.

“We eagerly bring our vision for The Upper East to fruition by strengthening our partnership with the Bacolod LGU led by Mayor Albee Benitez. We are very happy to be here in Bacolod, and this is our way of contributing to the great strides that both the national and the local government have made in this wonderful city,” he added.

Continuing its rise as the city’s first master-planned mixed-use community, The Upper East will soon host its own Landers Superstore, the first in Western Visayas and the only the second outside of Metro Manila. Megaworld’s first-ever residential condominium inside the township, One Regis, has also opened its doors to the first residents of The Upper East.

Last week, Megaworld opened McDonald’s The Upper East, which has now become a tourist destination in the Bacolod. The McDonald’s NXTGen store features the largest alfresco facility for any McDonald’s in the whole of Visayas, as well as the world’s first-ever McDonald’s Dessert Station on a train made from a refurbished century-old BMMC train.

Set to open next year inside the township is Megaworld’s iconic three-level showroom The Upper East House, which has been designed after the ‘white mansion’ that used to be part of the BMMC complex.