Beng takes pride in Zambo’s boom (‘The sleeping giant has awakened’) PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 13:38

by VIC LARATO

In her third state of the city address yesterday, Mayor Beng Climaco took pride in the fast transformation of Zamboanga City under her first three-year term—with a growing and robust economy, bustling industries, and resilient human resource.

“The sleeping giant of Mindanao has awakened!” Climaco declared, referring to Zamboanga City is now ready to propel itself to greater heights in the coming years.

In the latest National Competitiveness Council, where the cities and municipalities are ranked on economic dynamism, government efficiency and infrastructure, Climaco boasted that from an overall rank of 74th in 2014, Zamboanga City now ranks 15th among Highly Urbanized Cities and 14th among all cities all over the Philippines based on the results of the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index for 2015.

“We rank 3rd in Infrastructure, 15th in Government Efficiency and 26th in Economic Dynamism.

Climbing a BIG leap was remarkable as this has proven that if we set our hearts out to show our love for Zamboanga City, we will achieve, we will be victorious and competitive on top of other cities all over the country.”

This, she said, is the hard work of the women and men in government, the support of the private and business sectors, the dedication of personnel in uniform, the resiliency of the people from all walks of life, and “our passionate love for Zamboanga that led us to where we are today.”

She thanked the previous administrations for setting the foundation of what “we are reaping today.”

“Cong. Lobregat tu esfuerzo durante tu administracion y otro pa maga admnistracion ta esta reconocido y apreciao. Todo estos ya contribui para el progreso del Ciudad,”

Climaco described the year 2015 as a breakthrough year for Zamboanga and that the city is better-positioned to more opportunities for growth this 2016.

“Let’s make 2016 a year of more action and less talk to push for a more progressive Zamboanga. We have built back better and now we will do more!” the mayor said, to a rousing 39 applauses that interrupted her 1 hour and 32 minutes SOCA at Paseo del Mar’s Centro Latino convention hall.

“We are now experiencing the dynamism of our local economy,” the chief executive said, stressing that Zamboanga City has generated P2.3 billion in new investments in 2015, which translated to 7,837 new jobs and reflecting a 97.95% total employment rate for the year that was.

She cited specifically the Grand Astoria Hotel as a recipient of the city’s incentives for its expansion project for Perlita Hotel and the Royce Convention Center, which opened early May this year.

Also, the expansion of the Yap group of Companies was welcomed by the city in August last year with the inauguration of the Southwest Asian Canning Corporation in Talisayan.

“The resilience and confidence in investing in sardines and tuna showed by this company has uplifted our hopes of retaining our prestige as the Sardines Capital of the Philippines while providing thousands of jobs to our constituents.”

The City’s first national mall Prime Double Dragon Commercial Centers Incorporated or City Mall opened one out of two ventures in the last quarter of 2015.

And the latest yet the biggest mall in the Zamboanga Peninsula, KCC Mall de Zamboanga, opened just before the year ended. Along with the last two malls came the simultaneous opening of new stores, most of which are the first ones in the city and in Mindanao.

The year 2015 was indeed a great year for the city, Climaco said the investments in the hotel industry soared, Palacio del Sur, Ever O, Winzelle Suites, CT Boulevard are newly opened for business.

The Department of Tourism (DOT)-accredited accommodation rooms swelled to 225 in 2015 with the opening of four new hotels. The year also gave way to the opening of 22 financial institutions, 6 gasoline stations, 3 hotels, 1 canning factory, 1 private school, 4 malls, 3 shipping lines, 2 car dealers like Toyota and Honda, 51 restaurants and 68 agri-fishery related businesses, among the many investments on record.

Homegrown Yubenco Malls opened two branches while Budgetwise is expanding to the West Coast.

“Our booming business environment also brought forth tremendous growth in the areas of public health and tourism” with the new Zamboanga Peninsula Medical Center in Putik and recently, WMMC’s take over and upgrade by Metro Pacific of Manny Pangilinan’s Group of Companies, which also manages the Makati Medical Center, the Asian Hospital, Cardinal Santos Hospital, to name a few. It is now known as the West Metro Medical Center.

This year (2016), Climaco told the legislature that her administration envisions bigger and bolter steps to keep Zamboanga City moving forward with dynamism and vigor—organization and strategic planning is really the key.

“As we expand Zamboanga City, we not only look at a three-year plan, but prepare the city for the next 30 years and 50 years.— Vic Larato