The Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) and LKY Group made official the construction of the largest hotel in the Freeport with a groundbreaking ceremony, which was attended by government officials, locators, various media agencies and other stakeholders.

The groundbreaking for The Oriental-Bataan marks another significant step in AFAB’s mission to become a world-class freeport community with leading edge facilities. It also puts the AFAB in an even stronger position to lure more investors and tourists.

“We're off to what is a very promising start. This (hotel) will be a very big thing for our locators and the general community here in Mariveles,” AFAB Chairman Deogracias G.P. Custodio said.

Chairman Custodio noted that the project will generate more jobs for locals and provide convenience for existing locators and potential investors. “Because of LKY Group, The Oriental-Bataan is on its way. There are more jobs for the people and municipality and the province,” he added.

Moreover, Chairman Custodio commended LKY Group for the hotel project. “We’re fortunate to be able to come across LKY Group whose vision for what could be done here in the Freeport Area of Bataan mirrored if not surpassed our own vision,” he added.

Meanwhile, Wilbert Lee, the president and chief executive officer of LKY Group and The Oriental Hotels and Resorts, assured Chairman Custodio that The Oriental-Bataan’s club house and some of its guest rooms at the first floor will be operational by December.

“December is the time when we have our Christmas parties or any other parties, so we will have our choice for a suitable hotel. We do not have to go out our way to have events. We will have this very nice establishment here, very near where we work and live,” Chairman Custodio said as he welcomed LKY Group’s plan to start operation by the end of the year.

The municipal government of Mariveles and the provincial government of Bataan also supported the construction of The Oriental-Bataan, with Congressman Enrique “Tet” Garcia thanking LKY Group for implementing infrastructure projects in the province.

Congressman Garcia said he believes that more projects will be envisioned after the signing of the leisure hub deal with LKY Group.

On the other hand, Mariveles Mayor Jesse Concepcion described LKY’s hotel as a “big bang” project that will further boost the economic development of the town.

Under the memorandum of agreement signed by the two parties, LKY Group will transform the four-storey Hilltop Hotel into a four-star hotel to become The Oriental-Bataan, which is part of the PHP300-million leisure hub project.

Based on the deal, the leisure hub and lifestyle community project will involve the rehabilitation of about 129,170-square meter property at the FAB, which includes the hotel, club house, shopping center, auditorium and other amenities.

“The leisure hub project will further improve facilities in the FAB that can spur investments and create new jobs and, at the same time, provide work-life balance to our locators and the FAB community,” Chairman Custodio said.

The FAB is the emerging fashion manufacturing hub of the Philippines as it possesses a budding cluster of companies producing high-end brands of garments, apparel, shoes and accessories, like bags, jewelries, among others. Its vision is to be the Freeport of choice in the country by 2020, becoming a center of trade, innovation and sustainable development in Asia and promoting work-life balance and global competitiveness.

gb (Right Photo) AFAB Chairman and Administrator Deogracias G.P. Custodio shakes hands with LKY CEO Wilbert Lee during the groundbreaking ceremony. (Top-Left Photo) Congressman Enrique “Tet” Garcia (seated) and wife, Bataan Tourism Council Foundation Chair Victoria Garcia (third from left) with The Oriental Hotel and Resorts Vice President Lawrence Tan (first from left) and Mariveles Mayor Jesse Concepcion (fifth from left). (Bottom-Left Photo) Congressman Garcia delivered a message after the toast.