WITH an added 36 hectares for light and medium industrial facilities, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) Director General Lilia de Lima hopes Cebu can have a share of manufacturing and agro-industrial investments soon.

The Naga Valley Industrial Park (Nava) in Barangay Cantao-an, City of Naga expects to bring at least 20,000 jobs and further development to the southern part of Cebu.

De Lima, who was the guest of honor in Nava’s launching yesterday, said the project could not have come at a better time as the Philippines is positioned to become the preferred location for foreign investments.

“All our Asian neighbors and even Europe have aging populations. They have the capital and the technology but they lack the human resources, which we have. We are the best in the world,” de Lima said.

She said spreading out economic zones around the country creates “pockets of development” that help meet the government’s inclusive growth agenda. Cebu, she added, is a popular choice for investors because of its cosmopolitan qualities and proximity to the countryside.

“We are strongly pushing for manufacturing and agro-industrial zones. For inclusive growth, we need to strongly push for these because these companies can hire many high school graduates. Not all can afford to go to college,” she pointed out.

She said that for each worker directly hired in a Peza facility, at least five more persons get new jobs from businesses that serve around that facility.

The property, which the Primary Property Corp. (PPC) acquired from MRC Allied Industries a year and a half ago, is seen as an ideal location for industrial expansion outside of Mactan.

Plans for a parallel road

PPC president and CEO William Liu Jr. said that many residents of southern Cebu commute to Lapu-Lapu City to work in the economic zones, adding to the traffic. By spreading opportunities in the southern part of the province,they hope to contribute to easing the volume of commuters heading north every day.

He added that having more jobs for Cebuanos could give them options at home, rather than having them leave the country to become overseas Filipino workers.

He said they have invested P1 billion for the industrial park and that they have big plans in store, including a parallel road leading to Minglanilla for easier access and a two-hectare indigenous tree farm. The property can accommodate light to medium industrial facilities in industries such as semiconductors, electronics and industrial gases. The property provides construction-ready subdivided lots with support for construction of ready-for-occupancy or built-to-suit buildings.

De Lima said that if they can find just two very big companies to locate in Nava, it can attract five to 10 suppliers and multiply jobs and services around the area.

About six companies have begun inquiries.

De Lima said that some 15 years ago, the Philippines could not compete with China as a manufacturing and agro-industrial location because of the latter’s low wage rates.

However, she said the times have changed and China’s wages have risen dramatically, while the Philippines has been able to keep increases in wage moderate.

Present at the launching were Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, City of Naga Mayor Valdemar Chiong and Minglanilla Mayor Elanito Peña. Asked if there are any other areas in the province that can be developed into manufacturing and agri-industrial zones, Davide said de Lima has suggested his hometown of Argao

Chiong, for his part, assured PPC that they have the full support of the City Government.

PPC is part of the Primary Group of Builders, which has built many industrial and commercial properties in Mactan Economic Zone 1 and 2, Cebu IT Park, Cebu Light Industrial Park and Cebu Business Park.

Source: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/business/2014/10/17/naga-valley-park-opens-371615