Palayan City is the ‘new Subic’ and ‘new Clark’
From grass to glass!
This was how Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director-General Charito Plaza described the emergence of the Palayan City Business Hub (PCBH) in Nueva Ecija during the signing of the biz hub’s IT Park Development at the PEZA office recently.
The PCBH is the brainchild of Palayan City Mayor Adrianne Mae J. Cuevas, who revealed that the actual conceptualization of the business hub was made over dinner with her businessman-husband Vicente and the head honcho of Alloy-MTD Philippines Chairman Engineer Isaac David.
“We were just having dinner. My husband and Engineer David were discussing the construction of a PEZA-accredited building in the country to be financed by the Malaysian-based Alloy-MTD. When I heard that they were talking about another site (where the proposed building was to be constructed), I asked why not in Palayan City where I am the chief local executive,” explained Mayor Cuevas.
Mayor Cuevas even recalled that both his husband and Engr. David expressed doubts since the supposed location for the PEZA-accredited building is all-grass and the only establishment within the vicinity is the Palayan City Hall.
“But after consultations with the Malaysian partners, both my husband and Engineer David agreed to set up the business complex in the three-hectare grassy land in this part of the capital,” said Mayor Cuevas.
At present, what used to be an all-grass land has been developed into a sprawling highly urbanized and industrial property composed of a government building, two Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) buildings and a commercial building along with a hotel.
Since the government building at the PCBH hosts 16 government agencies, OFWs need not go to Metro Manila and other neighboring cities in order to process their documents because the PCBH-One-Stop Service Center for OFWs (OSSCO) is already here to serve them.
Senator Richard Gordon, who was also present at the PEZA-PCBH memorandum of agreement signing, described the emerging business hub in Palayan City as “entrepreneurial spirit at its best”.
Sen. Gordon further explained: “You will ask bakit Palayan? Eh bakit hindi? Unang-una, Nueva Ecija (which used to be an agricultural province) is now changing its identity into an agro-industrial area, which means more choices for our people. Poverty is an absence of choice, so by bringing it into Palayan City, we are now giving them a chance. Hindi na sila papasok sa Maynila, at maaga pang gigising. Kapag sa Maynila, hindi na nila makikita ang pamilya nila para silang OFW in their own country. Ito narito ka na sa sarili mong bayan.”
The senator from Zambales added that since the buildings are already finished and erected, there is no more need to wait since employment is already here, citing the BPO firm Sutherland that is already in place in the BPO building and is ready to start operation any time now.
“What is important is tapos na ito, sasakay nalang. Kumbaga andiyan na ‘yung sasakyan, sasakay ka na lang, aandar na yan,” said Sen. Gordon.
Sen. Gordon also pointed out that the railway scheduled to be constructed in the Central Luzon area will positively affect the PCBH operation. “Tapos may train pang gagawin ngayon. So ‘pag may train ka ‘yung industrial backbone na susuplyan mo ng raw materials, ng mga ie-export mo … This is very timely kasi right now.”
Sen. Gordon maintained that this is the time to invest in PCBH even as he likened Palayan City as the new Subic and new Clark. “Tandaan niyo parati, in business, speed is the name of the game. Madali kami makapasok, madali kami makapagtayo, madali kayo mag-invest. Walang hassle ito malinaw.”
The former administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) compared PCBH to the two free ports in Clark and Subic. “Kaya mabilis ang Subic nu’n, nakaayos na ‘yung mga building. Ang hirap maging PEZA kasi ang PEZA maghahanap ka ng lupa diyan, magde-develop ka. It takes a while pero kailangan natin ng mga developer na katulad nito atsaka local government na nagwo-work together. Gagawin ‘yung lupa pasok na kayo dito hindi na mangangapa ‘yung negosyo malinaw na ‘yung presyo. Malinaw na ‘yung may kuryente ba kayo, ano ba ng labor situation diyan, ‘yun ang importante.
Mayor Cuevas said the main reason why they constructed the PCBH is because they want the families of the Palayanos and nearby provinces to just stay in their hometown and not leave their family behind to find greener pastures elsewhere.
In the past, the opportunities for a better life was in faraway Metro Manila and the residents would usually forsake their loved ones and go to Manila or even in other countries for them to have a better life, still according to the mayor.
Now, Palayanos and residents of nearby provinces can seek employment at the PCBH or invest their hard earned savings in the business hub and be guaranteed a better life in the countryside without having to be separated from their families and friends.