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A consultation meeting with Pampanga Chamber of Commerce Inc. was held on February 21, 2014 at Carworld’s conference room. This was led by no other than Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. It was attended by top business leaders in Pampanga with the intention of propagating a development plan with the caption, “Inclusive Growth means looking Beyond Metro Manila.” The meeting was a success as shown by the attendees such as the owner of Laus Group and PamCham Chairman himself, Levy Laus; President of PamCham, Jim Jimenez; and the Vice President, Jess Nicdao.
As was presented by the Senator, last year the bulk of the budget for infrastructure developments were allocated for projects located in NCR. It showed that 8 out of 10 major ventures were centered in that region. Only 2 projects were identified to be located outside of the said area and these are the Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project and the Mactan, Cebu International Airport Expansion. A development plan for 2011-2016 was also displayed showing that 15 New Road infrastructure for Metro Manila is to be expected. The government is still geared towards developing the country’s capital. Senator Cayetano expressed his concern about the city’s continuous congestion which shows his support to PamCham’s advocacy to “decongest” Manila. A great part of the country’s resources is apportioned towards developing the city further, thus resulting to further congestion. The development plan that Senator Cayetano wanted the members of the Pampanga Chambers to facilitate is one that will bring the business growth from manila towards not just Pampanga, but to the neighboring City of Olongapo, or more precisely, Subic Freeport Zone. The potential of Clark Freeport Zone was verbalized. Both as part of a railroad project stretching from Legaspi to La Union and as a principal port of entry. The Senator wants this group of talented entrepreneurs to come up with a plan that exhibits Clark Freeport Zone’s potential as a principal port, inventories of areas resources, etc.
During the meeting, Mr. Laus voiced out his opinion about decongesting Manila as well. We are aware about the impending 7.2 magnitude earthquake that is expected to hit the city in the future. He referred to how all the businesses are gathered there as “putting eggs in just one basket.” If we do not take action soon and allocate the resources and develop other areas of the country, as a whole our country, our economy, will suffer from the after effects of the fall of Manila. Economy is a driving force of a country. The business community can provide the government additional directions for the country to prosper. For instance, to promote other ports of entry, the government can also provide incentives for those who will prefer the ports outside NCR. With the development plan they intend to initialize, it can pave the way for the growth of Clark and Subic Freeport Zone. As the Senator expressed, as one facility in an area is developed, the surrounding expanse follows.