Business-friendly city
HIDDEN AGENDA - Mary Ann LL. Reyes (The Philippine Star) - June 19, 2019 - 12:00am

Pasig used to be known for its pristine 25-kilometer river that connects Laguna de Bay to Manila Bay. Descriptions of this city painted a rural town east of the Philippine capital with rice fields dotting its landscape.

Not anymore. After 27 years and without so much fanfare, Pasig has transformed itself into a bustling business center, featuring a mix of offices and upscale housing, popular for mall complexes in and around the Ortigas Center area. Hip eateries serving modern Filipino fare cluster in the Kapitolyo area, and parks like the Greenfield District host weekend markets with local food and crafts.

As of 2003, it has been reported that Pasig is host to 18,000 business establishments, including big companies such as San Miguel Corp. and Jollibee Foods Corp.

Its top taxpayers include South Premier Power Corp., Jollibee Foods Corp., Young Trade & Services Corp., San Miguel Energy Corp., Pag-Asa Steelworks Inc., First Gas Power Corp., Toyota Pasig, LG Electronics Phils., Union Bank of the Philippines – head office, and Ustecs Phils Inc.

The number does not include locators in the Ortigas central business district which has 80 multi-story buildings that house an average of 90 establishments each or an estimated 7,200 offices.

The Ortigas Center is one of the top business districts in the country with numerous high-rise office buildings, residential condominiums, commercial establishments, schools and malls.

Pasig is the third biggest city of the National Capital Region in terms of land area, covering 4,846 hectares out of NCR’s 63,600 hectares.

As of 2015, it is home to 755,000 people, represents the fifth most populated city in the NCR after Quezon, Manila, Caloocan, and Taguig. Yet it is only eight among the most densely populated cities of NCR at 22,008 per square kilometer.

What makes Pasig attractive for business?

According to outgoing Pasig City Mayor Bobby Eusebio, they were able to provide an enabling environment for business to thrive.

It only takes three to four hours to have a business permit, while locational clearances can take longer.

Another thing that sets Pasig apart is that 337.63 kilometers are paved yearly with concrete. There are also 3,839 streetlight poles. Meanwhile, some 201.02 km. of drainage have been improved.

Over the long term, an underground subway that will link Pasig to other cities in NCR, as well as a flood control system by the national government, has made Pasig flood-free, making living for the Pasigueños more comfortable.

In terms of people empowerment, the city government was able to establish water lily processing centers even as it supports the marketing of water lily high-value products, to regularly provide employment for 1,000 to 2,000 students in its summer program for employment service, improve mega markets for Pasig vendors, increase microfinancing loans from P5,000 to P10,000, expand technical courses offered by the Pasig City Institute of Science and Technology, and increase the frequency of job fairs for Pasigueños.

To create a base of entrepreneurs, the local government came up with the Easy Pondong Pasigueño, a loan assistance program that is interest-free, generally for those engaged in the retail business such as sari-sari stores. This facility has generated 30,525 entrepreneurs and has lent out P84.2 million so far.

Meanwhile, the city has received three ISO 9001:2015 certifications. It was also recognized in 2018 and 2017 by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry as the most business-friendly LGU due to its innovative governance, resulting in the increase of enterprise and total investments.” Also in 2017, it was cited by the Department of Information and Communications Technology for its e-readiness.

An excellent mark of 91 percent was also granted by the Civil Service Commission for Pasig City’s efforts to abide by the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.

Incoming Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto definitely has big shoes to fill.

For comments, e-mail at mareyes@philstarmedia.com

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