Tarlac, finally

BUSINESS SNIPPETS - Marianne Go - The Philippine Star

It took some time, but finally Tarlac may truly be on its way to development as a world-class city that will properly gain international recognition as one of the major cities in the Philippines where international businesses may want to invest in.

Tarlac’s industrial development has been a long time coming even though it is historically important to Filipinos for the Capas Death March and is the province of the Cojuangco family that includes the late industrialist Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. of San Miguel Corp., and former presidents Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino and son, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.

Unfortunately, while the Cojuangco family owned vast tracts of sugar land in the province and politically represented it in Congress, they did not do much to truly develop and grow Tarlac City and the province.

Instead, now helping to make Tarlac achieve the goal of truly being an alternative to Mega Manila, Cebu, and Davao is the Aboitiz Group through its Aboitiz InfraCapital Economic Estates. Interestingly enough, the Aboitiz family’s roots started in Leyte and spread throughout the Visayas, and is now based in Mega Manila. Likewise, the younger generation of the Aboitiz clan has strengthened its ties with the Ayala family through marriage.

Leveraging its three decades of experience as the leading industrial developer in the Philippines, Aboitiz InfraCapital has recognized the significant potential of Tarlac’s strategic location (which had been pointed out in the past with the development of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac triangle linked by the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway or SCTEX and the various projects of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority in the former Clark US military base in Pampanga and the Tarlac New Clark City project.

TARI Estate

Last May 7, Aboitiz InfraCapital unveiled its fourth industrial-anchored, mixed-use economic project called TARI Estate, which spans 200 hectares of prime industrial land at its initial phase and will serve as a catalyst for economic expansion and job creation, offering world-class facilities and amenities provided by Aboitiz affiliates which include power, water, construction, financing, smart city technology and government support.

Leading the groundbreaking ceremonies were Aboitiz president and CEO Sabin Aboitiz, Aboitiz InfraCapital president and CEO Cosette Canilao, PEZA director general Tereso Panga, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Tarlac City Mayor Cristina Angeles and Aboitiz InfraCapital Economic East head Rafael Fernandez de Mesa.

According to Fernandez de Mesa, Aboitiz InfraCapital’s economic estates in Batangas and Cebu are already thriving hubs, encompassing over 1,600 hectares of development, housing nearly 250 leaders in industry, generating over P155 billion in investments and employing over 100,000 Filipinos. TARI Estates, De Mesa said, would build on that legacy started in Batangas and Cebu.

Trade Secretary Pascual said the development of TARI Estate, along with the mission of attracting foreign investments to locate within the estate, would create employment for Tarlac City and nearby municipalities that would create a multiplier effect.

Aboitiz InfraCapital believes that by integrating diverse asset classes such as retail, office spaces, residential areas, dormitories, warehouses and hospitality, TARI Estate will differentiate itself from conventional industrial parks and instead create a dynamic lifestyle hub that enriches the overall experience for its community.

TARI Estate, together with LIMA Estate, which is already a highly successful 900-hectare industrial park in Batangas, will form a strategic network within the Luzon Economic Corridor, the Philippine government’s comprehensive infrastructure development initiative aimed at enhancing connectivity, strengthening supply chains and fostering economic growth across Luzon. It would position Aboitiz InfraCapital Economic Estates as a key player in driving regional progress and facilitating seamless collaboration between businesses, industries and communities.

Sabin Aboitiz, the Aboitiz Group’s head, is part of the Private Sector Advisory Council or PSAC that is helping President Marcos with his economic development plan for the country.

“Our expansion into Tarlac underscores our commitment to supporting the government’s vision. We see ourselves as partners, providing world-class facilities to help investors capitalize on the Philippines’ advantages,” said Fernandez de Mesa.

Tarlac City Mayor Cristina Angeles described the project as one of the biggest fruits of her administration’s efforts to ensure a truly business-friendly environment in Tarlac City.

PEZA DG Tereso Panga, for his part, said that TARI Estate would soon join Baguio City, Lapu-Lapu City, Cavite, Batangas City and Laguna City as highly urbanized cities (HUCs) that form part of the top 10 richest cities outside of Metro Manila, where nine out of 10 host special economic zones.

New online business portal

Former Philippine Daily Inquirer business news editor Dax Lucas is launching his own business portal today that he teases will offer “news that opens the door to the one percent mindset.”

Dax, of course, is well known and respected in the business community for his market moving and corporate “shaking” stories, as well as deep-throat business gossip stories in PDI’s Biz Buzz column that was eagerly awaited by the business sector.

Dax’s new platform will offer a different take on business news reporting that will hopefully once more spice up the business world and offer a competitor (?) to another online platform, Bilyonaryo, which has made quite a reputation for itself already. Let the games begin!

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