Transforming mindsets
BUSINESS AFTER BUSINESS - Romelinda Garces (The Freeman) - February 13, 2020 - 12:00am

I always like good news. And listening to the speakers in the Investment Forum of Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Mandaue Investment Promotions Action Center (MIPAC) the other day, brought in that feeling of hope.

Renown property consultant and estate broker David Leechiu, the brains behind Leechiu Property Consultants brought to fore the many possibilities the Philippines has to further increase its capacity to earn by tapping its key drivers: tourism, OFW remittances and investments, IT-BPM, and tapping the urban population.

The outpouring of statistics, that we normally see in the reports on the papers but don’t usually give much attention to, opened our eyes once more to the many opportunities the recent ties with non-traditional alliances can bring. When we say non-traditional, I mean, the stronger ties we are now forging with countries like China, Russia and other nations we used not, in my younger years, to associate with based on certain ideologies we were taught to believe.

Although this is not the first time we have been educated on the importance of having strong regional ties for trade and other investments, we need to listen to it more and more, with open minds, to be able to tactically position ourselves for better economic growth and mutual gain.

His talk has made me seriously reflect on the whys and hows  and…why nots and gave me a different perspective on the importance of a strong population. Not just in number but also in their capacity to bring in more for more.

We are in lack of office spaces, hotel rooms and townships that can contain people in a certain area and thus reduce traffic. We are in need of more investors for developing the lands that are still available in Cebu, or say, Mandaue if we have to zero in to a small but fast-growing city. The large parcels of land we still see idle in the north reclamation area, can be converted into mixed-use facilities that could address some of the needs of young professionals, families that are just starting, and the senior citizens who just love to move about in a secure community.

There is a need for more  investors to help build these communities and in a sense allow families to have more time to spend with their loved ones because of the proximity of homes to their work places. Small municipalities can be urbanized in their appeal, and still keep their comfortable laid-back-by-choice way of life.

What will attract people to come and visit a country, enough to stay and invest?  Of course peace and order is very much part of it. The availability of resources, natural and financial that can further power up the economic development is another. 

Still what usually stirs the senses is very visual and experiential. Better road networks. Easier urban living that allows people a better use of their legs and not just their cars. Accessible work places and living facilities. Spaces for recreation as well as an ambiance for comfortable business negotiations. A relaxed atmosphere that cushions the rigors of business.

Opening of more spaces. Prime spaces, in a crowded city may come as a challenge to an urban planner considering the lack of actual land space. But this feat is easily met by the creative genius of  outstanding urban strategists like internationally acclaimed Architect Paulo Alcazaren whose work in Singapore, Malaysia and in the Philippines has brought him recognition for his practical yet innovative solutions to day-to-day energy-sappers like the lack of walking space, green breathers, and parks where families can converge and just take needed breaks. 

Among his popular work in the country is the transformation of the Iloilo Esplanade.  He has designed a formerly unsightly waterway into a showcase of how things can be done with the right support and attitude.

Watching the transformation of neglected heritage areas in the country, parks, playgrounds and even street corners, by the able hands of Architect Alcazaren and his team has made me dream again. Spurred further by the enthusiasm of David Leechiu and his positive outlook, I now am reliving my hope and banking on all of us, to participate in making our country, clean, green, lush, healthy and wealthy  again.

But first, we must transform mindsets.  Happy Valentine’s everyone.

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