News feature: Ilocos Norte posts economic mini-boom

LAOAG CITY, July 17 (PIA) — The laid-back economic landscape of Ilocos Norte is being transformed to one with a bustling business activity.

The local economy expanded from 8.4 percent in 2011 to 12 percent this year, based on the province’s income accounts.

“Business tycoons like Henry Sy, Lucio Co, John Gokongwei, Senator Manny Villar are now doing business with us,” Gov Imee Marcos said. “Only GIs (Genuine Ilocanos) are lagging behind in terms of investing in Ilocos Norte.”

Real estate developers like Robinsons’ Homes and Camella Homes are presently occupying vast lots for their housing units which are both near the Laoag International Airport while SM Hypermart is developing its new branch in Laoag next to SaveMore which opened last year.

Marcos said the province’s income rose to more than P1 billion this year, from P707 million in 2010 when she began her term.

She credited the income improvement to the province’s efficient collection and belt-tightening measures coupled with local business ventures that the local government opened up beginning last year.

She noted that the province’s improved income came partly from the revenues generated by the La Tabacalera commercial arcade and tourist centers at the Badoc gateway in Badoc town.

Both commercial establishments were built by the provincial government for lease with private businessmen.

Marcos also rolled out more business activities and economic developments as she began her second year as governor.

Public buildings in downtown Laoag were leased to commercial developers namely the Ilocano Heroes Hall to accommodate SM Hypermart. The public building used to house offices of national government agencies and provincial departments and some business outlets.

Marcos is also would like to attract business processing industry in Ilocos Norte following the endorsement by the Business Processing Association of the Philippines of Metro Ilocos as the “next wave cities.”

She said universities are now polishing their courses for English proficiency since BPOs will be the next big thing for the province. (ANL/CCA-PIA 1 Ilocos Norte)

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