Saturday, December 6, 2014

NE Capitol, Malaysian investor to set up world-class gov’t center cum trade hub

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija – A giant Malaysian conglomerate which bankrolled the construction of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and the Calabarzon Regional Government Center (CRGC) has tied up with the Nueva Ecija provincial government to establish a P1.5-billion, world-class new government center and business hub in this provincial capital in what is considered yet as the single, biggest Capitol project under the Umali administration.

The mega-project, dubbed the Nueva Ecija Government Center-Central Business Park (NEGC-CBP), was unveiled during ground-breaking ceremonies at a 3.4-hectare site in Barangay Singalat at the back of the newly refurbished city hall.

Gov. Aurelio Umali, who conceptualized the mega-project, said it is a joint venture between MTD Philippines, a subsidiary of Malaysian conglomerate Alloy MTD, and the provincial government under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme. The province was the first local government unit (LGU) to enact a PPP Code.

Umali led the ground-breaking rites for the project along with third district Rep. Czarina Umali, Mayor Adrianne Mae Cuevas, Dato Azmil Khalid, chief executive officer of Alloy MTD Group of Malaysia and head of the Malaysia-Philippines Business Council (MPBC) and MTD Philippines president Isaac David.

The project site was donated to the provincial government by the city government under Cuevas whose husband, renowned businessman Vince Cuevas, helped spearhead the negotiations. 

The Cuevas couple said the mega-project is labor-intensive and will generate a whopping 13,000 jobs, 10,000 of which in call centers alone, with the rest to come from the operations of the various commercial establishments, the hotel and the government offices.

Alloy MTD, based in Malaysia, is a leading Asian infrastructure conglomerate operating in the global market, with projects in 13 countries, notably the United States, United Kingdom, China, Australia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Chile.

Aside from infrastructure, its track record covers a wide range of operations from civil engineering and construction, manufacturing, energy, port operations, real estate and property development and operation and maintenance.

It has extensive experience in the development of world-class mountain roads, highways, bridges and in geotechnical works, highway maintenance and erosion control.

MTD Philippines is Alloy MTD’s investment arm based in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City with interest in infrastructure development and energy.

Its avowed mission is to establish world-class one-stop shop regional government centers in one accessible location per region across the country through PPP.

Umali said some of the firm’s big-ticket projects are the P3.9-billion, 36-kilometer SLEX in Calamba, Laguna which was completed in February 2012 and the P2.5-billion CRGC, dubbed the “Complete City” in Barangay Mapagong, also in Calamba housing offices in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Quezon.   

The mega-project in this city, which will be finished in two years, was undertaken after MTD Philippines submitted an unsolicited proposal to develop the property donated by the city government to the provincial government by leasing it to the Capitol for 50 years, extendable for another 25 years.

To be constructed in the site are buildings for government offices with retail and commercial spaces, two state-of-the-art business process outsourcing (BPO) buildings, a 75-room business hotel and plaza to serve as activity center.  

The main building will be occupied by national offices that will relocate from the heavily congested Cabanatuan City to  consolidate all services in one location.

The provincial government is also eyeing, in tandem with a  consortium of private investors, to set up an information technology hub at a 15-hectare site in Cabanatuan City.

          In 2011, Antheros Corporation based in Muntinlupa City, has submitted an unsolicited proposal to the provincial government for the development of the “Nueva Ecija Core Business Hub.”

          The group is eyeing to construct modern office buildings, BPOs, call centers, a conference center and exhibition hall, business hotel, upscale residential facilities, medium-rise condominiums and shopping, entertainment, tourist and restaurant facilities in the site.

          Based on reports, IT firms now prefer to go to the provinces where it is more laid-back and the standard of living is lower compared with the fast pace of city life in the metropolis.

          Umali said the BPOs will be beneficial to many Novo Ecijanos who are known for their proficiency in the English language, harnessed by the language skills institute set up by the provincial government. (Manny Galvez)

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