TACLOBAN CITY – Robinsons Place in this city re-opened lunchtime of Saturday, June 28, to the cheers of an estimated 5,000 people from all walks of life.
Robina Gokongwei herself graced the occasion, which Mayor Alfred Romualdez said was an honor for Tacloban. “I was supposed to welcome (their opening). But how do I welcome Robinsons when they never left us in the first place,” he said.
He also asked Taclobanons to cheer Robinsons for not abandoning the city and urged his constituents to celebrate the occasion. “They never left us. Not once did it enter their minds to leave us. We survived Yolanda. Together, we will survive more storms and we are here to stay!”, he stressed, with his wife Tacloban city councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez beside him.
Arlene G. Magtibay, Robinson’s Land Corporation SVP and general manager of the commercial centers division, said she was very heartened to see people shouting with joy at their opening.
She said that after Yolanda struck the city, “there were a lot of uncertainties whether makakabangon pa ba ang Tacloban o hindi na. Now, we saw a fast rising city.” Robinsons Place was totally looted by typhoon-devastated residents scrounging for goods two days after the typhoon.
She also lauded Romualdez for not giving up on Tacloban. By December, she said, the mayor hounded them to re-open at least the Supermarket. “It was a logistical nightmare to bring goods and supplies over”, she said. Nonetheless, they were able to re-open the supermarket and it “arrested the inflation of prices and the prices of goods”, a statement that was applauded by the audience.
Now, more than just a mall, Magtibay said, “Robinsons is a happy place.” She said a group of trauma counselors sent her a drawing of a Taclobanon kid who drew the Robinsons Place as her “happy place”, touching her to the core. “Robinsons obviously stuck in the kid’s memory as her happy place,” she said.
And because it was a happy place, she said, they are treating their customers to a drop in ticket prices to their movie theaters. For those who want to see Spiderman, they only have to pay P 50, and P 20 for “The Little Bossings”.
The mark down on ticket prices will be on for the next two to three months, it was further learned.
Currently, the mall has 111 tenants. Magtibay said this translates to more than 2,000 regular jobs for the workers and employees of the mall and tenants.
The re-opening was highlighted with the ceremonial turnover of 50 pedicabs to Tacloban pedicab association president Henry Caber by Robina Gokongwei herself.
Another highlight was the “E-studyante” program of Procter and Gamble. P&G turned over to the Marasbaras Elementary School 100 Samsung and iPad tablets.
Providing entertainment to the audience were popular stars Denise Laurel, Paulo Avelino and Ms Philippines Earth 2013 Angelee delos Reyes.
Present also during the re-opening activity were 1st Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Philip and Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, Tanauan Mayor Pel Tecson and Tacloban vice mayor Sambo Yaokasin. By Lalaine M. Jimenea