By Joseph Pilapil
“CHANGE IS here”—this is the theme for the 2016 Visayas Area of Business Conference (VABC) to be held in this city on September 14, 15, and 16. Indeed, change has come as Ormoc City, under the new administration, is beginning to soar high in terms of investments. In fact, just a few days before the conference, a bunch of investors came over to the city hall to pay courtesy calls to Mayor Richard Gomez and city officials, and to discuss their plans of putting up a business in the city.
SM is looking forward to bring “SM Center Ormoc” into existence. It would be situated at Real Street, at what is popularly known as the City Autobus compound, formerly owned by the Aznars. Construction starts on November, SM told the mayor, and expected to finish before 2017 ends. Mayor Richard Gomez, in an interview, said he was shown the plans for the proposed mall.
“It’s a full mall, with four floors and six theaters … yes, six,” he emphasized. He added that he asked the SM people to look into the possibility of putting up a terminal area for vans and
tricycles. The mayor said the SM people told him it could be done. The mayor added that the mall would be set on a 2-hectare property. “Their only concern,” he said, “was one side
of the boundary was already the Anilao River.” He was also glad that the mall design has “ lots of parking spaces.” He said that aside from the outside parking, there are also parking
spaces on various floors.
Meanwhile, Robinsons Ormoc has already announced it was opening their mall at San Pablo area on September 17, 2017. On the same period, a mixed commercial-business hotel is opening at the downtown area, owned by the Macbuilders Group of Companies. Other business giants like Ayala and Metro Gaisano have also given word that they will put up branches in Ormoc in the near future.
Mayor Gomez said he even took the Ayala group to scout for possible locations and they expressed interest in the public market area. Another interested party is Robert Go of Prince Mall.
Mayor Gomez said he told them to send in their proposals, but added that the Philippine Ports Authority is also eyeing the property for its expansion of the Ormoc City Port.
The mayor admits feeling overwhelmed by the sudden appearance of these big investors, after a press conference about the three-day Visayas Area Business Conference event was held, and an invitation video of him, together with Vice Mayor Toto Locsin posted in the internet went viral. Meanwhile, the city government is fully gearing up for the big business gab where some 500 participants have already committed to come. Jude Abenoja, president of the Ormoc Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. which is organizing the VABC, said he was also surprised and
happy about the number of participants who have registered, aside from the speakers who have committed to be present.
As it will be in succession with the DOST’s technology transfer event, the number of confirmed participants is expected to rise on the actual conference days. With a report
from Lalaine M. Jimenea