To strengthen the public-private partnership in the province, maximize its economic resources, and generate profitable opportunities for the Ilokano community, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) hosted the 1st Ilocos Norte Business Forum at the Arabella’s Events Place on July 29.
The forum, which was spearheaded by PGIN’s Ilocos Norte Trade and Investment Promotions Center (INvest), was attended by organizations composed of government agencies, businesses, companies, and trade organizations, among others, specifically the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, and members of tourism and food establishments associations, the development council for local entrepreneurs, bankers association, renewable energy sector, and private sector.
In his message, Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Marcos Manotoc highlighted the inclusive character of his administration’s economic development road map, saying;
“We will do it our own way and do it responsibly. We want to make sure that even with the influx of investments and development, our local businesses are included and that it is done beneficially for all and fairly for all local stakeholders.”
He then urged the members of the Provincial Board to revisit and improve Ilocos Norte’s to ensure sound financial incentives for new investments and businesses in the province.
During the forum, Gov. Manotoc also stressed the importance of upgrading local ports to increase the potential of Ilocos Norte as a prime destination for investors for the benefit of the Ilokano people:
“Our Laoag International Airport has already been under the process of improvement and has been upgraded from Level 5 to Level 6, with the end goal of becoming a Level 9 airport which can host large aircraft from international destinations. And we have Currimao and Badoc ports, which we would like to further improve. Kasi alam naman po natin na when it comes to commerce, the sea ports really lead the way especially in terms of economy and affordability.
“We wish to fix our ports and establish economic zones, which will then truly open up Ilocos Norte not only to the country but more so to the region. We aim to be the gateway to East Asia and the commercial hub of Northern Luzon.”
Participants had the opportunity to consult with the Governor and heads of INvest, the Provincial Public Employment Service Office, and the Provincial Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Office. A speed networking session was also conducted to establish a stronger business connection among the participants.
Furthermore, to address potential barriers to the investment and business climate in the province, Gov. Marcos Manotoc has pledged to continue improving the delivery of utility services to ensure the welfare of many stakeholders in the business sector.
“We also have to address certain local issues like our cost of electricity, stability of utilities, electricity, water and connectivity. We will continue to work on these things, especially our electricity and our connectivity, because we know that these are absolutely crucial na kailangang affordable at stable for any business to truly thrive,” he said.
“Bilang inyong Gobernador, I am with you and I ask you, let’s work together for the betterment of our province,” he ended.－Edison Justin B. Deus, PGIN-CMO