- CHERYL G. CRUZ
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Sunday lauded Alliance Global Group Inc. chief executive officer Kevin Tan and Megaworld Corporation for developing The Upper East “as a center of development in Bacolod City and the rest of the region”.
Marcos formally inaugurated property giant Megaworld’s 34-hectare The Upper East by unveiling the township marker, together with Tan and Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Benitez, and witnessed by Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos, city officials and other dignitaries.
The township marker, fronting the century-old train that pays tribute to the rich history of the Bacolod-Murcia Milling Company, highlights the rise of The Upper East as Bacolod’s first large-scale master planned community, Megaworld said.
Marcos stressed that to succeed in the new global post-pandemic economy, the partnership between the government and private sector is very important.
“The partnership that we’re seeing here is a very good example of that. Megaworld has shown that this is the way forward,” the President said as he noted the “very significant and substantial investment” that Tan has been bringing and continues to pour into Bacolod.
Marcos took note that The Upper East is a very historical place as it used to be the site of the BMMC, where his father-in-law worked as head of operations.
“More than just a historical site, it will now become a center of development in Bacolod and the region. If we continue on this trajectory, I am confident that in just a few years, dadami ang quality jobs…and the effect will be very significant and will really be felt,” he added.
Tan, who also serves as the chief strategy officer for Megaworld, said the company has invested P45 billion, so far, in Bacolod, and P38 billion has been allotted to develop The Upper East.
“This investment will allow us to generate more than 500,000 direct and indirect jobs here in Negros Occidental” and Bacolod, he said.
Tan also said that Megaworld Hotels and Resorts, the country’s largest owner and operator of the 100 percent Filipino homegrown hotel brand, will also soon expand in Bacolod.
“The initial plan is to build 500 hotel rooms in the next five to 10 years in The Upper East as we envision Bacolod to become a major tourism destination in the Philippines,” the newly-declared adopted son of the city said.
“We are eager to bring our vision for The Upper East to fruition by strengthening our partnership with the Bacolod LGU, led by Mayor Albee Benitez. We are very happy to be here in Bacolod, and this is our way of contributing to the great strides that both the national and the local government have made in this wonderful city,” Tan added.
“Throughout our 33 years as a company, Megaworld has been investing in next-generation cities and provinces in the country. With Bacolod’s modern central business district rising here in The Upper East, Megaworld aligns its efforts with the government’s objectives of generating employment, jumpstarting tourism, and bringing in high-quality investments to the country,” he said.
Tan also recalled that during the recent New York trip with Marcos and other officials, several big companies, particularly the Business Process Outsourcing sector, have expressed plans to expand operations in the city. “Bacolod is very, very high on their list,” he stressed.
Tan is a member of Marcos’ Private Sector Advisory Council, a team of business leaders that helps the government discuss solutions on how to address challenges from different economic industries and sectors.
He was part of the President’s entourage that met with several companies and foreign investors in Europe and the United States and helped bring back investment commitments to the Philippines.
Tan said that investor confidence is currently at an all-time high because of Marcos’ unwavering support to the BPO sector and the entire business community.
Megaworld is also reinforcing its commitment to help Bacolod’s information technology-business process outsourcing sector grow by opening new PEZA-accredited office towers that will provide employment to around 100,000 individuals in the next five to ten years.
The Upper East will soon host its own Landers Superstore, the first in Western Visayas and the only the second outside of Metro Manila. Megaworld’s first-ever residential condominium inside the township, One Regis, has also opened its doors to the first residents.
Early this month, the McDonald’s The Upper East, which has now become a tourist destination in the Bacolod, and dubbed as the “most beautiful McDonald’s store in the Philippines” also opened.
The iconic three-level showroom, The Upper East House, which has been designed after the ‘white mansion’ that used to be part of the BMMC complex, will open next year./CGC