ILOILO CITY – Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. has urged the business sector here to help address the gap in the local economy and create a strong middle class in the province.
“We have a gap. We need to process our food, our ingredients, our agricultural products into something else and create business and employment in the process, and create that kind of middle class coming from the (start-up) entrepreneurs and our farmers,” he said in his message when he presented Iloilo’s development thrust during the awarding ceremony of the first Ilonggo Entrepreneur Awards of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) -lloilo Chapter on Wednesday afternoon.
Defensor said his administration is keen on maximizing agricultural production and making agriculture and food the centerpiece of the province’s tourism industry.
The province, according to the governor, also wanted to have a share of the expanding business process outsourcing (BPO) industry by developing growth areas to serve as investment centers for information and communications technology (ICT).
“In the end we want to create a strong middle class in the province. Most of them we want to come from the agricultural sector because that is where our people are who shall be financially capacitated clients and customers of the province’s service industry and commercial establishments,” he added.
However, Defensor said the direction of the province is “private sector driven” and will not happen without the entrepreneurs.
“I would like to thank you and invite you to help fill the gaps in our economy. What you are doing right now is correct but there are more challenges and opportunities in the city and province of Iloilo,” he said.
Meantime, three entrepreneurs in Iloilo were recognized by the PCCI Iloilo chapter during the first Ilonggo Entrepreneur Awards.
Rina Malones, a full-time nurse and entrepreneur won the Aspiring Ilonggo Entrepreneur Award. She started her business at the height of the pandemic in June of 2020 delivering food to healthcare workers.
From a PHP2,000 capital, she was able to open three branches and is now earning a seven-digit income.
Meantime, Honorato Espinosa also known as Tiyo Tatoy -- owner of Tatoy’s Manokan and Seafood -- got the Ilonggo Entrepreneur Award.
The 91-year-old businessman started his business with just three tables in a bamboo makeshift way back March 8, 1968.
Currently, his business has several branches in the city and province of Iloilo and is one of the most sought-after destinations for local and visiting guests.
Theodore “Ted” Valderama Jr. of Angelina’s Bakeshop bagged the Young Ilonggo Entrepreneur Award.
Back during the pandemic, the Angelina Bakeshop was among the four pioneer Ilonggo firms that pooled their resources to create the Ilonggo Pandesal distributed to poor families in the city. (PNA)