BATANGAS CITY – The provincial government is leveraging Batangas’ geographical advantages and the growing interest of corporate locators in its economic zones to launch this province as a major logistics hub in the country, next to the highly congested Port of Manila and those at Subic-Clark and Cebu.
Governor Hermilando Mandanas on Monday said his administration is emboldened by the province’s long and shipping-friendly coastline, coupled with its location at the center of the fast-growing Calabarzon region, in addition to its relative proximity to the bustling and populous National Capital Region (NCR).
“The next logical step is to turn Batangas into a logistics hub. The Port of Batangas is already here in this city. There is a huge opportunity to grow the economy for the benefit of Batangueños and Filipinos in general,” he told News and Information Bureau Director Luis Morente and Philippine News Agency staffers during a meeting at the capitol.
A logistics hub is described as a centralized geographical location that brings together key business operators in logistics, such as manufacturers, shipping lines, air cargo companies, as well as third and fourth-party logistics providers, and logistics support services.
It is where raw materials and unfinished goods are stored, processed, finalized and managed before delivery to final consumers.
Mandanas also bared plans to establish a “food port” on a long stretch of coastal property close to the Batangas port.
He said the envisioned transshipment point for food seeks to expand and improve the traditional concept of a mere “fish port.”
Mandanas also recognized the information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) sector’s interest in the province as a more cost-effective alternative to the NCR.
However, Mandanas said there is still a need to harmonize the incentive policies of the various cities and municipalities in Batangas because some local government units (LGUs) here offer more attractive tax perks than others.
He said plans to develop the province and extend better services to its residents can be hastened if the Supreme Court’s Mandanas-Garcia ruling can be fully implemented at the soonest.
He added provincial and municipal leaders can be more responsive to the needs of the public if they have access to a “fair share” of the government’s tax revenues, adding that a huge portion of these revenues are, in the first place, remitted to the national government by the LGUs.
Meanwhile, the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) is encouraging the IT-BPM sector to invest in Batangas and gain access to top talent and fiscal incentives.
"Our endeavors with Aboitiz InfraCapital and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) are a huge step towards advancing the IT-BPM sector beyond Metro Manila. We encourage more industry players to consider Batangas in their expansion plans because of its huge potential to be another thriving IT-BPM regional hub,” Celeste Ilagan, IBPAP’s chief policy and regulatory affairs officer, said during a recent event.
PEZA Director General Tereso Panga highlighted Batangas’ 1 million-strong labor force among its other comparative advantages during a joint event with Aboitiz InfraCapital and IBPAP held at the 700-hectare LIMA Estate in Lima-Malvar, Batangas in October.
“Provincial regions offer a lower cost of living and doing business, along with a better package of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives. It ranks ninth among the Philippines' growth centers and boasts an impressive literacy rate of 96.5 percent, has access to mega power plants, international ports, top-notch schools, and world-class tourism facilities,” he said. (PNA)