Albee Benitez, provincial consultant on economic affairs

The Visayan Daily Star BY CARLA P. GOMEZ Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Albee Benitez, provincial consultant on economic affairs

For mer Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, provincial consultant on economic affairs, yesterday said his office is working on enticing investors in manufacturing to relocate to Negros Occidental.

The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has made manufacturers realize that they should not put all their investments in one geographic location, as the China lockdown has crippled or slowed the operations of many firms, he said.

That is why the country’s taipans are in agreement that it is a golden opportunity to lure these manufacturing investors in China to provinces in the Philippines, Benitez said.

“So, hopefully, we can convince some to these manufacturers to set up office in the province so that they will have diversity of the supply chain,” he said.

“We are exploring all of these potentials and trying to find a way to incentivize their investing in Negros,” Benitez said.

“We are working at capturing some of the fall-out investments from China for Negros,” he said.

He has already communicated with some interested parties, Benitez said.

The Provincial Economic Development and Investment Center ( PEDIC) which he heads has been busy writing letters and sending out feelers to potential investors, he added.

Benitez said for all these things to work what is needed is infrastructure in place – seaports, airports, connectivity, power and water.

He said at present the tourism industry all over the world is suffering from the COVID-19 scare.

He noted that even Magikland in Silay City, Negros Occidental, has been affected.

There have been cancellations of visits by big groups, he said.

However, Benitez said he does not see that the COVID-19 crisis will last long, they are saying, probably another two to three months.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer Frank Carbon, Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said f or now, there is no way to know how the COVID-19 crisis will affect potential investors.

“What is certain is investors’ confidence is wobbly because of so many uncertainties. Will the virus go away quickly or not? How severe will its damage be? Can it be contained? There is no way to know,” he said.

Carbon believes big ticket investors will vacillate for now.*

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