‘No stopping Iloilo construction boom’ Iloilo breaks into Top 5 construction hubs in PH

By Rhick Lars Vladimer Albay

ILOILO City – Aside from the billions in government infrastructure projects set to rise in Western Visayas – following President Rodrigo Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” mandate – the private sector also continues to fuel thriving growth in the region, lifting Iloilo to among the Top 5 construction hubs in the country.

According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Iloilo finally broke into the Top 5 provinces with the most number of construction projects in the Philippines, accounting for 4.0 percent of the total number of building project permits approved in the second quarter of 2017 – ousting Negros Occidental from the list and coming on the heels of Cebu’s 4.2 percent.

Joseph Armand Magaway, Iloilo branch manager of Monark Equipment – the premier heavy equipment dealer in the country – attests to the veracity of the data, sharing that their company has seen the need to expand their presence and manpower in Iloilo and Western Visayas, as more and more firms invest in construction and infrastructure in the region.

“We had a small office before [near Lawaan Village in Jaro], but because of the rapid development in the Panay area, we’ve decided to expand and transfer to a new location better suited for our operation on a larger scale,” explained Magaway, during the launch of Monark’s new regional headquarters along the Iloilo Coastal Road in Barangay Balabago, Jaro – with a much larger heavy equipment inventory and rental yard available for the clients.

“We’ve observed significant growth in the region in the past three years, in fact I’ve seen Iloilo overtake Bacolod and Negros in terms of development,” added Magaway, also relating that in terms of revenue, Monark in Iloilo has surpassed its collections in Cebu.

‘NO SLOWDOWN IN ILOILO’

Among the top contributors in the Iloilo construction boom is Megaworld Corporation with its sprawling 72-hectare Iloilo Business Park (IBP) township and its Sta. Barbara Heights venture. A total of ten new BPO (business process outsourcing) buildings are projected to rise in IBP in the next ten years, paving the way for a rejuvenated outsourcing sector in the city.

“Despite all the political instability that may happen in this city, we continue to be confident in our investments here in the Visayas, particularly here in Iloilo City,”, Megaworld’s head of public relations and media affairs Harold Geronimo told the media during an event at Richmonde Hotel Iloilo on Monday.

“In the next three to five years we will continue to surprise Iloilo with our developments,” he added. “We still have almost 60 percent of the whole Iloilo Business Park that we haven’t touched. We haven’t even revealed the entire master plan of the entire township.”

Geronimo relayed that the demand for BPO office towers and residential condominiums in Iloilo remains high, prompting them to continue to “build, build, and build” to meet the requirements of the market – while highlighting Megaworld’s commitment to give back to the Ilonggo community and teasing the introduction of Festive Walk’s Casa Emperador, set to host he Iloilo International Museum of Contemporary Arts.

“Iloilo Business Park is one of our flagship town ships in the Visayas-Mindanao area,” he said. “But we’re not here to just build buildings, construct structures, we [also hope to help] preserve some bits of culture, tradition, and heritage of the city of Iloilo. And that is the vision of our chairman [Andrew  Tan].”

For the second quarter of 2017, the total number of constructions generated from approved building permits tallied at 1,754 in Western Visayas – a significant leap from the 1,225 of the first quarter. This accounts for a floor area of at least 303,413 square meters, valued at around P2,441,852,000 worth of construction projects.

The Top 10 provinces in terms of number of construction projects accounted for 45.7 percent of the total. Cavite topped the list of provinces with 4,089 constructions (11.4 percent), followed by Batangas and Laguna with respective shares of 1,715 (4.8 percent) and 1,674 (4.7 percent) constructions.

Completing the Top 10 provinces with the most number of construction projects are Cebu with 1,518 (4.2 percent) and Iloilo with 1,445 (4.0 percent), followed by Bulacan with 1,304 (3.6 percent), the Fourth District of NCR with 1,274 (3.5 percent), Rizal Province with 1,272 (3.5 percent), Bohol with 1,109 (3.1 percent), and Davao del Sur with 1,061 (2.9 percent)./PN