Negros Occ. officials optimistic about economic growth in 2012
BACOLOD CITY — Government and business leaders in Negros Occidental on Monday expressed optimism about the economic growth of the province in 2012 amid high investor confidence.
Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said the province’s economy was projected to post a 7 percent growth due to increased Bureau of Internal Revenue collections, higher government savings and a reduction in corruption that resulted in more public trust in government and investor confidence in the country.
Marañon said he would work to make Negros Occidental self-sufficient in rice, to revive the aquaculture industry and to create more information technology jobs in the province in 2012.
Marañon said their target is for Negros Occidental to be self-sufficient in rice by the end of the year.
He said the provincial government has given the Kabisig rice cooperative in Bago City P5 million to improve its rice mill, other facilities and warehouse.
The provincial government has plans to help Kabisig go into palay buying and to set up rice processing centers in Bago City, San Carlos City and in the Himamaylan-Binalbagan area, he said.
“We will also revive the aquaculture industry in the province that has a huge potential,” Marañon said.
A recent survey in the Pala-pala market in Bacolod City showed that only five percent of the fish and other products being sold came from the sea as the rest were cultured, he noted.
Negros Occidental has vast fishpond areas that must be developed as the fish and other products of the sea were facing depletion, the governor said.
Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia also said he was positive the city’s economic growth would be on the roll in 2012 because of the momentum set in 2011 and in previous years.
“Bacolod has become a magnet for investment, progress begets progress,” Leonardia said.
On the other hand, Ma. Regina Bautista-Martin, who heads the Sugar Regulatory Administration, said she felt optimistic about the sugar industry because the markets for sugar have been growing.
Martin cited an uptrend in the demand for sugar in China, Indonesia and India as well as for domestic consumption.
Ben Ortega, president of the Bacolod Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said he believed the Year of the Dragon would be good for the local economy.
“The business climate has changed with less corruption and red tape in government,” Ortega said.
Ortega also stressed the need for everyone to take steps to mitigate climate change.
Frank Carbon, president of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said he was optimistic about the country’s economic growth on the long term.
But Carbon said he felt nervous over the impact on the economy in the first half of the year with the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, the hearing of charges against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, slow release of infrastructure funds to pump-prime the economy and recovery efforts in Tropical Storm Sendong-hit Northern Mindanao. /INQUIRER
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