Malaysian firm turns over P1.6-B govt, business hub

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PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija: The P1.6-billion Nueva Ecija Government Center and Central Business Hub (NEGCCBH) was turned over to the provincial government last November 23 by Asia’s leading infrastructure conglomerate AlloyMTD.

 The 5-story Government Center and Central Business Hub. PHOTO BY CELSO M. CAJUCOM

The 5-story Government Center and Central Business Hub. PHOTO BY CELSO M. CAJUCOM

The government center and business hub is expected to be fully operational by the first quarter of 2017.

Built under the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme, the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based AlloyMTD, agreed to put up the project and operate it in the next 30 years.

AlloyMTD’s Philippines-based chairman Isaac David led the handover of the symbolic key to Gov. Czarina Umali and Palayan City Mayor Rianne Cuevas during the topping off ceremony of a 5-story government center and a 7-story hotel (Phase 2) to officially operate on January 31, 2017.

The 75-room hotel will be ready on February 28 as well as the rest of the two buildings to house the business-commercial center and a 5,000-sitting capacity call center building on March 31, based on an agreement between the provincial government and AlloyMTD Group.

“We have poured P10 billion initial investments in the Philippines and backed by one of the most liquid banks in Southeast Asia, the CIMB with over P8 trillion asset,” David said.

Umali said the project is poised to create more jobs for at least 37,500 Novo Ecijanos, including young people for whom the provincial government will conduct skills training programs as part of their preparations for employment.

“It is a major breakthrough in Nueva Ecija. It will speed up operations among the offices considering its one-stop character and that the people will be served more efficiently,” she added.

The project was negotiated and approved by then-governor Aurelio Umali in 2014 and groundbreaking was held on December 4 of the same year.

The city government donated a 3.4-hectare lot to the province as its NEGCCBH counterpart.

Palayan City is in charge of inviting Business Processing Offices (BPOs) to locate their business at the center.
Cuevas said they have recruited about 2,000 call center agents and they expect to meet the 18,000 manpower requirement of the BPOs.

The provincial and city governments committed to build a new central transport terminal complex that will link neighboring towns and cities to the government center and business hub.

Rizza Lao, PR and marketing consultant, said the standard office space rent for government agencies needing 500 to 1,000 square meters is P350 per sq m.

There will be different rates for a commercial center and the hotel, she added.

AlloyMTD has rehabilitated the South Luzon Expressway or SLEX and the Nueva Ecija government and business hub is its the first major project.

Other government centers being constructed are in Balanga, Bataan, costing P3 billion, and in Cebu at P7 billion.

The Malaysian firm has completed similar projects with the provincial governments of Tarlac, Zambales, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.

The projects are in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s vision to bring the government closer to the people, according to MTD Philippines president Patrick David.

David said the conglomerate has also similar projects in the US and China.

When finished, the NEGCCBH will be under the supervision and management of AlloyMTD.

The government center and business hub is located at Singalat village at the back of Palayan city hall near the provincial capitol.

The national government offices expected to move in to NEGCCBH next year include the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Foreign Affairs, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Civil Service Commission, Commission on Elections, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Land Bank and Philippine Overseas and Employment Agency.

While the DILG, DepEd and NBI have their own buildings in Cabanatuan City, they will be forced to transfer to Palayan City because the old capitol compound where their offices are located is being eyed for privatization.

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