Briones: Good news... somewhat

Publio Briones

THE caption of the photo on page 25 of SunStar Cebu’s Business Section on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, best describes what is happening across Metro Cebu today: The building boom shows no signs of slowing down.

To those who haven’t seen it, the photo shows the silhouette of a crane towering over a worker beside an ongoing building construction.

Quite dramatic, really. That is, if you find the 1,670 constructions registered as of the second quarter of 2019, which is up 3.8 percent from the same period last year, considerable.

The figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority were based on the approved building permits.

According to SunStar Cebu reporter Carlo Lorenciana, Cebu also posted the most number of new constructions in Central Visayas last year, followed by Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor.

Which, come to think of it, only makes sense since Cebu is the biggest province in the region in terms of income and population.

And how’s this for icing on the cake: the consortium of SM Prime Holdings Inc. and Ayala Land Inc. announced that it would build a 60,000-seater convention center at its 26-hectare property at the South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City.

During their presentation of their planned development before the City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, consortium officials projected that their project would contribute P22 billion to the Cebu City Government in the next 15 years as payment for permits, taxes and other regulatory fees.

Jeanette Japzon, Ayala-subsidiary Cebu Holdings Inc. corporate communications manager, said the project will generate around two million direct and indirect jobs once completed. Some 480,000 jobs will come from the business outsourcing companies—assuming the industry will still exist—while the remaining number will come from indirect jobs such as those in hotels and residential and other business establishments.

The consortium will also shoulder the horizontal development that will include the drainage system, construction of access roads and installation of underground power lines.

At least, within their property, there won’t be any of the problems associated with haphazard development because they will have set up the infrastructure first instead of implementing it afterwards. In other words, the scenario of playing “catch-up” will be avoided.

The way I see it, the consortium’s project will be akin to an upscale gated community where first-world amenities will be de rigueur.

Of course, the minute you step outside, you’re knocked down by the realities of living in the third world.