Silicon Valley-type hub eyed for Laguna

By Rainier Allan Ronda, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 06 2014 07:33 AM | Updated as of Jan 06 2014 03:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The province of Laguna, being home to a number of technoparks as well as the University of the Philippines (UP) - Los Banos campus and its burgeoning science and technology community, could develop a Silicon Valley-type hub for companies engaged in high-value information communication technology (ICT) research and manufacturing activities.

A young and tech-savvy barangay captain of the province, Jasper “Jun” Zaniga, newly-elected president of the Laguna Provincial Federation of Associations of Barangay Captains (PABC), said the province has enough funds and has already poured investments in infrastructure to better lure ICT companies to locate in the province.

Zuniga, who heads the 672 barangay strong association of Barangay captains said there is enough mechanisms in place to ensure that economic development will take place to benefit the 2.7 million residents of Laguna.

Laguna, Zaniga added, has enough resources to enable it to generate funds without the provincial government resorting to loans.

He pointed out that the provincial government had approved a P2.8 billion developmental project to provide P1 million each for every barangay for developmental works such as the construction of more roads, and build facilities to attract more businesses.

While waiting for the funds, Zaniga plans to use his role as the province’s chief Barangay Captain to convince more businessmen to invest in Laguna, considered as the country’s tourism and Silicon Valley.

The strategic location of Laguna, Zaniga believes, is enough to convince big companies to build their plants and factories here.

Zaniga is engaged in ICT-business process management (IT-BPM) related businesses.

Presently, major car manufacturers and semi-conductor companies are based in Laguna.

In the immediate future, Zaniga said Laguna will be able to attract food, clothing and construction companies because the province is an ideal distribution center in the Southern part of Luzon.

Zaniga pointed out that the six cities of Laguna will play a big role in attracting investments since they are strategically located and are well developed. More businesses will create more jobs and generate more revenues for the provincial government.

“ Laguna’s strategic location is an attractive proposition for most businesses. If you’re a distributor, having your head office here, allows you immediate access to towns and cities of Southern Luzon while Metro Manila is just nearby.” Zaniga added.

Aside from its strategic location, Laguna is a big consumer market with its 2.7 million population consisting of middle-income earners and families of OFWs who are considered as big and consistent spenders.

As a first class province, Laguna is the richest province in the entire country, with an average growth rate of 8.4 percent per year.

Zaniga said providing jobs for 65 percent of the population is possible since Laguna is comparably more developed than other provinces in Southern Luzon. The province’s highly developed road network, as well as its power-generating capabilities are juicy attractions for any investor out there.

Improvements in the capacities of farmers and fishermen as well as increasing the number of industrial-based and services-related jobs will provide financial stability to towns still reliant on agricultural production.

“ I laud the efforts of the provincial government led by our governor ER Ejercito in transforming Laguna from a sleepy town into what is now, the country’s best bet as an industrial province. Nationally, Binan Laguna has the highest income in all the cities of the Philippines. Two more cities: Cabuyao and San Pedro are likewise included with the highest incomes. This shows that our province is now leading the charge towards a brighter economic future.” Zaniga said.