MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - President Aquino expressed optimism on the Philippine economy as he led the inauguration of a new upscale shopping mall in Chinatown in Binondo, Manila.
Megaworld Corp. formally inaugurated the Lucky Chinatown Mall on Wednesday, with Aquino dotting the eye of the dragon before it began a dragon dance, which is believed to bring in luck.
Aquino thanked Megaworld for the investment worth P7 billion, saying it will lead to the creation of 4,000 new jobs.
“It is comforting to have renowned companies like Megaworld affirm their confidence in our country not just through words, but in the form of pesos and centavos,” Aquino said in his speech.
“We know that these companies don’t simply decide to spend seven billion pesos on a project. They do their homework. They know that they can build a successful mall here because there is a market for it—a market that has the capacity to patronize the mall. And this is something that several businesses from here and around the world are realizing: Doing business is more fun, and more profitable, in the Philippines,” he added.
Aquino wished that the mall will blend well with smaller shops in Chinatown and that the district will not lose its unique character.
“I am hopeful that they can coexist with the smaller shops of Binondo. Our country is changing: our economy is on an upswing, the global community has confidence in us, and our people are more optimistic about their futures than ever before. But I believe that as we grow, we should be able to preserve the various, and unique, components that, together, form our national identity. Which is why I hope that Chinatown never loses the character that makes it distinct,” he said.
The President is hoping that future developments will also take into account the cultural heritage of the community where they are built.
“I hope more companies follow the footsteps of Megaworld and pursue their development projects while remaining sensitive to the cultural roots of the areas where they are established,” he said.
Megaworld Chairman and CEO Andrew Tan said he remains bullish on the economy citing the “successful synergies” between the government and private sector. He vowed to invest more and contribute in the efforts to boost tourism.
“Under the leadership of our beloved President Aquino, we are very confident and bullish about our economy. We will continue to invest heavily in the country’s different tourist projects to help draw more tourists to the Philippines,” Tan said in his speech.
The mall occupies the property where the Raja Soliman and Jose Abad Santos high schools used to stand.
Tan said Megaworld has constructed new school complexes for the schools and provided the teachers with condominium units near the schools.