A new Tacloban
rises in Eastern Visayas
By DAVID STA. MARIA
March 7, 2013
TACLOBAN CITY – This is not
your grandfather’s Tacloban. Since the plebiscite in December of 2008
firming it up as a Highly Urbanized City, the Leyte capital has been
on a solid track to progress. The Region 8 hub city, led by its mayor
Alfred Francis Romualdez, is aggressive in showing that Tacloban and
its locals are ready and serious about business.
The city has been ranked 4th by the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)
in terms of deposit, hitting the P42B mark, as of last year, with
various commercial banks present in the locality and continuously
expanding their operations. The construction industry noted a building
boom in the city, especially in its key locations for the past four
years. Mayor Romualdez further stated in his address to the city, that
these constructions and renovations are indicative of a growing
interest in opening businesses in Tacloban. The city government
reported a steady 1000 new businesses being registered and started
annually since 2009, as the locals cope with the transition from a
quiet town to the bustling regional center of commerce it aims to be.
Three state universities (University of the Philippines, Leyte Normal
University and Eastern Visayas State University) have established
full-functioning facilities and campuses within the city, providing a
capable and competent work force for emerging businesses and
Daily flights in and out of Tacloban is up to 13 and rises to as much
as 17 flights on peak season, with the local attention shifting from
tourism to business and investments.
A testament to the vibrancy of local commerce, retail activity has
picked up. Retail giants Gaisano Malls and Robinson’s Malls have both
seen the opportunities the city offers businesswise, and responded
with the establishment of their own outlets in the City, Gaisano with
2 properties, and Robinson’s gearing to expand to another facility.
Local business people and chambers of commerce attribute the boost in
development and progress largely to the administration of Romualdez,
under whose leadership, City Hall services were optimized. This
involved streamlining processes involving business registration,
revenue collection, and back office efficiency issues.
Romualdez has taken aggressive steps, pushing for the development of
Tacloban, including advocating its transition to HUC. This gave the
city autonomy to create policies for itself, positioning it now as the
region’s capital. Because of this, real estate has valuated after
being pinned in its value for roughly 20 years.
Also uncommon, but key to the optimization of city services, is the
city executive’s decision to stop taking on consultants for essential
services. The city now hires full time professionals, such as doctors,
ensuring cost efficiency for the city, and also guaranteeing services
for the people whenever it is needed.
With a more streamlined City Hall, massive bank deposits and a
prospect of booming business, Tacloban is poised to take the forefront
in new businesses for the next few years.