UNDERSECRETARY Jesus Hinlo Jr. of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) challenged officials to make Negros Occidental a “manufacturing province.”
He said that local officials have to sell the idea that is advantageous to invest in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental.
“That is our priority – to give solution to poverty and unemployment,” Hinlo, who hails from Bacolod, said, adding that he is pushing for the industrialization of the country to generate jobs.
"It is not a good economic program to just take foreign loans and build structures. The investment that we need is to bring manufacturing firms in the country. If we loan and build structures, it’s not income generating," he added.
Hinlo said the officials should come up with a proposal that will make Negros an exporting and manufacturing province.
“Not only we have to build malls or call center, but we have to manufacture. We have the sugar industry, we can look for a product to manufacture, like candies. Or we can build our tourism spots here to become world class,” he said.
He said local officials have to do their best to attract investors.
Moreover, Hinlo said that Negros should develop its economy by becoming industrialized.
“We are strategically placed. We are in the middle of the Philippines. If we can improve our ports and airports and if we have urban planning, we would be able to have economic zones, and it could generate more jobs,” he said.
Hinlo added that he is hoping the province will continue to have peace and order since development will follow if there is such stability.
Meanwhile, Hinlo said the Capitol is gearing up for the Economic Summit, which has yet to be scheduled.
“This is to give our local businessmen an opportunity to meet with businessmen from Manila and foreign countries for them to partner and further make Bacolod a progressive city,” he said.
He said the summit is geared to attract investors in the city and the province.
Last month, Hinlo was also among the officials who led the Tourism Summit in Negros Occidental.
He then told local officials led by Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. to diversify to other industries to support the local economy especially if the national government can’t stop the “hemorrhage” in the sugar industry.
Hinlo said the province has “to prepare for the future and can’t be forever dependent on sugar.”
“We have to diversify because sugar is just one product. If we put all our eggs in one basket, and if that particular product will have low price, it will affect the whole province,” he added.