KABANKALAN CITY -- With the upcoming operation of the Negros Island Region (NIR) and the growing Sinulog Festival every year, this southern Negros city is poised to become an economic center on the island, its top official said.
Kabankalan City Mayor Isidro Zayco, during the highlight of the 40th Sinulog sa Kabankalan Festival on Sunday, said the 500-hectare area inside the Central Philippines State University (CPSU) in Barangay Tagukon to be used as site for regional offices is expected to attract more and bigger investments.
Zayco said the regional center situated at the boundary of Kabankalan and Mabinay in Negros Oriental, expected to operate in the next two to three years, will surely impact the transportation sector and other enterprises in the city.
“Through the regional center, Kabankalan is expected to cater to millions in the domestic market thus, the city is likely to become the economic center of NIR,” he said.
Meanwhile, the yearly Sinulog Festival gathers thousands of local and foreign tourists every year.
The mayor said it has had a huge impact, especially on the underground economy, mainly comprised of small vendors and entrepreneurs.
For this year’s Festival Dance Competition, the local government, for the first time, invited six competing tribes from other cities and municipalities in Negros Occidental and Oriental.
On top of the six participating barangays from Kabankalan, the MassKara Festival of Bacolod City, Dinagsa Festival of Cadiz City, Pinta Flores Festival of San Carlos City, Sandurot Festival of Dumaguete City, Yagyag Festival of Sibulan, and Langub Festival of Mabinay joined the competition.
Zayco said the convergence is a form of building linkages with other local government units (LGUs) from both Negros provinces to attract more tourists and visitors coming in Kabankalan.
“This year, we also hosted the first Search for Negros Island Region Queen,” the mayor said.
With the forthcoming operation of the regional center and the booming Sinulog Festival, the mayor said many investors have already expressed interests to do business in Kabankalan.
Zayco said that on top of the City Mall currently being constructed in the city, Robinsons Land Corporation is also set to construct a mall early this year.
Three more banks have already invested in the city, he added.
Also, the city government is continuously working on finishing the construction of its airport, which is expected to bring in more investments and revenues to the city, Zayco said.
“Investments will answer the goal for employment generation, and the taxes they pay will eventually translate into more projects and services,” he added.