Give more to Kapampangans
CLARK FREEPORT – The president of Pampanga’s premier business organization believes that SM Supermalls should do more to help resolve the social cost brought about by the rising economy in the province.
This was the gist of the discussion of Engr. Jesus Nicdao, president of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (PamCham), at the media forum “Balitaan” organized by the Capampangan in Media, Inc. (CAMI) in cooperation with the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) at the Bale Balita here recently.
Nicdao said Pampanga is now home to four SM supermalls, more than any other province in the country, like the SM City Clark at the Clark Freeport; SM City Downtown in the City of San Fernando (CSF); the soon to be finished SM City Telebastagan in Barangay Telebastagan, CSF; and SM City Pampanga in the boundary of CSF and Mexico town which is considered the longest shopping mall in the whole country.
Nicdao said the province is also home to numerous Savers department stores, Hypermarkets and even a Waltermart Mall which are all owned and operated by SM.
“Imagine their investments here, imagine their revenues,” he noted. “It’s really big. You have a basic rent per square meter. Assuming you pay P750 to P1,000 per-square meter plus five percent of gross sales,” he explained.
But he lamented that SM Supermalls has only a limited contribution in sharing the burden of the social costs.
“There is even a saying,” Nicdao said, “what SM wants SM gets even from the local government units.”
Nicdao said Pam- Cham is now asking SM and Robinsons in the CSF to also put up another overpass pedestrian walkway connecting the two malls on the east side for the convenience of the people.
Meanwhile, Nicdao said PamCham has long been advocating for the decongestion of Metro Manila that is why it lobbied for the expansion of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) from two lanes to three lanes from Malolos, Bulacan to the CSF.
He said PamCham also led the initiative for the expansion of the national highway by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
However, because of the widened road between CSF and Angeles City there were about 300 accidents and more than 30 deaths that happened along that stretch in three years, he said.
“Sobra ne lapad ing dalan (The road is too wide now),” he noted.
“Metung kareng mete karin babae ya mekwa ya keng side mirror kasi atsu ne libutad (One of those who died there was a woman who was sideswiped by a car’s side mirror because she was already in the middle of the road waiting to cross),” he narrated.
“So now we are proposing an island in the middle of the road for pedestrians,” he said.
Nicdao said Pam- Cham has also written a letter to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the DPWH asking for the masterplan of the sewage system in San Simon town because of the massive embankment going on in the area without a master plan for the system.
He said DPWH had conducted a study in the area and without a proper sewerage system, flooding can occur that could even inundate the expressway.
But PamCham has no power to call the attention of these factories there, he lamented. “They’re not even our members,” he said.
Nicdao said Pampanga should prep up for the influx of more businesses in the province with more infrastructure development.
He said big investments are coming in the province because the big players are already here especially in real estate like SM Development Corp., Ayala Development Corp., Ayala Land, Megaworld, Century Properties, Filinvest, and Robinsons Land among others.
Nicdao said that’s because the market in Pampanga is diff erent. He said Pampanga has the most number of Jollibee stores in the country with 40.
He added that Angeles City has the most number and variety of restaurants serving international cuisine like German, Italian, Mexican, Thai, Vietnam, Korean, Japanese, even Middle Eastern.
Nicdao said Pampanga has the only meat processing plant in the country that is ISO certified – Mekeni Foods Corp.
Nicdao said if “the Big One (earthquake of at least magnitude 7.1) would happen, God forbids, 40 percent of business will be on a standstill because they rely on Metro Manila.”
Nicdao has been president of PamCham since 2015. He owns Nidel Management, Inc. which owns franchises of Jollibee and Chowking fast food chain stores.
Nidel Management was recently awarded the “Jollibee Franchisee of the Year.” It has 10 awards as Franchisee of the Year including for seven straight years.
His company has 13 Jollibee stores in Pampanga and Olongapo City and 10 Chowking stores in Pampanga and Tarlac as well as a Greenwich store in Olongapo City.
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