Press Release
February 20, 2010

Tops in Tourism, BPO
Cebu perfect model for progress - Villar

Nacionalista Party (NP) standard bearer Sen. Manny Villar vowed to prioritize energy and infrastructure under his administration to sustain growth in two key sectors - tourism and business process outsourcing (BPO).

"The BPO and tourism sectors are critical to the recovery and growth of the Philippine economy. And Cebu provides the model for these sectors. I would like the rest of the country to take Cebu's lead in sustaining economic growth through the BPO and tourism sectors," Villar said.

Villar visited Cebu in the weekend for a campaign sortie.

"I feel a natural affinity for Cebu because this is a land of hardworking entrepreneurs. I can relate to Cebuanos' passion for business because I was an entrepreneur myself," Villar said.

"For me, Cebu manifests the ideals of entrepreneurship. Marami sa ating mga kababayan sa ibang dako ng bansa ay naiinggit sa mga Cebuano dahil sa kanilang sipag at tiyaga. A lot of our countrymen are envious of Cebuanos, and rightly so," he said.

Cebu City was recently named the top emerging BPO outsourcing city in the world by Tholons, a leading full-service strategic advisory firm for Global Outsourcing and Investments, beating out bigger cities like Shanghai and Beijing, China and Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.

At the same time, Cebu regained its position as the most visited tourist destination in the country last year with 1.24 million arrivals despite a marked downturn in tourist traffic.

Next to Camarines Sur, Cebu was the most visited destination by local tourists, a remarkable feat because Cebu is accessible mainly by air.

"Better transport infrastructure will mean more arrivals. Look at Cebu, with better infrastructure came more arrivals. My administration will see to it that the national tourism program utilizes Cebu as a main regional hub which should be served by more direct international flights," Villar said.

The NP presidential candidate also said he would aggressively promote Cebu as one of the Philippines' major convention and conference destinations.

"A Villar administration, God-willing, will prioritize energy and infrastructure to sustain these growth sectors. Better infrastructure and a stable supply of power will sustain and further boost the growth of the BPO and tourism sectors which, in turn, will generate more jobs, more business opportunities and more income for more Filipinos," Villar said.

The looming power shortage in the Visayas is threatening the recovery of the region's economies led by Cebu. As of Feb. 9 this year, the Visayas already has a deficit of 126 megawatts in its gross power reserves.

The Visayas currently has an available capacity of 1,098 MWs as against peak demand of 1,199 MWs.

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