CABANATUAN CITY—Giant conglomerate SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) formally opened on December 4 its 50th store in this highly urbanized “Big Little City,” now touted as a microcosm-showcase of the Philippines’s inclusive economic-growth target.
Last year the city’s Business Permit and Licensing Office said some 687 new businesses were set up in the city.
This year, for the first 10 months, the number of new businesses rose to 726, bringing the total number of registered business establishments to 4,105 with combined capital investments of P600 million as of October 31.
Cabanatuan City Mayor Jay Vergara attributed the impressive investment inflow to the city’s favorable business climate. “We enjoy a stable peace and order condition, adequate infrastructure facilities, low business-tax rates and other come-on incentives as one-stop shop and tax holiday for new business applicants. The rising investment inflow,” he said.
“These translate into revenues and job opportunities for the city and its constituency and consequently, quality life for the great majority.”
Vergara said a new SM City is now being constructed in the city “so we are looking forward for more jobs and increased revenues.” Last year the city’s income almost reached P1 billion.
Driven by the massive investment inflow, Vergara expects the city to hit, if not surpass the P1-billion income target before the year ends, thus making the once-politically divided and violent Cabanatuan, a billionaire city.
Cabanatuan, a former barrio of Gapan City, Nueva Ecija, was converted into a pueblo or municipality in 1777 and finally into a chartered city on February 3, 1950 by virtue of Republic Act 526.
On July 4, 2012, after complying with the requirements as provided for under the Local Government Code, Cabanatuan was officially proclaimed by President Aquino as a highly urbanized city.