MAKATI CITY – Senators and business leaders at the opening of the 28th Negros Trade Fair at the Glorietta Activity Center here last night said they were upbeat about the economy of Negros Occidental and came to show their support for the province.
Joining Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. at the cutting of the ribbon to open the fair were Senate President Franklin Drilon, senators Serge Osmeña, Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar and Edgardo Angara Jr., business tycoon Jaime Zobel de Ayala, and Agriculture Undersecretary Bernadette Puyat.
Zobel said he was delighted to have the Negros Trade Fair at Glorietta to celebrate Negros products and food, and to showcase them to the people of Metro Manila.
He said he is very optimistic about the economy of Negros Occidental that is why AyalaLand has a number of operations in the province.
Zobel said he and Marañon have been talking and he is excited about what can be done in Negros.
AyalaLand is expected to begin development on provincial government property in Bacolod City early next year, Marañon said.
Bacolod Rep. Evelio Leonardia commended the governor for pursuing the Ayala investment in the Capitol property in Bacolod, that he said, will redound to hundreds of employment opportunities and will further accelerate the surging economy we had created in the past years.
“The entry of AyalaLand is a confirmation that what we sowed in making Bacolod the most business friendly city, and a center of excellence in information technology, is now bearing fruits,” he added.
The Ayalas would not be investing if they had not seen that Bacolod is now fertile and ready for big investments, Leonardia said.
He also thanked the five senators for their moral support that gave more prestige to the 28th Negros Trade Fair.
At the opening rites, the senators said they attended to lend their support for the province and were impressed by the products up for sale at the trade fair.
This is good exposure for Negros entrepreneurs and will certainly further perk up the economy, Drilon said.
“I fully support it and am glad this has become an annual affair, it is a very good endeavor," Drilon said.
Osmeña said he annually attends and always supports the Negros Trade Fair.
Poe said she was very proud of the products being sold at the trade fair. She considers herself a daughter of Negros and Bacolod, where her mother, movie actress Susan Roces comes from, and where she gets her aesthetic side, being part of the really beautiful Negros culture, Poe added.
Marañon said this year's trade fair is bigger and well attended, he is very optimistic about sales that began yesterday even before the fair opens today with customers already asking to buy products.
The Negros products have improved a lot in design and quality, and have created a name not only in the Philippines but worldwide, Marañon said.
Puyat said she would look into how the Department of Agriculture could further fund the organic thrust of Negros Occidental to boost its product development.
Also present at the opening were Makati Mayor Jun Jun Binay, Negros congressmen Leo Rafael Cueva, Alfredo Abelardo Benitez and Alejandro Mirasol, provincial officials, mayors, business and sugar leaders, Negros celebrities and Negrenses living in Manila, who came to support their province.
The 28th Negros Trade Fair has 80 producers, including the three from Negros Oriental participating, and runs until Sept. 29, Reena Gamboa Peña, chairperson of the trade fair, said.
ANP president is Josephine Locsin.*CPG