5 Things You Should Expect from Philippine Real Estate Scene This Year

The best is yet to come when it comes to the real estate market in the Philippines. Against the backdrop of resilient economic growth, the country’s real estate scene is expected to show off more color as new trends arise.

The economic stability of the country is a must for the real estate sector to flourish. According to Lamudi Real Estate Market Report for 2017, the country needs to be able to maintain the momentum of economic growth to lure in foreign investments and maintain its credential.

The report noted that Metro Manila’s placement in terms of investment prospect has shifted dramatically. Quoting PwC, Lamudi said Metro Manila has moved up the ranks, sitting as the third most promising city for investment in the Asia Pacific region, even ahead of established markets like Sydney, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Additionally, the flourishing technology is expected to change the landscape on how property seekers access information regarding real estate developments. Developers will be able to leverage on different technologies like virtual reality, chatbots, and social media to further enhance their reach and presence, allowing for more interactive engagements with the hungry property hunters.

There are things to expect, however, in the Philippines real estate scene this year. As the year continues to unfold, here are five things you should definitely be on the lookout for.

  1. Condominium living will spur demand for home furnishings

Condominium living is expected to thrive in the midst of increasing home seekers wanting to get a hold on their dream houses. In terms of attractiveness, the location of a property will still play a big part, as well as affordability.

Condominium projects in Metro Manila will still attract people who want immediate access to business firms, malls, hospitals, and government agencies. Add to that the worsening metropolitan traffic, urging workers to avail of spaces within CBDs for the sake of convenience.

Couple that with growing spending power of home-seekers, condominium living is foreseen to drive demand for home furnishings. The dominance of middle class has lured foreign names like Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn to set up shops in the country, in addition to local players including SM’s MyHome, Dimensione, and others.

However, do not be so surprised if these home-seekers start to veer away from key mainstream CBDs to dodge skyrocketing costs of living. Residential developments in nearby provinces like Rizal, Bulacan, Laguna, and Pampanga will surely be a compromise in terms of location, but the affordability of housing units in these regions will attract a huge number of home seekers.

More so, the residential sector should be wary of the thinning supply of construction workers as these might delay completion schedule of some major developments. Consequently, this would result in the anemic supply of units for the next years to come.

  1. Millennials will shape how the retail sector will work

Filipino millennials’ dominance in the workforce is vital in terms of how retail players will be able to adapt to the changing landscape of the sector. With the rise of shared economy services like Grab and Uber, as well as the surge in demand for e-commerce sites such as Lazada and Zalora, retail players have to up their game to continue attracting footfalls from the millennial generation.

In this case, developers have their work cut out for them as they try to win the finicky millennials. They may have to shift their focus on lifestyle-focused malls, with spaces where millennials can hang out and chill, not just put up cookie-cutter malls that are too retail-centric.

Developers also have to consider developing in areas where there is a strong mobile signal penetration, as millennials will surely be glued to their phones Instagramming every moment they can.

  1. IT-BPO will continue to drive demand for office spaces

The start of the year for information technology–business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) firms was not that strong as it could have been. According to Colliers International Research, outsourcing-led services commenced the year with a 6.8 percent growth, from the high of 7.5 percent in the past year.

However, there are reasons to remain optimistic in the sector. More than the expansion of traditional service-oriented firms in consulting and accounting segments, major BPO players have sealed several deals to new accounts which can spell an increase in the take-up of office spaces especially in the later part of the year.

BPO activities in provincial areas like Cebu, Pampanga, Bacolod, and Davao are expected to continue their current boom given their competitive manpower, viable business setting, and local government support.

Another thing to look out for is the burgeoning business centers outside that of Makati, Ortigas, and Bonifacio Global City. As business parks saturate these city-centers, all eyes will be on nearby cities and provinces that have great transportation infrastructure and have a potential to be the next rising economic powerhouses.

Metro Manila’s dominance in economic activity may soon ease with the emergence of other growth areas outside the Philippine capital. According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), these emerging cities are keeping up with Metro Manila not just in terms of economic activity but also for their innovation and way of attracting people.

Angeles City in Pampanga is one of the said cities, boosted by its Clark Green City development. Zamboanga City is also catching up, wielding a strong IT environment. Economic dynamism is also seen in cities like Bacolod in Negros Occidental, Naga in Camarines Sur, Baguio City, the province of Batangas, Laoag in Ilocos Norte, and Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

  1. Offshore gaming will attract more tourists and spur demand for offices

With the launch of the PAGCOR’s Philippine Offshore Gaming Operation (POGO) last year, the office market is bound to get some demand as operators expand. Colliers noted that around late last year, PAGCOR released 25 POGO licenses. Offshore gaming firms are expanding, leading to the surge in demand for BPO spaces.

This will also result in stronger hotel occupancies this year. The opening of Okada Manila will surely drive foreign gamers in the Philippines as it tries to further expansion this year. Foreign arrival in the Philippines is expected to reach 7 million and hospitality players will be able to benefit from this. More so, other foreign names such as Grand Hyatt and Dusit Thani will continue their foray in the country in the coming years.

  1. Condotels are becoming a thing

In the first quarter of the year, there were a number of investors who snapped up residential properties with the intention of making a business out of leasing the units for short term-staying guests. These are called condotels. As the year goes on, there will likely be a spike in the take up for condominium units that will be listed under Airbnb-type of listings.

This is similar to the trend that Santos Knight Frank dubbed as condomitels. A fusion of condominium, dormitory, and hotel, this concept is becoming popular in areas near universities and business districts. These residential units are targeted mostly for students and young professionals.

What should be done to attract foreign investments?

Lamudi sees it necessary for the country to be more open to foreign capital entering the local market. While it would be very unlikely for land ownership policy to be completely overhauled, there are measures that could be put into place to relax these rules allow foreign investment to come pouring.

The country should also maintain its strong cash remittances to be able to retain investor confidence. It is important that the Philippines maintain its status as a viable choice for property investment, especially in retail and office sectors.

It also has to keep its infrastructure game strong. The government of the Philippines is eyeing to upgrade the country’s infrastructure by revamping Metro Manila’s rail and bus network. There are also efforts to improve the country’s aircraft systems.

With these in mind, the rest of 2017 will pave way for an increased foreign direct investment in the country’s real estate sector.

Biggest Japan ODA eyed for PH’s first subway

By: Ben O. de Vera
Philippine Daily Inquirer
03:11 AM June 26, 2017
http://business.inquirer.net/232040/biggest-japan-oda-eyed-phs-first-subway

The Philippine government is eyeing to secure the biggest official development assistance (ODA) from Japan for the country’s first subway system that will serve Metro Manila and surrounding areas.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told the Inquirer that an estimated $4.4 billion in ODA from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) was in the pipeline to finance the Mega Manila Subway Project.

To date, the largest ODA loan package provided by Jica to the Philippines was 241.9 billion yen or almost $2.42 billion for the $2.88-billion North-South Commuter Railway Project that would connect Tutuban in Manila to Malolos, Bulacan.

Pernia, who also heads state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), said the signing of the fresh ODA for the ambitious subway project would “hopefully be in November when Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe comes for the Asean Summit.”

Neda Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan told the Inquirer that the loan amount would be finalized upon the completion of the project feasibility study by next month.

Tungpalan said the project and its planned ODA financing were of “high priority and will be tackled in a high-level bilateral meeting in July.”

Jica senior representative in the Philippines Tetsuya Yamada confirmed to the Inquirer that the project was still in the final process of the feasibility study, with the project cost and financing plan “yet to be examined closely.”

Yamada said it would be up to the Philippine government to decide if it would seek loan from Jica for the subway.

Last week, Pernia said the P230-billion first phase of the Mega Manila Subway would be among the nine infrastructure projects worth a total of more than P738 billion that were up for approval by President Duterte during the Neda Board meeting on June 27.

According to the government’s “Build, Build, Build” website, the Department of Transportation-led project would connect major business districts and government centers in the metropolis through a 25-kilometer underground mass transportation system linking Quezon City and Taguig City.

In its initial year of operations, it could serve about 370,000 passengers, complementing existing rail systems in Metro Manila such as the Light Rail Transit and Metro Rail Transit systems.

A separate Jica briefing paper in May showed that the entire subway could extend beyond Metro Manila to San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan up north and Dasmariñas City, Cavite down south.

Based on Jica’s roadmap study, the Mega Manila Subway could run up to 75 km with 23 stations.

So as not to disrupt activity above ground while rolling out the project, Jica said the plan was to undertake “underground construction adjacent to existing substructures.”

Given that Metro Manila is also prone to floods, the project will entail “application of water shut panels to prevent from inundation during heavy flooding,” Jica added.

The subway will also spur commercial activities through “non-railway facilities in front of and along underground stations,” according to Jica.

DOTr identifies 5 of 17 stations of Mla-Clark railway project

By Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star)
Updated June 26, 2017 – 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/business/2017/06/26/1713530/dotr-identifies-5-17-stations-mla-clark-railway-project

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is set to mark today five of the 17 stations of the P255 billion Manila-Clark Railway Project which would connect Manila to Central Luzon.

The five stations to be marked are Marilao and Meycauayan in Bulacan, Valenzuela, Caloocan, and Tutuban in Metro Manila. The DOTr will identify the exact locations of the stations.

The other stations are: Solis, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, Malolos, Calumpit, Apalit, San Fernando, Angeles, Clark, Clark International Airport, and the proposed New Clark City in Pampanga.

The 106-kilometer railway project is among the projects under the government’s “Build Build Build” infrastructure program.

“For the first time, a rail project will connect Manila to Central Luzon and it will be completed under the Duterte administration,” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement yesterday.

Construction of the project is set to start in the last quarter of the year.

Completion, meanwhile, will be in the last quarter of 2021.

It will be funded through Official Development Assistance from Japan.

Through the project, the travel time from Manila to Clark will be reduced to just 55 minutes from two hours.

Metro Pacific files P25-billion project linking Cavite, Tagaytay and Batangas

INFRASTRUCTURE conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) has submitted to the government a P25-billion unsolicited proposal to build an expressway connecting Cavite, Tagaytay and Batangas.

“We have an alignment proposal to the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways). It’s called the Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway, CTBEx,” MPCALA Holdings, Inc. President and CEO Luigi L. Bautista said in a recent interview.

MPCALA Holdings is a unit of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), the tollways arm of MPIC. Mr. Bautista said the project would cost “about P25 billion” and had been submitted to the DPWH.

“It’s an extension of CALAX (Cavite-Laguna Expressway). So it will start from Silang interchange of CALAX, all the way to Tagaytay, then all the way to Nasugbu. It’s about 45, 46 kilometers,” he said.

The Metro Pacific group earlier broke ground for the Laguna segment of the P35.43-billion CALAX project. The Cavite segment is set to start construction by September and MPCALA will sign the construction contract with Leighton by end June.

The CALAX project involves the construction of a 44.6-kilometer four-lane toll road between the Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx) in Kawit, Cavite and the SLEx-Mamplasan Interchange.

Mr. Bautista said the company had yet to finish the feasibility study for the project. If its alignment is approved by the DPWH, it will be an unsolicited proposal, he added.

“If we get the original proponent status, that’s when we will do the detailed engineering design,” the MPCALA executive added.

The proposal will not have any conflict with San Miguel Corp.’s P27-billion proposal to build an alternative toll road that will link Tagaytay to Metro Manila via Cavite and Batangas, he said.

He said San Miguel’s Tagaytay-Batangas project will come from STAR (Southern Tagalog Arterial Road) while the company’s project will come from CALAx, and going to Tagaytay.

“Sa kanila, STAR, so magsasalubong (they will meet),” Mr. Bautista said.

The proposed 29-kilometer toll road of San Miguel called Tanauan-Tagaytay Expressway is envisioned to be an extension of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx). It is envisioned to start from SLEx toll road 3 passing through Tanauan City in Batangas and the municipalities of Silang, Amadeo and Indang in Cavite all the way to Tagaytay City through the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway.

Asked whether he sees competition in the use of both expressways, Mr. Bautista said: “Tingin ko wala kasi ang motorists na gagamit noong sa amin are motorists from Manila. Iyong gagamit ng sa kanila are motorists coming from Batangas (I think there won’t be. The motorists who will use ours are from Manila. Theirs will be coming from Batangas).”

Earlier, MPIC said it would submit to the government next month a P50-billion unsolicited proposal for an elevated expressway along C-5 road in Ortigas to Commonwealth, which is expected to decongest traffic in the area.

The proposed elevated road project will serve as an alternate route to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), bypassing EDSA and the Balintawak toll plaza.

Aside from the C5-link project, MNTC had proposed building an expressway that will connect Sangley Airport in Cavite to its Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx).

Segment-5 is a 9.80-km., four-lane divided expressway proposed as a replacement to the original Segment 5 alignment that was taken over by the DPWH and now designated as the Centennial Road. The proposed link will connect CAVITEx to Rosario, Cavite and the Sangley Airport. Sangley Airport is in San Antonio, Cavite City, on a peninsula jutting out into Manila Bay.

MNTC is a subsidiary of MPIC, which is one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.

Silver lining for office space

By: Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
01:04 AM June 24, 2017
http://business.inquirer.net/231987/silver-lining-office-space

Political uncertainty has also raised concerns that the growth in the outsourcing and offshoring sector will likely be impeded.

There are a few developments in the political arena that seem to worry some real estate developers, along with the rest of the local and foreign business community.

As cited by several property consulting firms, the political uncertainties, security issues, the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, the proposed tax reform bill, and the inconsistent implementation of business policies were feared to have an impact on investor appetite.

For the real estate industry, one of the concerns was the impact of these developments on the local outsourcing and offshoring sector (O&O), which is among the biggest drivers of the office property market.

Political uncertainties

According to the Asian Cities Report H1 2017 by Savills World Research, “the shifting political landscape locally and internationally has increased uncertainty in the economy.”

“Trump’s rhetoric on protecting the United States economy from global trade may affect the local O&O sector as he tries to keep jobs in the US. Although (President) Duterte has begun shifting his foreign policy stance towards China, his unpredictability domestically was met with a mixed reception from foreign investors,” the report explained.

“Political uncertainty has also raised concerns that the growth in the O&O sector will likely be impeded. However, we remain optimistic as the country continues to be the best destination for voice-related services due to the presence of a well-educated workforce with excellent English proficiency and competitive wage rates,” it further noted.

A separate statement from Colliers International Philippines meanwhile cautioned that recent political issues such as the declaration of martial law in Mindanao and the proposed tax reform bill might thwart the business process outsourcing (BPO) firms’ expansion plans.

“Among the crucial factors in attracting foreign investments, including those from the outsourcing sector, is consistent implementation of business policies. Changing rules mid-game and limiting the fiscal perks currently enjoyed by BPO firms will stifle the sector’s expansion,” explained Colliers Director for Office Services Dom Fredrick Andaya.

Sustained economic growth and the government’s infrastructure thrust should support the real estate sector.

Office space take up

According to Colliers, office space absorption from outsourcing firms slowed down in the first three months of the year due to perceived geopolitical concerns and delays in the approval of applications for incentives granted by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.

Colliers disclosed that in the first quarter of the year, the combined share of BPO and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) firms in terms of office take up in Metro Manila dropped to only 21 percent from an average of 60 to 70 percent in the past few years.

This decline can be attributed to geopolitical issues that compelled existing tenants to take a wait-and-see stance on their expansion plans.

Despite this, Colliers remained optimistic that office space take up from BPOs and KPOs will rebound.

Continued optimism

“The Philippine economy is projected to grow between 6 percent and 7 percent per annum over the medium term and this should help sustain the traditional firms’ demand for office space,” Colliers said.

“Overall, Colliers remains positive that the outsourcing sector’s office space take up will rebound by the latter part of the year as a number of major BPO players in the country have reportedly secured new accounts and as the government issues more concrete directives on its fiscal policies,” it added.

Meanwhile, the report by Savills World Research pointed out that the Philippines has been resilient despite the changing political tide and slow global growth. In 2016, the economy grew within government expectations at 6.8 percent placing it ahead of Asia’s fast growing economies such as China and Vietnam.

Private consumption continues to largely contribute to economic growth which is still being fueled by remittances from overseas Filipino workers and the expanding O&O sector, according to Savills.

The Savills report further noted that the growing outsourcing operations in the capital led to a net take-up outpacing new supply in 2016.

Rents are also seen to experience positive growth due to sustained demand, but the estimated new supply of close to two million sqm over the coming two years is seen to weigh heavily on rents as it increases occupiers’ bargaining power.

Despite this, the pipeline is likely to remain substantial as local developers are still keen to expand their recurring income base with offices, it added.

“In the coming quarters, the unprecedented new supply in Manila will likely test the O&O sector’s appetite for office space. We should still see strong occupier demand from the industry,” Savills noted.

“The sustained economic growth together with government’s infrastructure thrust should continue to support the overall real estate sector,” it said.

BIR slashes real property taxes of IPP plants

By Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star)
Updated June 24, 2017 – 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/business/2017/06/24/1712973/bir-slashes-real-property-taxes-ipp-plants

MANILA, Philippines –  The government has trimmed real property taxes of facilities of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) under build-operate-transfer contracts with government-owned or controlled corporations.

Under Executive Order No. 19 issued by Malacañang, all liabilities for real property tax for  2015 and 2016, on property, machinery and equipment actually and directly used by IPPs for the production of electricity under BOT and similar contracts with GOCCs, are reduced to an amount equivalent to the tax due if computed based on an assessment level of 15 percent of the fair market value of the said property.

The same order also waived all interests on deficient real property tax liabilities.

Excess tax payments made by IPPs prior to the issuance of the order will be applied to their real property tax for the succeeding years.

Malacanang issued the executive order to address the threat on the financial stability of a number of GOCCs, as a substantial part of the real property taxes being charged against the affected lPPs have contractually been assumed by GOCCs such as the National Power Corp.,  and the Power Sector Assets and Liabities Management Corp.

“The payment of such taxes will trigger massive direct liabilities on the part of such GOCCs, thereby threatening their financial stability, the government’s fiscal consolidation efforts, the stability of energy prices, and worse, may even trigger further cross-defaults and significant economic losses across all sectors,” the EO said.

Under Section 234 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 , GOCCs engaged in the generation and transmission of electricity are entitled to a number of exemptions/privileges with respect to real property taxes.

This includes an assessment level of 10 percent on all its lands, buildings, machineries and other improvements, as well as an exemption for all machinery and equipment that are actually, directly and exclusively used in the generation and transmission of electric power and machinery and equipment used for pollution control and environmental protection.

In 2014, the Aquino administration issued a similar EO on the reduction and condonation of real property taxes and interest of IPP power generation facilities under BOT contracts with GOCCs for the said year, in a bid to prevent an increase in power rates.

Creba hails cut in home loan rate to 3%

(The Philippine Star)
Updated June 25, 2017 – 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/business/2017/06/25/1713312/creba-hails-cut-home-loan-rate-3

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s largest organization of key real estate and housing industry players lauded the recent move of the Home Development Mutual Fund, more popularly known as Pag-IBIG Fund, to lower housing loan interest rate to three percent for minimum wage earners, saying it will encourage home acquisition among the millions of low-income workers.

Under Pag-IBIG’s Affordable Housing Program (AHP), NCR workers earning a gross monthly income of not more than P15,000 and workers in other regions earning not more than P12,000 are eligible to avail of the lowest rate for a loan not exceeding P450,000. The rate is good for five years, subject to repricing.

National president Charlie Gorayeb of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Association Inc. (CREBA) said government must provide an incentivized housing finance scheme as the millions of homeless poor, including the informal sector, cannot afford commercial lending rates.

To further boost this initiative, Gorayeb cited CREBA’s proposed bill pushing for the consolidation of a minimum of P350-billion fund all placed under a Centralized Home Financing Program (CHFP).

“The initial P350 billion for the CREBA-proposed CHFP will come from yearly bond issuances by the SSS at P5 billion, GSIS at P25 billion, a minimum of P70 billion up to a maximum of 70 percent of the Pag-IBIG Fund’s total investible funds for housing, P200 billion from the unused or residual agri-agra funds of banks, plus another P50 billion from the government’s annual budget,” Gorayeb said. The bill proposed by CREBA amends Republic Act 7835 or the Comprehensive and Integrated Shelter Finance Act (CISFA) of 1994.

Those fund sources, according to CREBA national chairman Noel Toti Carino, have already been identified by law, including the respective charters of the GOCC’s concerned, and need only to be integrated under the CHFP for effective administration to housing beneficiaries.

As proposed by CREBA, the CHFP shall be designed exclusively for financing assistance to borrowers for home loans, especially for socialized and economic housing, with no component for development loans, thus ensuring the use of the funds strictly for shelter acquisition by the homeless, estimated at a minimum of 5.7 million families nationwide.

Developers’ group seeks changes to RESA Law

Philippine Daily Inquirer
01:03 AM June 24, 2017
http://business.inquirer.net/231985/developers-group-seeks-changes-resa-law

The largest organization of developers and stakeholders in the real estate industry has sought for the amendment of key provisions of the Real Estate Service Act, more commonly known as the Resa Law.

In an appeal to lawmakers, the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc. (Creba) said certain provisions have resulted in undue restriction to real estate developers, as well as prohibitive requirements for employment.

Section 28 of the law states that its provisions and rules and regulations shall not apply to any person, natural or judicial, who shall directly perform by himself the acts of a real estate service practitioner with reference to his or its own property, “except real estate developers.”

“The prohibition for developers to sell their own [projects] is counter-productive and puts landowners at a very disadvantageous position,” said Creba national president Charlie A. V. Gorayeb.

Creba national chair Noel M. Cariño also assailed the discriminatory scholastic requirements for real estate salespersons before they can get accredited and registered by the Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service.

Creba thus sought to reduce the academic requirements for salespersons, provided they undergo relevant training or are certified by the licensed broker supervising them.

The association also called for the removal of policy limiting the supervision of only 20 salespersons per licensed broker, and had sought clarification on the requirement for real estate brokers to register under the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

Freeport zone along Davao Gulf proposed

DAVAO CITY — The Davao Gulf Metropolitan Development Authority (DGMDA), with a charter similar to that of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, is in the legislative works to handle the development of a freeport zone covering various local governments in the region.

“This will be good for business, especially the tourism sector, and will rationalize the overall development of the whole Davao Gulf into a comprehensive investment destination,” Mindanao Business Council Chairperson Vicente T. Lao said in an interview.

Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez, Jr. announced during the groundbreaking of the Hijo Industrial Estates in Davao del Norte last week that he will file the bill for the establishment of the DGMDA.

“I will file the bill creating the Davao Gulf Metropolitan Authority when session opens in July,” Mr. Alvarez said in an interview on the sidelines of the event.

With the creation of the DGMDA, all lands five kilometers from the shoreline of Davao Gulf will be reclassified for commercial, industrial and residential use.

Mr. Lao said most of these areas are not being used for agriculture, “but since it is officially still classified as agricultural land, most banks will not accept it as collateral for development projects.”

Mr. Alvarez recently filed House Bill 5501, or an Act prohibiting the acceptance, processing, and approval of applications for land use conversion of agricultural lands, irrigated lands, and irrigable lands for non-agricultural purposes.” The bill’s explanatory note, however, indicated that the non-conversion program focuses on lands acquired under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

Mr. Lao said there should be a comprehensive study on the actual use of the land along the coast to determine if there is a need to exclude from the DGMDA zone those still being used for agricultural purposes such as rice fields and fish ponds.

Mr. Alvarez said there is a P500 million allocation for the creation of the DGMDA and he is optimistic that his bill will be approved by the second quarter next year.

He added that architect Felino A. Palafox, Jr. has been tapped to create the masterplan for the DGMDA zone, which includes the municipality of Don Marcelino in Davao del Sur, Davao City, Davao del Norte, and Davao Oriental up to Cape San Agustin.

All five provinces of the Davao Region — Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, and Davao Oriental — and the independent component city of Davao all have coastal areas along the gulf.

Mr. Alvarez said while the DGMDA administrator would be leading the development of the Davao Gulf zone, the cooperation of the local government units are crucial to its success.

“It will spur development in the Davao Region because we will put everything there, including power and water, but it is up to the local governments to convince investors to locate in the area,” he said.

Aseana City primed for exponential growth

Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:52 AM June 24, 2017
http://business.inquirer.net/231962/aseana-city-primed-exponential-growth

Aseana Square is a two-storey food hub and commercial complex that serves the 240,000 vehicles that pass through Aseana City.

The 204-hectare Aseana City located along Roxas Boulevard is poised to sustain its growth given expectations of stronger economic activity within the Manila Bay area and its surrounding communities.

A study by Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) revealed that most Metro Manila business districts will be fully developed by 2018.

Consequently, masterplanned communities like Aseana City—which still has open spaces—will become even more attractive to other investors wanting to ride on the country’s wave of robust economic growth.

LPC added that in terms of office space alone, the supply within the Manila Bay is expected to even double by 2021.

In the meantime, more structures are being completed in Aseana City. Recently inaugurated was the Aseana Square, a two-storey food hub and commercial complex meant to serve the 240,000 vehicles that pass through the emerging business district, which also hosts three entertainment complexes namely City of Dreams, Solaire Resorts and Okada Manila.

In the next three years, three more Aseana City projects namely the 14-storey Aseana 3 office building; the 120-unit Pixel Residences; and St. John Paul II Church are seen to be completed.

These are expected to attract more visitors, locators and residents to the area, said Delfin Wenceslao, managing director of Aseana Holdings.

Other developers and business owners have also seen the potential and have invested in this masterplanned community, which will soon be the gateway to Cavite’s populous residential areas with the completion of the LRT 1 Cavite extension in 2021.

These include Ayala Land, which is putting up the nine-hectare Ayala Aseana mall and Thailand’s Erawan Group, which is completing a Hop Inn hotel at Aseana City.

Both announced that their respective projects would be completed by 2018.

Wenceslao added that retailers on the lookout for strategic locations have also realized the potential of Aseana City. Aseana Square, which has 25 units of retail and commercial spaces, was leased out within months.

“We expect to see a spike within the next few years in the number of people who come to Aseana City,” Wenceslao said.

“We anticipate to see more people wanting to live near where they work. In fact, we built Pixel Residences in anticipation of this demand and were affirmed by its warm market reception. When the Ayala mall opens, Aseana City will become a place to live-work-play or a self-contained area primed for exponential growth,” he added.