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Naga: At the Crossroads

The following speech was delivered by Naga Mayor Valdemar Chiong during the inauguration of the country’s first ever SME Industrial Park:

Naga: At the Crossroads

For years, Enan – my brother the late mayor Ferdinand Chiong – and I dreamed of a progressive and sustainable industrial city of Naga.

Maybe Enan thought he would be more effective up there. Everything seems to be falling in place.

Right after my election as mayor – I based the successful campaign on the 15-point strategic platform that Naganhons now refer to as Vision and Leadership 2020 or VAL 2020 – and I immediately proceeded to Manila to push hard for the first priority as mayor-elect: that of making Naga a city.

With the enthusiasm Naganhons expressed in welcoming the “photo-finish” Senate approval, come the plebiscite this August, I am looking forward to a huge turnout and an overwhelming YES.

Today, July 11, 2007, we are officially opening the country’s first SME Industrial Park here in Naga.

I commend Plantersbank and its chairman Ambassador Jesus P. Tambunting for the commitment towards the development of small and medium enterprises and this ambitious project that saw the strategic potential of Naga.

Today is such a big event that Secretary Cerge Remonde, a fine son of Cebu in the official family of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has to fly from Metro Manila and motor all the way to Cantao-an, Naga to be with us today.

Secretary Remonde, like President Arroyo, Gov. Gwen Garcia, and Congressman Eddie Gullas are firm supporters of SMEs and Naga. Thank you for your support.

You may already know, but please allow me to give you some significant details about Naga.

Naga is the southern crossroads of Metropolitan Cebu where the national highway branches out towards the southern and the western districts of Cebu Island.

Before the Spaniards came, Naga was already a bustling community with its rich fishing grounds and tanbarks, which was used for tanning and dyeing. The Spanish galleons got their coal from our mines. The country’s first cement factory produced the first cement used in the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, California. Naga is home to the electric power complex that powers Cebu and neighboring provinces. Through the years, it has become the home of several factories of multinational corporations and the site of the most modern hospital in southern Cebu.

As Naga becomes a city, I intend to further develop our plaza into an attraction and a recreational destination. Our plaza — where one can see the sun majestically rising from the East in the morning and where hundreds of Naganhons and visitors alike promenade in the evenings – is our show window.

In fact, when I became mayor, the expanding and beautifying of our future city’s show window was the priority.

Beside the plaza, we want to build a modern port fit for a growing industrial center and a future hub for passenger traffic from Bohol to Negros Islands.

A key infrastructure under the 15-point VAL 2020, this will make Naga City a nautical crossroad. You know, I can already see Ceres buses plying the new Tagbilaran-Naga-Toledo-Bacolod route.

We will also improve the infrastructure needed to support such private endeavors as the country’s first SME Industrial Park that we are inaugurating today, transfer the public market where the new commercial district will rise, along with eco-tourism projects that should make Naga a sustainable and livable industrial city.

Like Secretary Remonde, Ambassador Tambunting, Governor Garcia, and Congressmen Gullas, I also believe in entrepreneurship. I am not merely looking at Naganhons being employed in this SME industrial park. I intend to convince my constituents particularly those who succeeded abroad to return, invest and run their own businesses.

I know there are still several speakers so I won’t elaborate the whole 15-point VAL 2020 program.

I think its enough to say that given a few years, of the three new cities that Congress approved this year, Naga will be at the forefront as a fast growing sustainable industrial center.


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