Philippine trade presentation ends with scores of interested companies looking to invest, bring their products and services to Guam
October 25, 2011
The venue for today’s trade presentation in Manila had to provide more chairs and tables for the overflow this morning. Philippine businessmen and women packed the New World Renaissance hotel ballroom to hear Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo and the Guam delegation present economic development opportunities.
The response was overwhelming. To name only a few: Investors were interested in opening home health and ambulatory centers, building affordable housing, opening food chains, investing in construction companies, and building relationships for education tourism.
Businesspeople ranged from infrastructure development to housing to tourism, gourmet food chains, fashion retailing and agriculture.
“I’m here to court you and to ask you to bring your investment to Guam, because I understand it’s small business, the private sector, that makes a community grow,” Governor Calvo told the crowded room. “When the private sector grows, there are more jobs. When there are more jobs available, people are happy. And when people are happy with more jobs, there are more taxes so that I can build schools, roads and increase the quality of life for everyone.”
“We are building capacity because Guam is growing,” Chief of Staff Franklin Arriola said in his presentation. “There’s a lot of opportunities on Guam”
Arriola presented on the hundreds of millions of dollars in government projects underway or planned for the immediate future. He made the point that these projects are part of Guam’s organic growth, and not necessarily borne out of the military buildup opportunities.
Arriola’s presentation followed chief economic advisor Henry Taitano’s presentation on the administration’s overall economic agenda. Taitano discussed the stability of tourism, boom in construction, and the opportunities in labor, real estate, infrastructure and renewable energy development — all these before the military buildup.
Continuing on a theme of capacity building, airport executive manager Mary Torres told investors about the airport’s historic pioneering efforts as an operation that postures the island for future involvement.
“We’ve evolved to an attractive business development operation,” Torres said. “We are looking for investors to help us out in our mission. We’ve been opening opportunities for concessions, and we’re also developing airport properties to bring more business to our people. There are many properties available for lease at fair market value.”
Familiarity with Doing Business on Guam
Businessman Joseph  V. Garcia is with one of the largest Philippine construction companies. The company branched to Guam in 2009 after following news of the military buildup since 2005. The Guam operation is called DDT Federal Services. It has its foot in the door of development on the island, and Garcia, the general manager, wanted Philippine entrepreneurs to know that opportunities are abound.
“You may think that if you’re going to Guam, you’re going to be competing with many people,” Garcia said. “And while it’s true that there are companies already there, there’s going to be this steady investment of billions of dollars, so there won’t be competition, there will be a lot of collaboration with local companies.”
Garcia explained his company’s surprise at both the ease of doing business on Guam, and the economic conditions outside the military buildup.
“Why did we go to Guam?” Garcia asked. “What you have going on there is before the buildup. Guam is building for the future, especially under the new governor. We saw that it was a quick trip. It only took five days for us to establish an office, that’s how short it was. We have built relationships. We have built status with the community. We’re not a ‘fly-by-night’ company. We intend to be part of Guam.”
Garcia mentioned how his parent company is known for exporting labor. But, DDT Federal Services instead exported their company to Guam and discovered a local labor pool exists, much to their benefit. “We now have a property, a warehouse, and worker housing. We’ve been keeping ourselves busy. We’ve been establishing ourselves with the local community.”
BelLand principal Oscar Beltran, Jr. also discussed his company’s investment. The company soon will announce an affordable housing project, which is part of the Governor’s initiative. BelLand developed Tumon Belair.
“We are the first beneficiaries of the economic initiatives of the new governor,” Beltran said. “He instructed his agencies to work with us and to make Guam business-friendly. I noticed paperwork moving faster. I noticed problems getting fixed.
“It’s not hard to do business on Guam,” local businessman John Ananich then told the crowd, who were intrigued by the mountains of opportunities just explained to them by the previous speakers.
Ananich became a businessman only late last year after serving his country in Afghanistan, and serving Guamanians in the Guam Police Department. He had never gone into business before.
“I have no doubt that if you decide to invest in Guam, you’re going to be very pleased with how easy it is to start a business,” Ananich said. “And with Governor Calvo, who understands business and is very business-friendly, at the helm, you’re really going to see your investment grow, and our community will be better for it.”
“As fellow brothers and sisters of the Pacific, as fellow kababayans, I see opportunities for closer relationships,” Governor Calvo told the crowd. “I’ve seen the growth and dynamism of Asia and the Philippines. I’d like to see an evolution where Guam and the Philippines are gateways to each other.”
Please call Natalie Quinata at 475-9213 or 488-6013 for more information.
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