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A good year ends, a better one begins

by Senator Manny Villar

(Second of Two Parts)

Happy 2018 to all our readers! The past year was a very good year for the country, and 2018 promises to be an even better year.

This has been confirmed by a Social Weather Survey, released last December which found 47% of adults expecting their personal quality of life to improve in the next 12 months. This rating is considered “excellent” by SWS. An “excellent” rating of 43% was also recorded among respondents who believe that the general Philippine economy next year would get better.

This new year promises to be a banner year for the economy, Philippine business and the Filipino nation in general. The continued economic growth will lead to more jobs for our people and will increase household incomes. The World Bank, for instance, noted that “between 2012 and 2015, household income among the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution rose by an average annual rate of 7.6 percent”.

There is an even better way to measure the promise of 2018 for Filipino businessmen. Look at the new businesses – big, medium, small and micro – popping up in the malls, across the street and all over town. For instance, is it just me or are food parks taking over the Metro? Everywhere you go there is a food park somewhere. I used to complain that there is a dearth of parks in Metro Manila but I never expected this!

But this is good. It means that people are going into enterprises. It means that more people are going to get hired. It means more money in people’s pockets to pay for food, rent, tuition and other essential needs.

I myself can confirm that. Our business is booming and very profitable. We have never been as bullish as this in the past 15 years. In fact, all our businesses are not only expanding but diversifying as well.

Everyone knows Vista Land, Inc. as being focused on housing, which has also achieved impressive growth, by the way. But I am very excited about the retailing arm of our company which is a relatively new.

Our home improvement shop, AllHome is doing very well with its 17 branches nationwide. Our AllDay Supermarket is also performing tremendously well with 13 branches and close to 100 branches of AllDay Convenience Stores nationwide.

I am also very excited about our Coffee Project. We now have 21 branches and we have just opened a new store in Taft Avenue near De La Salle University and another one will soon open in BGC.

We also opened Bake My Day, which serves home baked breads and pastries with a European cafe ambience. It also carries the famous Okonomiyaki bread, which is a Japanese savory pastry containing a variety of ingredients.

We are diversifying into the hospitality industry with the projected opening of our first Hotel Mella in Las Piñas City in May 2018 to be followed by another one in Boracay, Tagaytay, Balanga, Bataan and Cebu. This affirms the country’s improving local and international tourism sector.

Our expansion and diversification has been guided by a simple principle: “We do not want to be the biggest, we want to be the best”. We’d like to offer Filipinos the best houses, the best malls and cinemas, the best hotel experience, the best coffeeshops, the best bakery, and the best supermarkets.

And we are not alone. Our competition are also expanding and diversifying. Competition is getting tougher, which I welcome because personally I enjoy the friendly rivalries as it makes us better and stronger. But this also augurs well for the economy and the Filipino consumers in general. More economic activities mean more jobs and more choices for people. The bottomline is that we hope these can improve the quality of life of the Filipinos.

I hope that the new year gives us sustained growth and progress. I hope we get less controversies that drag us down and more good stories that uplift the spirits. I hope Filipino families will enjoy more blessings and that their lives – their quality of life – improves.