By Rhaydz B. Barcia
LEGAZPI CITY---The SM Prime Holdings created 8,000 new jobs for Bicolanos that could help address poverty and lessen the impact of high inflation rate among the Bicolanos as its SM City Legazpi opened Friday here.
Hans Sy, son of Philippine’s richest man Chinese-Filipino business magnate Henry Sy, told the Bicol Mail that SM Legazpi has generated the employment of 8,000 Bicolanos.
“We come here not to eat the pie. We came here to make the pie bigger. SM Legazpi can provide 8,000 employments,” the business tycoon said during the opening their shop in Legazpi City, which is their 71st supermall in in the country.
When asked how much the worth of his investment in this city, Sy, said that Prime Holdings infused P3B and is looking for another business venture here like hotel or establish his school in the region’s capital hub.
“We’re been looking for a bigger land area in Legazpi City even before the establishment of SM Naga for so many years but it was quite difficult to find one so we opted to go to Naga City because of available land requirement. We’re happy that at last we have finally realized that here in Legazpi,” he said.
SM City Legazpi, the Bicol Region’s newest lifestyle destination is SM Prime’s second mall in the Bicol Region after SM City Naga.
Two more SM supermalls will be established in Bicol, one in Daet Camarines Norte as the 73rd chain of stors and in Sorsogon City that will be its 76th supermall. SM City Legazpi according to Hans Sy is the biggest in Bicol including one they have in Lucena City.
He said that the SM Group employs at least 130,000 employees. Of this number, 80,000 employees are comnsidered regular. When asked what is the difference and uniqueness of SM City Legazpi among the supermalls, the eldest son of the country’s richest business magnate said that SM City Legazpi is the most improved store with remarkable backdrop of Mayon volcano.
When asked if he will put up other business venture in Legazpi aside from mall, Sy, said that a provision for hotel is being considered or they may buy or set up a school just like the University of Santo Tomas Legazpi.
The University of Santo Tomas Legazpi, formerly Aquinas University of Legazpi, is the first Dominican university in the Bicol region for 70 years now but which has been renamed as UST Legazpi last year.
Sy expressed admiration for Bicolano students, many of whom have landed in the top ten board examinations for various professions in the country.
“The plan is to saturate the country with investments like malls and put up a school in the countryside that could allow students to go on schooling in private schools with lesser tuition fees unlike other bigger private universities with expensive tuitions fees,” he said.
The opening of SM City Legazpi on Friday brings to six the malls operating in Legazpi City alone.
Lilibeth Azores Morelos, SM senior public relations manager south 3, 4 and 5, said that SM City Legazpi is not only the biggest mall in Bicol but throughout the Southern Luzon area built along Imelda Roces Avenue in Barangay Bitano wherein the 87,706 -square meter three- level mall will serve shoppers in bustling Legazpi as well as the rest of Albay province.
She said that SM City Legazpi is a three-storey premier mall Legazpi City built in 5.8-hectare land area at the heart of this city, the biggest investment in Southern Luzon.
SM City Legazpi is a green feature structure that could provide employment from 1,500 to 3,000 among the Bicolanos. The newest store here will be showcasing local and international high end brand aside from the usual supermarket.
One of the international high end brand or outlets here is the Japanese global apparel retailer Uniqlo.
Uniqlo store at SM Mall will be covering 843 sqm shopping space to bring the lifewear shopping experience to the Bicolanos as unparalleled commitment among the people of Bicol specifically in Albay province and neighboring provinces here.
Legazpi City, the capital of Albay where government regional offices are located, is the center of tourism, education, health services, commerce and transportation.
Legazpi has been ranked in overall competitiveness among component cities by the National Competitive Council. It ranked first in infrastructure and second in economic dynamism for this year.
SM City Legazpi is situated in a scenic location backdropped by the majestic Mayon Volcano.