Newly-appointed Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) Administrator Hussein Pangandaman is intent on spreading the word worldwide: digital-based businesses are now welcome.
His first stop: Singapore.
The Administrator met with venture capital firm Plug-and-Play, led by Filipino Silicon Valley veteran Jojo Flores, and attended their Asia Pacific Summit, which showcases technology startups from the region. Alongside Bataan 2nd District Representative Albert Raymond “Abet” Garcia, Administrator Pangandaman explained how the new charter of the Freeport, signed into law in 2019, was now more welcoming of technology companies.
Rep. Garcia meanwhile discussed developments in the province, highlighting how the soon-to-be-constructed Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge Project, spanning Manila Bay, was a game-changer that would make the Freeport more easily accessible to domestic and foreign markets and talents.
Plug-and-Play co-founder Flores welcomed hearing about Bataan and – for his part – spoke of possibly working with AFAB to bridge the latter with technology companies around the world. He shared that Plug-and-Play works with innovation-oriented startups across twenty business verticals in over fifty locations globally.
Serial entrepreneur Ramon Garcia, Executive Chairman and Founder of the DFNN Group, which counts FAB-registered companies in its roster, organized the discussions with Plug-and-Play. He also arranged a visit by AFAB to Google’s regional headquarters and facilitated an introduction to Margarita Locsin-Chan of the Philippine Chamber in Singapore.
AFAB was also able to speak with Carla Grepo, Commercial Counselor at the Philippine Trade and Investment Center, about introducing the Freeport to more prospective locators in the Lion City.
Administrator Pangandaman was positive about AFAB’s trip to Singapore, saying that it was a statement to stakeholders, present and prospective:
“The pandemic is behind us, and we can begin to finally focus on what FAB’s new charter enables us to do: reach out to more locators and partners to now include businesses in the digital space.
“At Singapore, AFAB – alongside Cong. Abet – started telling the world that the Freeport is indeed open for business, in a much bigger way now.
“When President Marcos Sr. signed into law the beginnings of the Freeport in 1969, it signaled the start of a manufacturing revolution that resulted in products physically made in Mariveles. Nearly 45 years later, now in the time of President Marcos Jr., we are widening the gates of the Freeport – this time, inviting the world to also dream and build digital products and services throughout and with Bataan.”