Our best kept secret
IN the past, Pasay was known as the country’s “sin city” because of the proliferation of prostitution dens masquerading as nightclubs and bars. High criminality rate was also recorded during that time which changed the image of Pasay from a history-rich city to notoriety.
Outsiders think of Pasay primarily as a place of sexual license, where adventures in the skin trade and painted girls in bars easily highlight business trip and always ready to ease the tension after dark.
A strip of land called “Banana Island” on Highway 54 (now EDSA) in Pasay City was a favorite hangout of college students because of cheap sex that took place inside a cluster of huts. Those places are no more.
After decades of rapid urbanization in Metropolitan Manila, Pasay City (founded in 1863) has changed into a vital local corridor between major urban centers. Its southwestern portion provides access between the city of Manila in the north with cities and municipalities like Parañaque, Las Piñas as well as the nearby municipalities in Cavite in the south. Likewise, its southeastern portion links Parañaque, Muntinlupa and Laguna with the cities of Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong as well as Quezon City. In other words, Pasay City is a facilitator of trade among its neighboring LGUs.
The city also serves as an international gateway not just to Metro Manila but the whole Philippines with the existence of both the domestic and international airports within its jurisdiction. As an international gateway, Pasay City holds the visitors’ first and last impression that is crucial to the Philippines’ business and industries, especially the tourism industry.
As an global gateway and a transport passageway, Pasay City shares in the administrative supervision of strategic roads such as Roxas Boulevard, Harrison Road and Taft Avenue on the southwest and EDSA (C-4) which runs from east to west. These linkages facilitate economic interdependence. The efficiency of the city could be adversely affected should vehicular traffic in Pasay City be left unattended.
Complementing Pasay City’s strategic location is its relatively flat terrain, which has the capacity to absorb a large population and intense commercial enterprises. Another feature that could work to its advantage is its western coastline expanded through reclamation. In fact, a large portion of the city is already made up of reclaimed lands where prominent landmarks and national government offices are now established.
“In fact, the vibrant commercial area spanning over 400,000 square meters in Pasay City can become thrice as large as it is today if the group of tycoon Henry Sy would have its way. It wants to reclaim 300 hectares more of Manila Bay and use part of it to expand MOA. The SM group came a big step closer to that when it bagged a joint venture (JV) deal with the Pasay local government” (Rappler Report, January, 2014).
As a whole, Pasay City has the basic fundamentals that could sustain its economic machinery. It has highly educated and skilled manpower as well as managers; adequate supply of electricity and water; excellent access provided by light rail transit systems, excellent communication facilities, road networks and airports; and some land for expansion. The city is like a corporate enterprise that needs to be sustained. It has ventured to compete for investment for it to generate tax revenues, create livelihood and provide employment to its legitimate residents. With its strategically located reclaimed properties along its western coastline, the city is now strategically competitive with its progressive neighboring LGUs.
In conclusion, allow me to share with you a quote from its current Mayor, Antonio “Tony” G. Calixto, “I’m grateful and proud of the progress the City (Pasay) has made over the past years. When I was elected as Mayor, I told my constituents that my intention was to serve wholeheartedly in order to help Pasay City during this critical time of transformation. As the internationally influential economic thinker, statistician and economist, Ernst F. Schumacher once said, ‘Economic development is something much wider and deeper than economics, let alone econometrics. Its roots lie outside the economic sphere, in education, organization, discipline and, beyond that, in political independence and a national consciousness of self-reliance’.”
With local initiatives aiming to increase tourist arrivals and increase foreign and domestic investments, Mayor Tony Calixto has been credited with the changing image of Pasay City from “Sin City” into a “Travel City”. Kudos Pasay City.
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