BSP tapped to bankroll construction of ASEAN’s largest exhibition center in CCP Complex

The Marcos administration is once again asking the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to dig deep into its vaults, this time to fund the development of a vast exhibition and convention center in the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) complex.

The proposed Philippine International Exhibition Center (PIEC), a pet project of First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, is meant to level up the country’s competitiveness in getting a nibble of the burgeoning market for MICE or meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibition. It will also position the Philippines competitively among its ASEAN counterparts, which have boosted their exports after establishing permanent facilities for suppliers, exhibitors, and buyers.

Based on documents obtained by Bilyonaryo.com, the BSP has been tasked with providing the required P18 billion for the PIEC’s construction, with the Philippine International Convention Center (which is owned by the BSP) slated to manage its operations.

The BSP has been previously mandated to contribute all of its dividends in the first two years of the Maharlika Fund until it reaches a maximum of P50 billion.

Architect William Ti Jr. has been chosen as planner and designer for the PIEC which he dubbed as “Ciudad del Fiera.” His portfolio includes the Horizon Manila Bay reclamation project and the renovation of Mariano Marcos Stadium in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.

Ti envisions the project as the largest MICE exhibition building in ASEAN (covering 10 hectares) set within a Central Park reminiscent of Washington D.C.’s National Mall.

With an estimated 18-month construction timeline, Ti aims to complete the project ahead of the country’s hosting of the ASEAN Summit in 2026.

The BSP also sits on the board of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) which has been tasked by the First Lady to handle the construction of a world-class facility to showcase Philippine products and hold major conventions.

Through the PIEC, the First Lady seeks to revive CITEM’s HallOne Design for Exports, a venue showcasing Philippine export products and offering year-round trade and export services. The PIEC will help the Philippines keep pace with other ASEAN countries.

CITEM plans to lease the Folk Arts Theater – commissioned by former First Lady Imelda Marcos for the 1977 Miss Universe Pageant, as an exhibition hall for Philippine products, pending a safety assessment by a team from the University of Santo Tomas.

Government Service Insurance System President Wick Veloso, who is proposing a major facelift of the pension fund’s properties in the CCP Complex, such as Sofitel Philippine Plaza, has proposed repurposing the former site of the Chinese restaurant Gloria Maris as an alternative exhibition hall.

In addition to the PIEC, upgrading the PICC and constructing additional hotel facilities to accommodate conference participants are crucial elements of the 88-hectare complex’s redevelopment along Roxas Boulevard.

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