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PIA Press Release

No layoffs in Dagupan-based mall chain, says head

By Danny O. Sagun

Dagupan City (19 February) -- The CSI Group of Companies is maintaining the same number of employees in the face of the global economic meltdown, the company head told a media forum this morning at the Philippine Information Agency office here.

Vice-Mayor Belen Fernandez, president of the popular mall chain based in the city, told the first edition of the KBP Forum that her company may even hire additional workers in view of company plans to expand operations in other places. She said that CSI is eyeing to put up a supermarket in nearby Mangaldan town.

She said that her company has been contributing to the government's employment program by providing opportunities for local workers as applicants from the concerned areas are usually given preference. "About 90 percent come from the concerned LGU (local government unit)," she said.

Asked of her reaction to a report that a Manila-based retail store which operates several branches nationwide is planning to put up a branch somewhere in Pangasinan, Fernandez noted that in a free enterprise like the Philippine economy fair competition is expected, not monopoly.

She expressed concern however that the entry of another mall in the province would affect the viability of the market or business with the presence of many local players already. She said it was up to local government units to look into the prevailing situation if there is still a need to accommodate another mall player.

Aside from the CSI group which has expanded operations to nearby provinces, the Magic Group of former City Mayor Benjamin Lim and the BHF group of the Balingit family are also very active in the mall business, putting up branches in the major urban areas in the province.

Fernandez said her malls will continue to improve on their services and maintain competitive prices of goods in order to attract more customers in spite of the entry of other mall players.

She said the economic meltdown may be felt in the province in the second quarter. She added she received reports that the crunch is already being felt in the Visayas. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]

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