First Philippine Industrial Park
BATANGAS in the mid-1990s was a vast expanse of land overrun with grass. The neck-high weeds soon gave way to an ordered landscape of wide avenues lined with spanking new buildings, plus utilities and the other infrastructure that make the workaday life smooth and hassle-free for thousands of Filipino workers.
The Lopez Group in 1997 put up First Philippine Industrial Park (FPIP), a 315-hectare industrial property that straddles the municipality of Sto. Tomas and the city of Tanauan at the edge of Batangas, as a response to then President Fidel V. Ramos’s call for big business to contribute to nation building and help draw foreign investors to the Philippines.
Developed and managed by FPIP Inc., the park is touted as the best of its kind in the Philippines, with its combination of unique offerings and special advantages.
Manuel Lizardo Jr. of the corporate services department likened FPIP to a “subdivision, only industrial” where tracts of land, readybuilt facilities (RBFs) and built-to-suit facilities are sold or leased to manufacturing companies, mostly multinationals.
“The Lopez Group has poured billions into this place, it’s a big investment, part of the Lopez Credo
of nationalism and pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit,” Lizardo said. He cited FPIP’s world-class infrastructure and facilities that include much widerthan- standard road networks, all-underground cable systems, and dedicated industrial utilities. Another feature unique to FPIP is its three eco parks/forest trails that are home to a wide variety of hardwood and indigenous plants and trees. These eco park have hosted many a number of Walk the Talk activities for Lopez Group companies and for its locators.First Philippine Industrial Park
Running the facility is a lean team of 35 people led by president Hector Dimacali and senior vice president for Park Management and Development Alexander Roque. Roque, who was seconded from First Philippine Holdings Corporation, was the project manager for the First Sumiden Circuits Inc. facility in the nearby Light Industry and Science Park (LISP) 1 before he moved on to help in the development of FPIP; at the same time, he also worked on the headquarters of the Asian Eye Institute in Rockwell Center.
The FPIP team also includes a sales and marketing group in charge of account acquisition and a customer care group. “We do a lot of outsourcing for security, landscaping, construction, but closely manage all our contractors and service providers,” Lizardo shared.
In FPIP, land is sold in lots ranging in size from a couple of hectares to as large as 27 hectares for Nestlé Philippines—the Swiss company’s P4.3-billion factory is currently the biggest FPIP locator in terms of land area.
RBFs, completed factory buildings or warehouses, are leased out to companies that do not have the luxury of time to buy land and construct facilities from the ground up. As for those that require a structure built according to their specifications, FPIP offers built-to-suit facilities. “We are very strong in construction management so the company can do that for them,” Lizardo said. Locators are mostly in technology manufacturing, solar energy, semiconductors, steel, and plastics engineering industries.
FPIP’s anchor locators include, in addition to Nestlé, multinational companies like Honda Philippines Inc., Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc., SunPower Philippines Manufacturing Ltd. Lopez Group companies First Electro Dynamics Corporation, First Philec Solar Corporation and First Philippine Development Corporation are also among the FPIP locators. In all, FPIP’s 55 locators currently directly employ some 16,000 people.
“FPIP doesn’t sell to just anyone. The company studies a potential locator’s industry and analyzes the prospect’s long term sustainability. It would be nice if the companies that locate here are the sustainable ones that will stay for a long time and are environmentally conscious/ friendly,” Lizardo said.
Despite FPIP’s land prices at a premium compared to other industrial parks, it continues to attract blue-chip clients, which Lizardo attributes to a combination of “good value proposition, excellent facilities and services, reliable park management system, and best in class customer care.” For his part, Roque pinpoints two main factors that set FPIP apart from other industrial parks, including its nearest neighbors in Batangas, the RFM-Science Park of the Philippines and LiMA Technology Center.
“WFirst Philippine Industrial Park
e’re eyed as the one to beat because infrastructure-wise, we have the best,” Roque said. “But anybody who has money can always put up infrastructure that can match or even surpass ours. So we invest a lot in the software side—excellent customer service— to differentiate us from all these industrial parks.”
Thus, the park manager added, the dip in the world economy didn’t negatively impact on FPIP’s ability to bag the big clients because of its “good value reputation, good infrastructure and good customer service.”
Boosting FPIP’s stock even further is the fact that it has the most number of park management engineers among its manpower of all the industrial parks. This enables the company to offer practicable solutions when locators come to them with technical issues. In addition, since most of the locators are multinationals and new to the Philippines, FPIP also includes them in various CSR activities and advocacies, staff training and information sharing.
“We see to everything, from landscaping, discipline inside the park, the construction of buildings, cleanliness, security—we have to control everything,” Roque stressed. “We also have to ensure that the locators follow all the rules of the government and FPIP’s park rules and regulations. We tell them that we’re serious in protecting the environment.”
Having previously worked in electronic manufacturing companies himself, Roque knows exactly how FPIP’s brand of customer service stacks up against that of its competitors. “The difference is, those locators in other industrial parks didn’t get any support from the park administration. The administration people just did their usual job because they were being paid to do so. In FPIP, we focus and we inculcate in the minds of our employees that they have to serve all the locators.” First Philippine Industrial Park
As Lizardo explained, “existing locators are the park’s No. 1 salesmen. If their experience is good, they will bring in other locators and/or their suppliers.” Now, even as FPIP plans to expand its land area further, the company is also looking to its other offerings for sustainability. Propitiously, it’s strategically located right between Mt. Makiling and Tagaytay, in addition to having the San Juan River traverse the park, making the area the catch basin for the water coming from the elevated areas of Mt. Makiling and Tagaytay. This strategic location helps feed the rich water table in the area supporting FPIP’s other core recurring-revenue businesses—water supply and wastewater treatment.
What’s next for FPIP? “Of course, we want to maintain our status of being the No. 1 industrial park in the Philippines, the benchmark of all the industrial parks,” said Roque. “At the end of the day, it is really the kind of best-in-class customer service offered by our employees that makes us different from other industrial parks. Our strength as a company is really our people.”