President Rodrigo Duterte led the inauguration of the Bataan Government Center and Business Hub, called “The Bunker”, at the capitol compound.

Duterte was accompanied by Governor Albert Garcia, Vice Governor Crisanta Garcia, 1st District Rep. Geraldine Roman, 2nd District Rep. Jose Enrique Garcia III and Balanga City Mayor Francis Garcia in unveiling the marker of The Bunker.

At the entrance of the seven-storey building is a replica of an armored tank used by Filipino and American soldiers during World War II.

In his speech, Duterte said he was amazed by the development of Bataan. He gave the province a grade of 8 out of 10, saying it is one of the fastest growing local government units in the country.

“This is one of the success stories of Public-Private Partnership. Its proximity to Manila, its history and now the presence of the Bataan Government and Business Hub or The Bunker serve as factors in Bataan growth,” he said.

Duterte said delays in public transactions are what make the government “ugly”, as he underscored the significance of the Ease of Doing Business Act.

He urged Filipinos to be assertive of their rights as taxpayers, saying the public has the right to fend off bribes and demand for fast government service.

He said the Bureau of Internal Revenue should consider taxing the gross income instead of the net to stop corruption in the agency.

He also announced that more heads will roll at the Bureau of Customs, some working for more than 30 years in the agency.

Meanwhile, Governor Garcia, together with the officials of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) and other agencies signed a memorandum of undertaking for the establishment of the 1Bataan One-Stop Service Center for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in The Bunker.

“The modern interior design symbolizes the rise and progress of Bataan from then on. This building is the result of the Public-Private Partnership. Not a single centavo from the provincial government coffers was spent during the construction of this majestic structure. Thanks to our private partner, MTD Alloy,” the governor said.

MTD Alloy is the Malaysian company that built The Bunker that will be turned over to the provincial government after 25 years.

Garcia said 18 national government agencies initially agreed to establish offices in the facility.

These agencies and the provincial government, whose offices will be housed in the building, will be paying rent to MTD Alloy.

“Sa tuwing makikita natin ang napaka-majestic na ‘The Bunker’ ay maaalaala at mai-inspire tayo sa pagmamahal sa bayan ng ating mga beterano (Every time, we see the Bunker so majestic, we remember and inspire with the love of our veterans to our nation) ” he said.

He said the building does not have much concrete or wooden walls inside.

“There will be good collaboration, teamwork and efficiency between national and local government offices. Hopefully, it will work well for us and will serve to our province with more harmony and be more efficient in serving our people,” Garcia said.

“One of the features of The Bunker is the Ease of Doing Business. At the second floor, you can see for the first time in the country national government offices together with local offices will be under one roof and eventually under one system that has never been done in our country,” the governor added.

During the event, Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos led the blessing of the building, while the Manila Symphony Orchestra and the Aeta children’s choir from the Magbukon Tribe serenaded the audience. (PNA)