Metro Laguna

STA. ROSA CITY, Laguna — Relatively young after it was granted cityhood in July 2004, Sta. Rosa has just entered the so-called billionaires’ club of local government units in the country.

“We are now on full blast,” said first-term Sta. Rosa City Mayor Arlene Nazareno who acknowledged the city’s partnership with the private sector has helped fuel its growth.

Nazareno said some 20 years ago, Sta. Rosa, with a land area of 5,543,362 hectares, was a small, rustic agricultural land east of Metro Manila.

When the 387-ha Laguna Technopark, the country’s first industrial estate opened here in 1980, Sta. Rosa was deemed as the “gateway” to the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) Region.

In 2008, Sta. Rosa had registered 3,945 businesses.

“We are still advocating partnership with the private sector,” said Nazareno, adding that the “bulk” of the city’s revenue comes from taxes paid by the private firms.


It was in 1972 when the city was established as a separate municipality from its neighboring town, Biñan.

In 1988, Sta. Rosa was downgraded from being a first class to a fourth class municipality because of an executive order that revised the classification.

The city’s annual revenue was only P11 million in 1989. It increased to P263 million in 1999.

“We doubled that income to P500 million in 2003, the year before becoming a city,” said Nazareno.

Sta. Rosa “breached the P1 billion-mark (in terms of revenue) in 2007,” she said.

In 2008, the city’s income increased by 12.8 percent from the previous year.

“Our Internal Revenue Allotment was only about P320 million but our income reached P1.2 billion last year. These came mostly from the business and realty taxes paid,” she said.

Motor city

Sta. Rosa was regarded as the Philippines’ motor city housing four of the country’s major car manufacturing companies—Ford, Toyota, Honda and Nissan Motors.

The combined manpower pool was 2,991 people. The four automotive companies also account for 90 percent of the total car manufacturing output of the country.

Aries Zapanta, city public information officer, said the city government is looking at the car trading sector to also fuel this year’s revenue as it already reached P750 million for the first half of 2009.

Metro Laguna

“Among the cities included in Metro Laguna, Sta. Rosa essentially was the lead (city) since the industries are here,” Zapanta said.

Metro Laguna is composed of Sta. Rosa, Calamba, Los Baños, Cabuyao and San Pablo City and regarded by the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) as cities and municipalities that have shown a boom in real estate and business outsourcing sector.

Zapanta said the firm KGB-INFONXX has been operating since 2004 in the village of Sto. Domingo, while Teletech, another outsourcing firm, started its operations in 2008 in the village of Tagapo.

Nazareno said Sta. Rosa provides employment to 86,940 people and “contributes about a billion dollars to our country’s export earnings.”