President praises Megaworld for Newtown; Cebu, too, for its skilled workers

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Thursday, February 21, 2013


PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III reiterated a promise to make it easier for business owners to transact with the government and to avail themselves of competitive incentives.

He made the assurance in his speech during the unveiling yesterday morning of the Mactan Newtown, the flagship project in Cebu of Megaworld Corp.

“This is your first such (township-type) project outside Metro Manila, and the people from around here can assure you that you’ve made the right choice,” the President said.

“If there is any place where you can replicate your success in such projects in Metro Manila, it’s here in Cebu. The workers you will find here are skillful, creative, lighthearted, while possessing an unshakeable pride in the quality of their work,” he also said.

On the second day of his visit to Cebu, the President skipped a political sortie in Liloan town and instead went to Mactan. There, he thanked Megaworld executives, led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Tan, for investing in Cebu, creating jobs and providing facilities for more tourists.

Malacañang issued in June last year its Proclamation 407, declaring the 16 hectares of land owned by Megaworld in Mactan as a special economic zone.

Tan, in his speech, said the company is investing P20 billion for the project. He commended the Aquino administration for attracting more foreign retirees to the country.

Japanese retirees make up the bulk of buyers of two condominiums that Megaworld launched last year, 8 Newtown Boulevard and One Pacific Residence, the company said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

The President has instructed the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) under General Manager Ernie Atienza and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) to help Megaworld.

Higher target

The PRA processes documents of retirees who want to invest and reside permanently in the Philippines. Peza supervises economic zones.

“We see the Mactan Newtown as a major driver of growth for Lapu Lapu City and Cebu in general in terms of job opportunities, sports and recreation, retail shopping and of course, tourism,” Tan said.

President Aquino also reported the revised tourism target of 56.1 million travelers by 2016. That, after the tourism department confirmed that in 2011, the Philippines recorded 37.5 million domestic travelers.

“Just to put this number into perspective, this already surpassed our original 2016 target of 35.5 million domestic travelers…By then (2016), we expect that we will need more than 37,000 additional rooms in our destination clusters, which include Cebu,” Aquino said.

“Suffice it to say: we fully intend on sending more guests to hotels in Cebu—guests who will be riding in your boats, buying your dried mangoes, and eating your famed Cebu lechon. So, to Megaworld: If you have some extra space here after all your buildings are done, you cannot go wrong with building another hotel.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 21, 2013.

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