PAMPANGA

Range: All in the name of progress

At Close Range

SOLICITED or not, the Bulacan airport project of the San Miguel Aerocity, Inc., a unit of the huge conglomerate San Miguel Corporation, has caused quite a stir among business leaders.

The proposal to grant tax perks to the ambitious big project has met various oppositions.

One group called Action for Economic Reforms (AER) tasked the Senate to scrap the tax exemption provision in Senate Bill 1823, which grants a franchise to San Miguel Aerocity to build the New Manila International Airport in Bulakan town.

The Senate bill provides exemptions from any and all direct and indirect taxes and fees of any kind during the proposed airport's construction period and income and real estate taxes.

This move by the Senate provides a wrong signal to other prospective investors as transportation expert Rene Santiago said the measure would not provide a level playing field to other investors. He curtly said: Whatever incentives you give to one private proponent, you have to give everybody.

Whatever the oppositions are, this is to give credit to the bold initiative of the San Miguel Corporation to initiate a project no one dared to undertake because of the very huge investment involved. Yet, when the challenge was hurled regarding the need for a grand airport to accommodate millions of travelers, who took it promptly and without preconditions? Why, obviously, it was San Miguel Corporation's Ramon Ang. And where are the others? Sour graping.

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In Mabalacat City, there are also projects lined up of consequential bearing to the growth and progress of this booming city: the upgrading of its public market, abattoir, a sports complex, command center, extension of a hemodialysis center, designed to accommodate the city's marginalized sector.

Rosan S. Paquia, the hardworking chief of the City Planning and Development Office, disclosed that the road network of Mabalacat City would be designed to make it a seamless one, accessible from all directions to provide citizens hassle-free travel. His office, it must be told, creates and innovates plans for the betterment of the city and its residents.


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