Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Town wants 70% share in Clark zone earnings

By Dante M. Fabian

CLARK ECOZONE -- Mabalacat town officials are now working to raise revenues through the collection of a higher percentage share on the gross incomes of locators in Sacobia Valley.

Mayor Marino Morales said the move to collect a bigger share from earnings of Clark locators is in accordance with resolutions passed recently by the Municipal Council.

He said Task Force Sacobia will be finalized soon to represent the local government in discussions with the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) and locators on matters related to the town's collections.

Through Resolutions 42 and 42A, the Municipal Council has expressed its intent to collect 70 percent, instead of the original 1 percent, on gross incomes earned (GIE) of Clark locators.

Over 5,600 hectares of raw lands in Sacobia Hills were included in the Clark economic zone through an executive order issued by former President Fidel V. Ramos. The lands came under the management of CDC in 1997.

Morales said that in agreeing to have the raw lands in the town used, Mabalacat officials asserted conditions to protect the rights and interests of the residents of Mabalacat and the local government.

He said town officials, after consultations with the populace, agreed to have Mabalacat lands placed under the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) upon certain conditions.

These included the right of the town to collect revenues from locators in the Sacobia Hills area, which falls within the town's jurisdiction.

Morales earlier pressed collection of taxes and fees from locators in the Clark ecozone in light of the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) last year.

However, protests raised by CDC president Antonio R. Ng prevented Mabalacat officials from pursuing their intention.

Ruperto Cruz, Pinoy Gumising Ka Movement (PGKM) chairman, earlier said they were apprehensive over what Mabalacat officials were planning to do. He said they feared that locators in the Mabalacat area would close shop and this would result in the loss of employment of 8,888 MabalaqueƱo workers.

Morales said he and other town officials agreed to defer the planned collection of taxes from locators but is now supporting bills in Congress to institute tax and duty free privileges of Clark ecozone locators. (Sun.Star Pampanga/Sunnex)


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