Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mayor confident of EO 500B's passage

CLARK FREEPORT -- Mabalacat Mayor Marino Morales has expressed confidence that Executive Order (EO) 500-B would be passed, citing "the solidarity demonstrated by Clark investors and locators which was instrumental in the signing of the Freeport Law."

During a recent general assembly of the Clark Investors and Locators Association (Cila), Morales said the signing of Republic Act (RA) 9400 or the Freeport Law "was greatly influenced by the united efforts" shown by investors inside the Freeport.

The signing of Freeport Law, he added, "is a precedent" that could convince President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to order for the immediate passage of EO 500-B.

"Your display of unity and solidarity has played a vital role in the signing of RA 9400 which is why I am confident that the President will call for the speedy issuance of Executive Order 500-B before she steps down (from office) in 2010," Morales said.

EO 500-B allows more international flights at the 2,200-hectare Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA).

Last February this year, the President approved in principle the proposed EO 500-B that will amend the existing EO 500-A issued in August 2006. EO 500-A amended the original EO 500 released in January 2006.

Cila president Jeannie Del Rosario-Ng earlier wrote President Arroyo reiterating their appeal for the immediate passage of EO 500-B that would open more flights at DMIA.

"There is a pressing need for the passage of EO 500-B which will attract more flights at DMIA," del Rosario-Ng said in her letter to the President.

Morales also cited the recent agreement signed by Cila and the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC) as they vowed to join forces in the development of Subic, Clark, and the Central Luzon Growth Corridor.

"The alliance forged between these two business groups (Cila and SBFCC) assures the President in her vision to make Clark and Subic the most competitive services and logistics hub in the Asia-Pacific region," the mayor said.

He also announced that a Central Business District would soon rise in a 3,000-hectare area in Mabalacat. He that he will ask the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) to accommodate the Mabalacat's central business district in order to allow Clark investors to use the area for their expansion projects.

He urged Cila members and other Clark investors "to consider" his offer as he noted "saturation of leasable areas in the 4,200-hectare main zone of the Clark Freeport."

Morales also said Mabalacat is highly dependent on the growth of Clark's economy citing the two percent income the municipality gets from the Freeport's Gross Income Earned (GIE).

He said Mabalacat is receiving P387 million from the two percent local government unit (LGU) share it gets from Clark. He noted that its LGU share would increase to about P700 million when Mabalacat becomes a component city, he said. (RGN - SunStar)

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