The Philippines: San Miguel to build Bulacan airport despite veto of economic zone bill

  • SAN MIGUEL CORP. would proceed with building an international airport north of the Philippine capital even after a presidential veto of a bill that would have created a special economic zone there, the company said.
  • “San Miguel remains fully committed to continuing on its path of growth through building the New Manila International Airport — seen as the solution to decades of air traffic and land congestion that have severely limited the country’s growth,” it said in a statement.
  • Filipino billionaire and San Miguel President Ramon S. Ang said the government stands to lose PHP200bn in yearly export revenue from the planned economic zone that President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. rejected.
  • “We respect and abide by the government’s decision,” he said in the statement. Mr. Ang expressed optimism that the vision for the ecozone could still be realized after the presidential veto “given the many benefits it will bring to the country.”
  • He said the state could reap about USD200bn in export revenue annually from potential foreign investors in the aviation, manufacturing, technology, education, healthcare and tourism industries.
  • San Miguel, one of the country’s biggest and most diversified companies, is investing PHP740bn to turn a 2,500-hectare property in Bulacan province into an aerotropolis featuring a world-class gateway that can handle 100 million passengers yearly.
  • “Among our plans for the ecozone is to help create science and technology export hubs with the cheapest logistics cost, because these will be close to the airport and seaport,” Mr. Ang said.
  • “We are looking to attract world-class semiconductor manufacturers, battery power storage system manufacturers, electric vehicle makers and even modular nuclear power assemblies and other new and emerging tech industries,” he added.
  • “The country would need several airports to efficiently serve Filipinos, tourists, and industries,” he said.
  • “What we don’t want is to repeat the mistakes of the past where we were not quick enough to develop new infrastructure, giving rise to overcapacity and congestion on our aging roads, ports and other facilities, and even in our skies.”
  • The Presidential Palace said Mr. Marcos is still open to supporting the ecozone once lawmakers fix the “defects” of the bill.
  • Albay Rep. Jose Maria Clemente S. Salceda said the House of Representatives would require a cost-and-benefit analysis of the proposed Bulacan economic zone and will introduce safeguards to address Mr. Marcos’ concerns.
  • “As early as now, I am telling potential investors and other proponents to give us a sense of their plans so that we can already weigh the costs versus the benefits,” he said in a Viber message.

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