Ang says Bulacan ecozone to accelerate economic growth, contribute US$200B in export revenues annually

by Philippine Resources - July 07, 2022

Photo credit: Global Daily Mirror

Government stands to reap upwards of US$200B in export revenues annually from potential foreign investors from the aviation, manufacturing, technology, education, healthcare, and tourism industries, if the vision for the Bulacan Airport Economic Zone is realized, SMC President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Ang said. 

Following the recent veto by Malacanang of House Bill 7575, “An Act Establishing the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport”, Ang expressed optimism that the vision for the ecozone could still be realized, given the many benefits it will bring to the country. 

“We respect and abide by the government's decision. We thank him for recognizing where the proposed Freeport bill can be further improved, and we look forward to working with his administration towards perfecting this. We are eager to continue working with government, and play an active role in helping our country reach its goals — as we have faithfully and consistently done,” said Ang. 

Ang, whose SMC is fully financing and building the P740 -billion New Manila International Airport (NMIA) project in Bulacan, maintained a positive outlook about the decision, saying that if all the issues raised in the President’s veto could be addressed, and recognizing that the primary intent of the ecozone is for the benefit the country and Filipinos, its full potential could still be realized. 

Ang added that the Bulacan economic zone, if approved, would be managed by the Philippine government, and any tax incentives to be given to investors will still pass the Department of Finance’s Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) review and approval process, to ensure these are aligned with the CREATE Law. 

The CREATE Law was enacted to provide relief to foreign and local corporations already doing business in the Philippines, in light of the pandemic. 

“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. 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. We estimate these industries alone will add some US$200 billion in annual exports—a big boost to our GDP,” Ang said. 

He expressed firm belief that the long-term benefits to the country of the ecozone would far outweigh and outnumber any supposed “losses” due to the grant of incentives to potential investors. 

He said these benefits include hundreds of thousands of new jobs to be generated, which will benefit the next and future generations of young Filipino graduates, professionals, and skilled workers. 

The transfer of knowledge and technology from foreign investors and locators, as well as access to world-class education and healthcare opportunities and services — industries the ecozone also looks to attract — would also be invaluable. 

These are on top of the trillions in tax revenues that will accrue to the government for the entire lifetime of the ecozone and airport, coming from the various industries and institutions that will set up facilities and operations there, to take advantage of the low cost of logistics, incentives, and our country’s primary asset: a high-quality workforce. 

“Incentives are a way for government to attract much-needed investments into our country, especially now that we are all pulling together to help our economy not just recover, but continuously grow in the post-pandemic era. This way, our future generations will have enough and better opportunities than we have.” 

Ang also addressed the issue of NMIA being close to the Clark Airport, which was mentioned in the veto and was initially raised by the DoF under the previous administration, which said NMIA would “compete” with Clark International Airport. 

Ang said that apart from the considerable distance between the two airports—Clark is approximately some 100 kilometers from Metro Manila—large and progressive cities all over the world employ a multiple airport strategy, such as Tokyo and New York, among others. 

Anticipating the long-term population and economic growth of Metro Manila and Luzon provinces in the next 20-30 years, and taking into consideration the limited expansion opportunities for the current gateway, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)—which only has space for one runway operating at any given time, compared to NMIA’s four parallel runways—-the country would need several airports to efficiently serve Filipinos, tourists, and industries, Ang added. 

“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. Temporary fixes will not do anymore. We are building for the future, with a clear vision of a fully-developed and progressive, prosperous Philippines,” Ang said. 

Ang said that regardless of the outcome of any further government review or action on the ecozone, SMC remains fully committed to continuing on its path of growth through nation-building, and building the NMIA—seen as the solution to decades of air traffic and land congestion that have severely limited the country’s growth. 

“We believe in, and fully subscribe to President Marcos’ message of unity. It’s something we have always tried to demonstrate in many ways, particularly in times of great difficulty for our nation. We will do everything we can to help President Bongbong Marcos and his administration succeed, because their success is our country’s success. We look forward to working with them and contributing to their efforts to build our country back even better,” Ang said. 

 

Article courtesy of San Miguel


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Philippine Resources - September 02, 2021

Palafox to make Bulacan airport and aerocity the pacesetter for green, inclusive cities in the country

San Miguel Corporation’s (SMC) airport and aerocity project in Bulakan, Bulacan will be a pacesetter for green cities that are both sustainable and equitable, one that aims to address social and environmental concerns that affect even the country’s major financial districts today. This, according to the country’s top urban planner and green architect Felino “Jun” Palafox Jr. who outlined some of the major features that he and SMC president Ramon S. Ang envision for the much-anticipated development in Bulacan. Palafox Associates has been tapped by SMC to help masterplan its airport plus city concept or “aerocity” development--where its massive, P740-billion airport project, the New Manila International Airport will be located. Comparing the Bulacan project to environment-enhancing developments in Dubai and other parts of the world, Palafox said the development will integrate the best practices in green, sustainable, and disaster-resilient architecture that he has advocated and implemented in some 1,700 projects in about 45 countries worldwide. Palafox said the new development will take advantage of SMC president Ramon S. Ang’s forward-thinking and bias for taking action to undertake projects without cost to the government. “I’m aligned with the mission, vision and goal of Ramon Ang. He invited me to partner with him in this new undertaking: a green aerotropolis. At Palafox, we’ve analyzed that we need at least 100 new cities all over the Philippinex by 2050. If we don’t do it, our cities will become as bad, if not worse than Metro Manila. We envision the Bulacan Aerocity development as the first model and pacesetter for future green and sustainable cities in the country” Palafox said. (L-R) Urban planner and Architect Felino “Jun” A. Palafox, Jr., Mr Joey Nelson R. Ayson (President, Philippine Mining and Exploration Association), Marcelle P. Villegas (Journalist, Philippine Resources Journal) For his part, SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said that the project will be a legacy project, not just of him and Palafox, but of the present generation to future generations of Filipinos. “I want to emphasize to our countrymen that what we are building is more than just an international gateway with four runways, with an infrastructure network to connect it directly to Metro Manila and many other points in Luzon. The airport is just one component-- what we’re building is the Philippines’ first truly green city of the future,” Ang said. “We see this project as a silver lining amid all the difficulties we face today because of the pandemic. All Filipinos are looking forward to a future where COVID-19 is less of a threat to our lives and our economy. We want to see the positive developments that lie ahead for our country. I believe this is one of the best things we can look forward to with much hope and optimism,” he added. Ang also touted the significant economic impact the project will have on the country and the Filipino people. “Airport cities around the world generate a significant amount of jobs, and that is ultimately what we want to do. We need jobs and opportunities for our countrymen today, but more importantly, for the next generation in the coming years, especially since we are trying to recover from a pandemic,” Ang said. He added that “The jobs we will generate will not be limited to the airport city, or Bulacan province alone, but will extend to neighboring provinces, the rest of Luzon, and many other parts of the country which will benefit from increased tourism, increased investments because of better accessibility.” Ang also said that he and Palafox have agreed to integrate best practices in green architecture, green urbanism, and green urban planning to the Aerocity development, and avoid the mistakes that have contributed to the present-day problems of the country’s biggest cities today. Metro Manila: What went wrong Palafox pointed out a number of contributing factors that have made life difficult for many people working in today’s primary business districts, which the Aerocity project will aim to address. “The mistake in Makati’s central business district, Bonifacio Global City, and Ortigas is exclusionary or discriminatory zoning--excluding the employees from their places of work. Employees are like OFWs in their own countries, because they are five to six hours away from their places of work and families, because of traffic congestion,” Palafox said. “Before, real estate criterion was always location, location, location. Now, it’s more than location; it’s accessibility, accessibility, accessibility, and mobility, mobility, mobility. That is why the infrastructure that both government and private sector companies like SMC are doing now, are very welcome, as they alleviate the traffic that many people have no choice but to endure,” Palafox added. Palafox related that in 1990, Makati reclassified and increased the density of the Makati CBD by four times. However, access capacity and mobility was not similarly increased four times. Adding to the problem is the fact that the CBD is constricted by gated, low-density neighborhoods, villages, and a gated cemetery--making it more difficult for most people to walk to work. “Elsewhere in the world, NYC, European cities, Singapore, are ‘walkable’ because within 250-750 meters, there is a walking facility. Around Makati City, BGC, and Ortigas, you’re surrounded by gated communities, so you have to walk about one to two kilometers to go around. Our planning in the Philippines had the wrong model: Los Angeles, which was designed for automobiles,” he explained. He also cited the prevailing influence of Spanish rule as a constraint. “I’m talking about the colonial town plaza concept, where the elite or illustrados lived around the town plaza where the church, munisipyo and central park are. Meanwhile, the peasants or indios and Chinese merchants lived in extramuros, or outside. That was 500 years ago, but it’s still a concept in our urban planning development today,” he explained. Enhancing the environment Meanwhile, for Ang, apart from generating jobs, one of the most important considerations for the project is improving the environment--not just within and around the airport project, but throughout Bulacan province. “From the very beginning, I promised Bulakenyos and all our stakeholders in government that the airport project and the aerocity development will have significant benefits for the province and the whole country. We will make sure to do everything right, because this is our biggest investment to date, and our legacy to the next generations,” Ang said. “Specifically, we will clean up the environment, clear the river systems to enable water to flow freely again and address flooding; we will establish mangrove forests, with some 190,000 mangroves all over Bulacan and neighboring provinces to enhance biodiversity and help mitigate tidal flooding. We’re also looking to develop and enhance natural habitats of marine and bird species. There’s so much more we can do,” he added. For the development itself, Ang said he and Palafox look to integrate the following concepts: Adopt green architectural and green urbanism guidelines over and above the country’s building and zoning codes, which Palafox said no longer follows international standards. Follow the structural codes of other countries, specifically those situated in similar earthquake zones as the Philippines. Creation of an “innovation hub” where both learning institutions and technology-driven global companies can thrive. As such, Palafox has put forth a “town and gown” or university town concept, where learning institutions and the community partner together, such as in Cambridge and Boston in the United States, where Harvard University is. SMC is also looking to put up a medical and research facility along with the school. The aerocity project will be equipped with the latest in digital infrastructure, to enable people to work and conduct business anywhere. The development will also have lots of open spaces, as these are the “lungs” of a city. Palafox cited that Metro Manila went from green to gridlock because many parks and open spaces were reclassified into sellable and buildable properties. As the population grew, the parks and open spaces started disappearing. Meanwhile, the aim for the Bulacan development is to allot highest and best use for the improvement of the environment, and to address climate change. These will be included in his proposed guidelines for green architecture and green urban planning. Ultimately, the plan is to positively impact the whole of Bulakan, Bulacan so that in the end, Bulacan will not just be a province with an airport, but an airport-driven province. In master-planning the development, “ridge to reef” planning will also be employed, taking into consideration the improvement of mountain ridges or highlands, midlands, the lowlands, and the coastline.            Public transport will also be easily accessible. One of the things being considered is a bicycle highway connected to the train system. Palafox said the city will be a “healthy city”. It will be “walkable and attractive”. It will have less need for security because it will be open and there won’t be too many walls around the city, which Palafox sees as encouraging crime, and contributing to the heat index, as they obstruct cross ventilation in cities. Meanwhile, the coastal area or Manila Bay waterfront will also be utilized for walkways, waterfront promenades. Finally, Palafox and Ang said they will prioritize the triple bottomline: people first for social equity, alleviating poverty, and job creation or inclusivity. Then planet and the environment come next, with prosperity, economic growth, and profit following.   Article Courtesy of San Miguel Corporation 

Construction

Philippine Resources - September 24, 2021

DOTr eyes GenSan airport as alternate int'l gateway

Photo credit: Department of Transportation The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is pushing for the inclusion of the newly rehabilitated and expanded airport here as among the alternate gateways for returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and international travelers. DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade proposed the move on Thursday as he personally led the formal unveiling and inauguration of the city airport’s new passenger terminal building and other completed facilities. He said the city’s international standard airport can accommodate airline passengers coming in from as far as the Middle East. Tugade said it can be realized once the proposed increase in the daily cap for returning OFWs, currently at 2,000 for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), is approved. 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Construction

Philippine Resources - June 09, 2021

Terminal 2 of Clark International Airport to Open in July

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade led a recent inspection of the New Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) of Clark International Airport (CRK) in Pampanga. The inspection conducted is part of the preparation for the upcoming opening of the new CRK Terminal. With Luzon International Premiere Airport Development (FLIPAD) Corporation President Bi Yong Chungunco, personally circulated by Sec. Tugade inside the new terminal to see construction progress. Secretary Tugade is also with DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan, to discuss the layout of the map route alignment for the North-South Commuter Railway Extension (NSCREx) project that will connect to CRK underground station. On July 2021, the new airport terminal for domestic operations is set to be launched, which will be followed by the opening of international operations in September 2021. It's estimated that it will be up to 12.2 million passengers who can service the new terminal will be open and full scale operations, triple the number compared to the current 4.2 million passengers it serves every year (before the pandemic). This project will help a lot in the long term economic growth of the country, tourism growth, especially in providing employment and other opportunities for our countrymen. In fact, more than 1,600 workers have also been given the opportunity to be part of the project in the midst of the pandemic and it is expected that the number of jobs will be increased by the time the new terminal of Clark International Airport project is finished. "You wait and see a real 'world class' terminal. It's coming up, it's coming up in Clark. Thanks to LIPAD, the men and women of Clark International Airport are really very good," galak na pahayag ni Secretary Tugade. DOTr Assistant Secretary for Aviation and Airports Jim Melo, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Chief of Staff and Airport Projects Team Head Atty. Danjun Lucas, and other representatives from FLIPAD Corp.   Article Courtesy of the Department of Transport

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Philippine Resources - August 05, 2022

NICKEL ASIA CORPORATION ANNOUNCES P3.83B NET INCOME FOR H1 2022, UP 41% YoY

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Mining

Philippine Resources - August 04, 2022

Further shallow copper mineralisation identified at MCB

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Mining

Philippine Resources - August 04, 2022

Diokno banks on mining for sustained economic recovery, expansion

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