By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
Locators at the Mactan Economic Zone 1 (MEZ1) would demand a total of $6.3 billion in compensation from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) should they be forced to relocate to give way to the construction of a second international runway.
Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director-General Charito B. Plaza said this as the Mactan Export Processing Zone Chamber of Exporters and Manufacturers (MEPZCEM) Chamber, Inc. and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Cebu, Inc. (JCCI-CI) submitted a joint petition concerning the proposed runway to MCIAA General Manager and CEO Atty. Steve Dicdican last December 19, 2019 and to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-ICC secretariat last January 16 for fear the proposed runway would force industries to relocate away from the area.
Of the $6.3-billion compensation, $2.3 billion would be used to cover relocation costs and additional $4 billion for revenue loss and expired inventory.
PEZA has thrown its full support to the MEZ 1 locators’ position but denied insinuation that it urged industries to go against the proposed second runway of the Mactan Cebu International Airport, the construction of which would require the relocation of the locator companies at the MEZ I, which is situated in Brgy. Ibo, Lapu-Lapu City.
“It was the locators’ own initiative to release a petition for reconsideration of the plans with a lot of things at stake,” PEZA Director General Charito Plaza explained.
PEZA also believes that such relocation would have both economic and social implications since locators may leave or close operations in MEZ and entail job losses.
“[The report] has produced a perception of uncertainty in the PEZA Ecozone Business environment (…) to the extent that new investments for expansion of present capacities are put on hold and plans to relocate the other countries in Asia are already on the table,” stated in the MEZ 1 petition as quoted by PEZA.
Plaza explained that MEZ I is home of 150 MEPZCEM member-locators, which employ a total of 57,000 direct and 285,000 indirect workers. The Lapu-Lapu City Government also shares in the income taxes paid by these locators consisting of 2 percent of the 5 percent special income tax rate paid.
“MEZ 1 is one of the biggest contributor to our city’s economy. We cannot afford to lose MEZ 1,” Plaza quoted Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan.