MANILA, Philippines (Midnanao Examiner / May 21, 2009) - The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has lauded world boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao’s decision to build a P1.2-billion privately run industrial estate in his home district in South Cotabato province, saying, this would help drive economic and employment growth throughout Mindanao.
"Manny could have easily stashed the riches he earned from boxing in passive investments in bank deposits and marketable securities. Instead, he has opted to put his money in a highly productive investment – in building factories – that help create badly needed new jobs," said TUCP secretary-general Ernesto Herrera.
"For this, we commend Manny. We hope that other Filipinos who have achieved great success and accumulated unusual wealth on account of their professions would do the same," Herrera said in a statement.
Herrera said it was noteworthy that a day after Pacquiao’s plan became public, the Social Weather Stations released the results of a survey indicating that hunger is now most severe among families of workers who recently lost their gainful employment.
Manny Pacquiao Heights Development Corp. (MPHDC) intends to install a 200-hectare special economic zone as part of a mixed-use project on a 400-hectare company-owned estate in General Santos City (Gensan).
"Manny is actually realizing a plan that has long been pending in Congress," Herrera said, adding bills seeking to establish a state-run ecozone in Gensan have been pending in the Senate and the House of Representatives for several years now.
"An ecozone in Gensan will definitely stimulate growth in a big way throughout Mindanao, and build up the Brunei-Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area," Herrera said.
The country’s tuna capital, Gensan is known for its vast marine resources. The city is situated close to the Moro Gulf and the Sulu Sea -- two rich fishing grounds.
Gensan's critical infrastructures and services have been reinforced over the years, largely to brace the huge potential of the city's export-oriented tuna fishing and canning industries. The city's world-class fish port provides boats modern support facilities, including cold storage, ice plants and contact freezers.
Gensan also has an international airport that can handle large aircraft, thus allowing fresh produce to quickly reach lucrative export markets as far as North America and Europe.
A big producer of cattle and hog, and with rich mineral deposits that remain largely untapped, the city is the primary industrial and trading hub of Socsargen (South Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Saranggani-Gensan).
All locators in ecozones, whether privately or publicly owned, enjoy preferential final tax and all other financial incentives under the Special Economic Zone Act. Foreign investors are also entitled to special resident status, among other privileges.