PEZA admonishes Pacquiao on project

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The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has given boxing icon Manny Pacquiao the flexibility to revise his proposed P1.2-billion medical tourism facility into a combined IT, medical and manufacturing zone and to complete its requirements otherwise the board would be forced to cancel its registration.


PEZA Director General Lilia B. De Lima told reporters at the sideline of the ceremonial roll-off of the all-new Vios that the PEZA Board has already approved the project of Rep. Manny Pacquiao Heights Development Corp. (MPHDC).

“We already approved the project but they did not come back to us to submit the other requirement that they require like permits from the local government, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture and the unified survey returns,” De Lima said.

Once these requirements are completed, De Lima said they can endorse the project to Malacanang paving the way for President Aquino to proclaim the 500-hectare development as a new special economic zone. The development is located in the boxing icon’s home province in South Cotabato covering the towns of Balsinang and Olympog and the city of General Santos.

Under the PEZA rules, the agency which administers tax incentives to special economic zones, has to cancel approved registration but have pending requirements after five years. De Lima, however, said they have been flexible in implementing such ruling, although a project cancellation does not preclude the applicant from filing another application in the future.

According to De Lim, PEZA has recommended to the camp of the “People’s Champ” to revise its proposal to include IT, manufacturing and partly medical tourism because the property is huge.

She explained that medical tourism is such a huge undertaking and has stringent requirements on the part of the developer from the Department of Health and Department of Tourism.

In its application with the PEZA, Pacquiao’s company, Manny Pacquaio Heights Development Corp. (MPHDC) was planning to develop 200 hectares of different types: 30 hectares for medical tourism park; 70 hectares for tourism ecozone; 40 hectares for retirement ecozone and 65 hectares for information technology park.  (BCM)

 The 30-hectare medical tourism zone to be called the Philippine International Cancer Center is the zone’s anchor infrastructure development.

 It stated that MPHDC would be spending P1.19 billion for the land development on top of the P24. 26 million it has spent for the acquisition of the property. Project financing is 60 percent internally generated funds and 40 percent bank loans.

 The project has a timetable to start operation in the first quarter of 2010, subject to the final approval of the master plan of the community. (BCM)

 MPHDC also said that it was negotiating with two foreign companies for the development of the medical tourism facilities including Bio City Development Co., a healthcare infrastructure development company based in New York.

It has developed international cancer centers in Dubai, Europe, Vietnam, Hong Kong and New York.

The center will be equipped with support amenities and infrastructure such as medical university, high-end accommodation facilities for patients and visitors; international medical convention center, outdoor sports and recreational park and retail and commercial areas.

About 70 percent of the area will be dedicated to facilities while the rest will be buffer zones, open spaces or common utility areas.

MPHDC is in process of securing its registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission but the report said its initial authorized capital is P5 million.

Pacquiao’s wife, Jinkee is one of the directors. Other directors are Rogelio D. Pacquiao, Edilberto L. Jamora, Helen DC Nocom and Yan V. Amante.

De Lima welcomed Pacquiao’s investment as making a major impact in South Cotabato, especially on job generation.

Pacquiao, dubbed as the best pound-for-pound fighter, was said to have earned $12 million when he defeated Ricky Hatton early this month.