THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) and the Lapu-Lapu City government will jointly write a letter to Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc., and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) requesting them to extend Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ) 2 locators’ stay for another five to 10 years at the same lease rates they are currently enjoying.
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan, in a Facebook post, said the contract of MEZ 2 will expire in 2023.
“They (locators) prefer to stay, but if they are not granted extension at the same rate considering the pandemic, they’ll definitely transfer. Peza is also looking for land to transfer our MEZ 2 locators. The local government unit and Peza will write Aboitiz and MCIAA for extension at the same rate for five to 10 years,” Peza Director General Charito Plaza told SunStar Cebu.
Plaza said if locators transfer to another country, some 60,000 workers will lose their jobs and this would mean a major reduction in Lapu-Lapu City’s tax revenues.
MEZ 2 is operated by Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc., for over 25 years in partnership with the MCIAA.
MEZ 2 is a 63-hectare Peza-registered economic zone located in Lapu-Lapu City that hosts 49 locators and their 12,000 employees, 70 retail stores, services and restaurants, 18 office spaces and a transportation hub.
In a press release, the Aboitiz Group said they “remain committed in helping our partner locators get back on their feet.”
“We are hopeful that our locators will continue to show the same level of trust and commitment that the Aboitiz, MCIAA, the government and the Cebuano people have shown them for the past 25 years, by choosing to extend their agreements with us for an even longer period of time,” Rafael Fernandez de Mesa, first vice president for the Aboitiz Integrated Economic Centers, said in a statement.
MEZ 2 hosts 49 industrial locators in light to medium industries that include precision instruments, medical equipment, communication and electronics, automotive supplies, apparel and furniture.
At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, MEZ 2 extended concessions to its locators by offering a 50 percent discount on rent covering a five-month period last year, the only industrial development to do so in the Philippines. This provided timely relief to locators at that time, as they reeled from a drop in sales and unexpected expenses related to Covid-19 restrictions.
The Aboitiz Group said MEZ 2 also offered its locators a preferential rate scheme beyond their current lease term, an offer that has been well received by locators, as a majority have chosen to avail of an initial extension. (JOB)