Solar City to boost businesses in tourist belt

GENERATING jobs and business opportunities for Manileños will be the main thrust behind the construction of the Solar City commercial and business hub in Manila Bay, according to Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada.

Erap allayed fears raised by businessmen in Malate and Ermita that the Solar City will pave the way for the demise of their businesses noting that opportunities might even increase with the influx of new tourists in the tourist belt area.

“Solar City is intended to be built as a tourist- and entertainment-oriented operation, so we expect more tourists to come once the project has been completed. In turn this will benefit businesses in the nearby areas, such as Malate and Ermita,” Estrada pointed out.

“There will be more tourist arrivals once the cruise terminal has been put up, and it will bring more income to the surrounding communities and businesses, aside from billions in taxes the city government will get,” Estrada said.

The Solar City project consists of three 148-hectare reclaimed islands along the Manila Bay where business centers, residential and commercial properties, and tourism facilities, including an international cruise ship terminal, will be put up.

The project proponent, Manila Goldcoast Development Corp. (MGDC), has partnered with the city government of Manila to reclaim and develop the awarded reclamation project.

MGDC Vice Chairman Edmundo Lim echoed Estrada’s assurance, saying Solar City will never become a competitor to local businesses, particularly to the Ermita-Malate Business Owners Association, Inc. (EMBOA).

“Where do tourists go upon arriving in Manila? It’s usually in Ermita and Malate, and also in Intramuros, and in shopping districts. Businesses in these areas mainly depend on tourists, so our role is to bring in more tourists for them,” Lim pointed out.

"So can you imagine, if you have two million tourists arriving every year and they go to Intramuros paying only what? P100 entrance (fee) per person, it’s incredible, isn’t it? Malaking impact sa Manila,” he added.

 

Priority Jobs for Manileños

Aside from additional business revenues, the local tourism industry that will be rejuvenated by the operation of Solar City will also be requiring the employment of hundreds of thousands of Manileños, addressing the city’s unemployment problem, according to Lim. 

Solar City, Estrada earlier pointed out, is a rich revenue source for the city government as it is projected to generate up to P17 billion in taxes every year on top of the P10 billion in real property taxes. 

It is also expected to generate 100,000 jobs during the construction phase and up to 500,000 more once it becomes operational, which Estrada believes would help Manila's unemployment situation.

Among other reclamation projects lined up by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), Solar City has gained the support of President Duterte.

The city government is almost finished processing the applications for permits and clearances of MGDC, which won the joint contract with the city back in 1991.

Once PRA issues a Notice to Proceed, the reclamation will immediately commence and is expected to be finished in 18 months, followed by the construction of the cruise ship terminal and other vertical structures.

 

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