January 12, 2017—Manila Solar City, the proposed joint project between the City of Manila and the Manila Goldcoast Development Project will help boost and not kill businesses, assured the city’s mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada in a press statement issued by his office.
Mayor Estrada noted that the soon-to-built Solar City commercial and business district in Manila Bay will not affect business establishments in the area, particularly in Malate and Ermita.
Estrada explained that the 148-hectare Solar City commercial, business, and residential center will even boost the restaurant and entertainment industry at the city’s tourist belt by bringing in more tourists.
The mayor noted: “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.”
Solar City covers three reclaimed islands where business centers, residential and commercial properties, and tourism facilities, including an international cruise ship terminal, will be put up. Project proponent Manila Goldcoast Development Corp. (MGDC), has partnered with the city government of Manila to reclaim and develop the awarded reclamation project.
Estrada added, “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.”
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.
Lim also noted that besides the added business revenues and boost in tourism, the project will also be employing thousands of local residents, which he said could address the city’s unemployment problem.
Solar City, Estrada added, 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.