Former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,in a press briefing on Friday, cited the need to prioritize infrastructure development and the ease of doing business (EODB) as these are crucial factors to investors, as seen in the industrial town in San Simon, Pampanga.

Speaker Arroyo mentioned that during the Bataan Freeport Zone forum on Thursday, locators were pleased to learn from House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Dakila Carlo Cua (Lone District, Quirino) and Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua that they are not losing their export-related incentives. She recognized that these locators are footloose, thus need to keep these incentives.

Meanwhile, she said investors in the San Simon Industrial Park (SSIP) did not invest for the fiscal incentives, but instead for the good infrastructure and the assured EODB.

“That’s why I invited the House media here. Did you see how beautiful the industrial town of San Simon is? I asked the investors, why did you come here?. None of them is getting fiscal incentives. They came here because of the infrastructure,” she said.

Speaker Arroyo disclosed the priority bills and resolutions to be discussed in the House included the rationalization of the tax incentives.

“The tax reform, the rationalization of fiscal incentives, kasi I want to show here that it’s not the most important thing. Infrastructure and ease of doing business are the important things, but anyway, the period of interpellation will begin when we resume,” she said

San Simon Mayor Leonora Wong acknowledged the support given by Speaker Arroyo for the construction of the Quezon Road.

“San Simon, actually, is not really a known town, even in Pampanga. And as Madam Speaker GMA said, one factor is the infrastructure. Quezon Road is a national road which was built by her,” sai Wong.

Joseph Rejuso, one of the main SSIP investors, also expressed his gratitude to the Speaker for the Quezon Road construction, which has greatly helped in the progress of the industrial town.

“Nasabi na po ni Madam GMA na lahat ng benefits na nakukuha namin without incentives or anything, but maganda ‘yong support na binibigay ng LGU. Maganda yung infrastructure namin, ‘yung Quezon Road. Through the efforts of Madam GMA nagawa yung Quezon Road. So hindi rin kami nahirapan i-market sa investors namin, dahil sa kagandahan ng facilities dito at sa support ng LGUs,” said Rejuso.

“Nagbebenefit kami, pati ‘yong mga investors sa ginagawa ng mga LGUs, ng province, at syempre yung ginagawa ni Madam GMA rito. Tinutulungan kami ni Madam Speaker. Kaya, in behalf of our company, we would like to say thank you to Madam GMA, to Mayor Wong… Kaya kami naging successful dahil sa kanila,” he said.

Wong, seeing the potential of San Simon, took the opportunity to also request to Speaker Arroyo the widening of Quezon Road in the future.

“Legacy niya ang Quezon Road. Now, we are requesting the widening of Quezon Road, the more na mag-boom ang San Simon, Madam. ‘Yun po ang request namin,” she said./ Monel Gonzales

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