2 Cebu firms to close if Estrada is exonerated
- by Freeman News Service () - November 25, 2000 - 12:00am
CEBU CITY — At least two big companies at the Mactan Economic Processing Zone (MEPZ), one British the other Japanese, have threatened to pack up and leave if President Estrada escapes with an acquittal in his impeachment trial.

If this happens, at least 2,000 workers will lose their jobs and the Philippine economy will suffer at least P3 billion in lost revenues annually from this capital flight.

An insider at the sprawling 150-hectare Mactan Export Processing Zone in Lapu-Lapu City said the owners of the two companies feel that the four years Estrada still has to serve of his six-year term if he survives the trial and stays in office is too long for "a mediocre government."

According to the source who asked not to be identified, these two investors fear an explosion of labor unrest and a political upheaval if Estrada hangs on to his post amid serious allegations of graft and corruption.

The British company employs more than 800 workers and earns an average of P1.2 billion a year. The Japanese firm, one of the top performers at the zone, maintains over 1,000 workers and generates P2 billion in annual revenues.

The source, privy to the plans of these two companies, said three countries have already been considered as possible relocation site for their operations. These are China, Vietnam and Thailand.

The owners of these companies would rather spend for the relocation than continue doing business in a country whose leadership they can no longer trust.

MEPZ Chamber of Exporters and Manufacturers president Butch Delfin, through his secretary, said he knows nothing about the threatened pullout and refused to comment.

The MEPZ administrator Dante Quindoza was unavailable for comment.

But Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Ernest Weigel Jr. said there are also Japanese investors willing to come in.

He said more than a hundred Japanese investors are expected in this city this week to look at its investment potential.

Estrada became the first Philippine president to be impeached and is expected to stand trial at the Senate by December.

BUT LAPU-LAPU CITY MAYOR ERNEST WEIGEL JR. BUTCH DELFIN CHAMBER OF EXPORTERS AND MANUFACTURERS DANTE QUINDOZA LAPU-LAPU CITY MACTAN ECONOMIC PROCESSING ZONE MACTAN EXPORT PROCESSING ZONE PRESIDENT ESTRADA VIETNAM AND THAILAND
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