Promising year for airports, horse racing
The incoming year looks both very interesting and promising.
Initially, we have Catriona Gray, the newly crowned Miss Universe 2018, as our bringer of luck.
But the biggest news is our entry to World Bank’s list of upper middle income countries in Asia that includes Malaysia, Thailand and China. This means that the Gross National Income (GNI) of Filipinos is now within the $3,896-$12,055 range of this group. We are leaving behind Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos and Myanmar who are still in the “lower income countries.”
World oil prices are down (Dubai) from $83/barrel (bbl) in October to $55/bbl today. As a result, the price of gasoline dropped to P21.10/liter (l) in 2018; diesel, PP20.80/l; and kerosene, P21.37/l.
Inflation is expected to be lower than 5.3-5.7 percent for 2019 even as prime commodities, such as rice, are now in oversupply. In addition, affordable medicines for hypertension, diabetes and “high cholesterol” will now be sold with less 12-percent VAT.
Unemployment went down to 5.3 percent from 5.7 percent, while global remittance from overseas Filipino workers will top $31.5 billion this year despite loss of jobs in the Middle East.
The Japan-funded megasubway, from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to Taguig City, will begin construction this year. The Makati subway project will also break ground this year.
On the political front, we will hold two controversial elections, a January plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law plus an intense midterm polls in May. And as expected, campaign funds of “corrupt candidates” will flood their voters’ pockets, while political killings intensify.
This year, we will see world-class airports rise in Luzon. First is the successful bidding of the operations and maintenance contract of the New Clark Airport to North Luzon Airport Consortium (NLAC) that includes the Changi Airport group, operator of the leading airport in the world, Singapore Changi. Salute to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Bases Conversion and Development Authority Chair Vivencio Dizon. In fact, NLAC has offered 18.25-percent annual gross revenue percentage, which is almost twice the minimum rate of 10 percent set by Neda.
San Miguel’s Bulacan airport will also begin construction this year. Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia says this “certainly raises the bar on PPP (Public-Private Partnership) projects” as there will be no government liability at all.
Tomorrow, Jan. 2, is a historic event in the thoroughbred horse racing industry. For the first time, a prestigious group of horse owners from Marho, Philtobo and Don Juan will take over the operations and maintenance of the Metro Manila Turf Club racetrack in Malvar, Batangas.
Former Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos, president, and lawyer Narciso Morales, chair, are leading fellow horse owners in trying to save the industry from the impact of TRAIN law that doubled direct taxes on bets and winnings. In 2017, Philracom generated P1.2 billion in taxes but in 2018, sales were declining.
Rumors abound that San Lazaro racetrack may transfer to Quezon province or be sold, while Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, may be converted into a real estate venture in the next three years.
Happiest 2019, everyone!
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