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PIA Press Release

PGMA leads groundbreaking rites for Thunderbird Hotel and Gold Course project at Poro Point

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union (30 April) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lauded today the management of the United States-based Thunderbird Resorts Inc. for its P5- billion investment commitment to the Philippines and to put La Union province on the world map of major tourist and recreation destinations.

She issued the remarks during her brief conversation with the top officials of Thunderbird Resorts at the groundbreaking rites of the company’s luxury hotel and world- class nine-hole golf course inside the former US military Wallace Air Station at the Poro Point Special Economic and Freeport Zone here.

Immediately upon her arrival at the San Fernando City airport at around 10:40 a.m., the President inspected the existing facilities of the airport, which is now undergoing expansion and upgrading of its runway to enable it to accommodate larger aircraft such as Boeing 737 and Airbus 320.

From the airport, she motored to the Poro Point Special Economic and Freeport Zone for the historic groundbreaking of the Thunderbird Hotel and Golf Course that would create between 5,000 and 10,000 direct and indirect job opportunities upon its completion. The labor force will be sourced from San Fernando City and the province of La Union and nearby areas.

Accompanying the President in her visit to the 236.5-hectare former US military air station were Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila and Defense Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr.

The President was briefed by Poro Point Management Corporation (PPMC) president and chief executive officer (CEO) Felix Racadio and PPMC vice president and chief operating officer Anthony Manguiat on the ongoing development activities in the freeport zone.

She then led the lowering of the time capsule and viewing of the scale model of the Thunderbird Resorts and Golf Course project. The construction of the project is scheduled to start tomorrow and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2008.

The company plans to increase its investment in the economic zone up to P5 billion based on its lease agreement with the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) and the PPMC.

Meanwhile, underscoring the significance of a fully-developed Poro Point Special Economic and Freeport Zone, BCDA president and CEO Narciso Abaya said once the tourism infrastructure of Thunderbird Resorts is completed, Poro Point will attract local and foreign tourists that will augur well for the economy of La Union and the rest of Northern Luzon.

"The economic impact of tourism is immediate. It generates jobs not only inside Poro Point but in the entire region as well," Abaya said.

Thunderbird Resorts is a leading international provider of branded entertainment and recreational properties. The company started its operation in the Philippines in 1997, with Thunderbird Pilipinas Hotel and Resort, Inc. as its local subsidiary. (OPS) [top]

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