MANILA, APRIL 25, 2007 (STAR) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday has accepted the resignation of National Treasurer Omar Cruz.

Cruz tendered his resignation as head of the Bureau of the Treasury yesterday, but Finance Secretary Margarito Teves declined to accept it outright.

Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye said, "The President thanks Treasurer Omar Cruz for his exemplary service and contribution and wishes him well in his future endeavors." br> Likewise, Bunye said Cruz had tendered his resignation for family reasons. His resignation takes effect on June 1.

"We'd like to thank Omar for providing sufficient time and making himself available for a smooth transition," Bunye said.

He added, "We are thankful for his over two-year service at the Bureau of Treasury, especially because we realize that public service entails a great personal sacrifice."

The presidential spokesperson detailed that tghe usual search process for a suitable replacement is now underway, with the President set to make the announcement on this.

Cruz took over the BTr in 2005, appointed by then Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. After Purisima left the Cabinet, Teves decided to retain Cruz as national treasurer.

During his tenure, Cruz presided over the transformation of the government securities market into a significantly deeper market, overseeing clean-up of the government’s debt portfolio to get rid of expensive obligations and sort out the yield curve of its outstanding securities.

Market speculation, however, indicated that Cruz' resignation was precipitated by the increasingly aggressive complaints from banks who have been suffering the brunt of the historic decline in benchmark interest rates to new all-time lows.

Megaworld allots P33B for McKinley Hill By Zinnia B. Dela Peña The Philippine Star 04/25/2007

Upscale property developer Megaworld Corp. is setting aside P33 billion over the next seven years for the development of the 50-hectare McKinley Hill in Fort Bonifacio into an integrated mixed-use community.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Megaworld said the bulk of the programmed capital budget or P18 billion will go to the development of the residential component of McKinley Hill. Another P12 billion will be channeled to the construction of office buildings to cater to business process outsourcing (BPO) firms, while the remaining P3 billion will go to the development of the retail and mall components.

As a company highly bullish on the prospects of the BPO sector, Megaworld is committed to finishing two BPO buildings every year at the McKinley Hill Cyperpark alone.

Megaworld has obtained the approval of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) for the declaration of a 14-hectare portion of the McKinley Hill mixed-use project as an information technology park.

PEZA director General Lilia De Lima signed the PEZA certification with Megaworld chairman and chief executive officer Andrew Tan.

Thus, locators at the Mckinley Hill Cyberpark will enjoy the following incentives: Income tax holiday of up to eight years (and thereafter payment of five percent tax on gross income in lieu of all national and local taxes and licenses), exemption from duties and taxes on capital equipment, permanent residence status for foreign investors, employment of foreign nationals and the remittance of earnings from investments – the last of which applies to majority or wholly-owned foreign-owned BPO firms – among others.

Megaworld just completed its first building in McKinley Hill, One World Square, which offers 30,000 square meters of prime office space.

The PEZA approval requires Megaworld to provide basic infrastructure and facilities in the McKinley Hill Cyberpark such as high-speed telecommunication facilities, uninterruptible power supply, computer security and building monitoring and maintenance systems and basic utilities.

Megaworld has expanded the master-plan for the McKinley Hill project to include the development of two parcels of the expanded SRDP South property in Fort Bonifacio which was bid out by the municipal goverment of Taguig.

Megaworld will develop the properties primarily into an educational and institutional center open to schools offering pre-school, primary and secondary education, and schools offering college or tertiary education.

It will also develop the property to include sports centers and other related facilities, open parks and place of worship.

The McKinley Hill project, a joint venture with the government, is expected to generate P16 billion in lot sales and P450 million in lease earnings every year.

Megaworld focuses on the middle to high-end residential and office markets. It also has 43 percent owned subsidiary Empire East that caters to the lower to middle-income market segment.

The company’s flagship development is Eastwood City in Libis, Quezon City, a 16-hectare cyberpark and mixed-use project which is host to nearly one in every four BPO firms in the country like the call center operations of IBM and Citibank N.A.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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