MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) plans to build more defense industrial complexes across the country, starting with the expansion of an existing 300-hectare estate in Bataan.
PEZA director general Charito Plaza, the country’s first woman brigadier general in the armed forces, said her agency, in partnership with the Department of National Defense and the local government of Hermosa, would embark on a 3,000-hectare expansion of the Bataan industrial complex.
Plaza said the property was donated by the mayor of Hermosa.
“It is co-located with the existing property of Department of National Defense. They have now a 300-hectare government arsenal which they registered with us in PEZA as a defense industrial complex. So this will be an expansion,” she said.
Plaza said a memorandum of agreement is set to be signed among all parties involved within the month.
“We are still in the stage of identifying. We will be looking for investors. First investor we will look is the developer of the economic zone. We are inviting Ayala Land, Filinvest Land, and all the real estate developers to divert their interest in land development into economic zones,” she said.
Aside from the proposed expansion in Bataan, Plaza said the mayor of Puerto Princesa in Palawan is also donating 1,500 hectares of land in the city, of which a portion is intended to be developed into another defense industrial complex.
Plaza during wants PEZA to develop a number of defense industrial zones across the Philippines to boost the country’s military might.
“Our recommendation to the President is in order to modernize the armed forces and the police, instead of asking rentals from these locators, we will ask them to pay us in terms of equipment so we can modernize. They will not pay us in rental in forms of money but supplies and equipment. Equipment such as military tanks, military transportation vehicles, depending on their product,” the PEZA head said.
Overall, Plaza said she wants to see two defense industrial estates built in Mindanao, one in Puerto Princesa, another in Zambales, and two or three more in Luzon within her term.
She said her agency is currently wooing European and Middle Eastern firms to invest in the proposed defense industrial zones.