137 sites eyed as new ecozones

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has identified 137 sites covering a total area of 70,475 hectares as potential new economic zones.

PEZA, since the entry of director general Charito Plaza, has made public its intent to transform idle and unproductive public lands into special economic zones that are seen to drive economic development in communities.

Based on a report from PEZA, majority or 74 sites are best suited as manufacturing zones.

About 30 sites spanning 10,668 hectares are eyed as agro-industrial ecozones, while another 19 covering 19,815 hectares are for tourism.

The remaining are seen ideal for the development of IT parks and centers and other forms of ecozones.

“We, in PEZA, firmly believe that economic zone development is the best way to spur countryside development. We have witnessed how former third-class municipalities have evolved into first-class municipalities and have even been upgraded into full pledged cities because of the development created by the presence of economic zones throughout the country,” Plaza said.

“In the past, the dominant trend has been migration to urban centers and cities due to limited job opportunities in the provinces. With our economic zones spread all over the country, we will now bring jobs to the people, and encourage them to stay within their provinces,” she said.

Plaza said PEZA has been inviting and encouraging local government units and landowners, including national agencies, which are managing public lands, to transform the properties into economic zones.

PEZA is coordinating with agencies like the Philippine Mining Development Corp., Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp., and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples for better utilization of their unproductive lands.

PEZA  administers 380 operating economic zones, 74 of which are manufacturing ecozones, 263 are IT parks and centers, 22 agro-industrial ecozones mostly in Mindanao, 19 tourism ecozones, and two medical tourism parks.



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