THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) said it is currently studying the setting up of public economic zones in Mindanao and Palawan as it aims to bring in big-ticket and high-value projects, particularly in the areas of car manufacturing and electric vehicles.
“Yes in Palawan actually. Under study pa, this is a mega ecozone,” Peza Director General Tereso O. Panga told reporters on the sidelines of Peza Investors’ Night recently held in Pasay City, when asked if the investment promotion agency is eyeing public ecozones.
The Peza chief said this is the current trend in the Asean region where, he said, “They are able to bring in big-ticket projects, the high-value projects because they have thousands of hectares to offer to investors.”
For Palawan, Panga said the investment promotion agency is talking with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) for the 26,000-hectare public economic zone which is expected to rise at a penal colony in Iwahig, Palawan.
Panga said Peza is now “in talks” and is preparing the memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the BuCor.
“We’re finalizing it. The MOA is for the usage of the property. Due diligence [first], within November the MOA will likely be signed.”
As to the industries being eyed for this ecozone, the Peza chief said, “‘Those like car manufacturing, electric vehicle [EV] those are ideal there.”
The EVs are fine, “because we want it to be self-sustaining. Self-sustaining so that all their power needs will all be developed within that area. That’s the idea, renewable energy, sustainable type.”
Meanwhile, Panga explained the concept of a public economic zone. “Kasi wala ng may lupa sa Pilipinas na privately-owned, but otherwise you go to the IPs, yung ganun kalaki, big enough to accommodate the big ticket.”
“The whole supply chain, it’s the ecosystem that we want to develop. If there’s anything we want to highlight, we want to see a cluster of industries in an area where the ecosystem can be developed to facilitate the whole supply chain of manufacturing, vertical integration.” He added that there isn’t much yet of this model.
He also illustrated the process of the study, saying, “We turn around, after getting the property, we turn around, we accredit a developer so they will do all the master planning and development; we just provide the land and we manage the ecozone for them.”
That business model was tried out with “John Hay, Phil Oil, we have plenty of modalities for that.” The land was turned over to Peza, which manages the development, and locators put in money when they opt “to locate in that area, they introduce a development at their expense.”
So far, Panga said Peza currently has four public economic zones in Mactan, Baguio, Cavite and Pampanga.