PEZA, AFP partners for creating Defense Industrial Ecozones, transforming investors and workers as Reservists and disaster and emergency responders
02 March 2021 (Tuesday)
Pasay City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has assured the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), headed by Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, its full support to its plans and programs particularly for establishing a Defense Industrial Ecozone in military reserves during PEZA’s 26th year anniversary celebration on 24 February 2021 at the PEZA Auditorium.
AFP Chief of Staff Lt Gen Cirilito Sobejana has congratulated PEZA for “persistently promoting sound and balanced industrial, economic, and social development that continuously empower our people to become productive partners and integral catalysts for progress and nation building.”
“I urge PEZA to continue being true with the agency’s primary objective of providing a globally competitive environment for investments. On our part, we will continue to commit ourselves and provide our full support to PEZA and all its endeavors,” noted Lt Gen Sobejana.
He added, “The partnership between PEZA and the AFP has just started. We have to journey together towards building a stronger relationship in as far as growth and progress of our nation is concerned. We hope that this partnership will continue to prosper.”
Defense Industrial Complex
Meanwhile, PEZA and the AFP have already continued talks regarding the utilization of military reserve lands to become economic zones.
Under the leadership of Plaza, PEZA has established different types of economic zones based on the land potential of the region. This includes the proposed creation of Defense Industrial Complexes in the Philippines.
The PEZA Chief explained, “It is in [Lt Gen Sobejana’s] stewardship of the Philippine Army (PA) when we started to discuss the newest [type of] economic zone, which is the Defense Industrial Complex. The PA is managing almost 20,000 hectares of military reservation areas and we are now planning to make this the first Defense Industrial Complex in the country.”
“We hope to invite investors and defense industries who will manufacture military aircraft, seacraft, weapons, equipment, software, hardware, uniforms, and all those that the military and police will be needing,” she noted.
For his part, the AFP Chief explained that “At present, we are currently exploring the idea of establishing a Defense Industrial Complexes in selected military reservation [areas] across the country. We really need to produce locally our defense requirements and reduce our dependency to foreign suppliers. Of course, we need the technology that other countries have for us to establish [defense industries] here in our country for various.”
‘Not Militarizing PEZA’
Director General Plaza noted that the partnership of the AFP and the Authority is much needed especially in ensuring the safety and welfare of the Filipino people especially those in our economic zones.
“We are not militarizing PEZA. We are just making our employees and the industry workers in the ecozone as military reservists. And we are trained by the military, soon the police will join in the trainings, so that we will make our ecozone workers and PEZA employees as disaster and calamity responders. They can assure our investors that investing in our economic zones will be very safe and secured,” explained the PEZA Chief.
She added that, “PEZA cannot do it alone. We need the help of our forces to better equip us against manmade and natural disasters.”
Supporting the call, Lt Gen Sobejana noted, “We are just wanted to give assurance to the investors that your huge amount of investment is secured, wherever it is across the Philippine archipelago.”
In fact, Sobejana explained, “The program between the AFP and PEZA enabled us to effectively perform other roles and functions such as disaster response and other various community services as an affiliated reserve unit.”
“PEZA made a huge contribution through relief operations during the eruptions of Taal Volcano, the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysees and other typhoons, and in our fight against the spread of COVID-19,” noted the AFP Chief.
The AFP has likewise assured PEZA that they share the same goal of ensuring a much inclusive peace and progress for the whole country, attaining the full industrialization of the Philippines.
“We could all agree that partnerships and collaborations are extremely necessary in addressing the myriad of challenges that our nation is currently facing… We can effectively fight all [the present] threats and challenges if we effectively converge all our efforts. We really wanted to achieve that objective that the Philippines should be the best place for investment. Galing Pinas, Galing Pilipinas,” said Sobejana.
The AFP Chief explained, “I do believe that it would be an operation than of war that would offer a more sustainable solution to our problem and that is more on economic development. We have a lot of potentials; we have a very rich nation with a lot of human and natural resources… With so many resources around us, I define progress as a patriotic response to opportunities geared to reinvigorate an economic sustainable society.”
Sobejana and Plaza have unitedly called for other agencies as well to be part of the cause especially this time of pandemic.
“Let us be a light and a symbol of hope for the country and for our fellow Filipinos especially in the coming years. Let us altogether promote Galing Pinas, Galing Pinas! – made in the Philippines is best, the Philippines is best to invest in,” noted the PEZA Chief.