Pasay City – Consistent with proactively spreading ecozone development in the countryside pursuant to Administrative Order (AO) No. 18, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) OIC-Secretary Jim O. Sampulna on 31 May 2022, 09:00 AM at PEZA Head Office in DoubleDragon, Pasay City.
The MOU expressed their cooperation towards identifying viable public lands under the department’s jurisdiction that can be proposed for Presidential Proclamation as an ecozone, with the CARAGA region as the pilot area.
PEZA Chief Plaza mentioned, “As the country transition to the Presidency of President-elect Bongbong Marcos Jr., we in PEZA are positive about the economic outlook under the new President and we continue with our mandate on attracting investments and generating exports and jobs. More so, we are actively embarking on new frontiers of creating viable, smart, and environment-friendly ecozones in as many provinces as possible based on the land potentials by industries and responsible utilization of natural resources as mandated under AO No. 18.”
“This MOU signing will serve as an initial and broad framework of understanding between PEZA with the DENR towards the goal of identifying public lands nationwide that can be harnessed in a sustainable and environmentally-compliant manner, to spread ecozones because they are drivers of economic growth outside the National Capital Region (NCR),” she added.
With the upcoming signing, PEZA has invited Honorable Senator and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs Maria Imelda Josefa Remedios “Imee” R. Marcos to grace the ceremony as the Special Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker.
The Director General said, “We have invited Senator Imee Marcos in this joint project of PEZA and DENR in utilizing public lands nationwide into agroforestry, agro-industrial, eco-tourism, and mineral processing economic zones to restore back the major industries in an environment-friendly manner since PEZA is promoting an environment-friendly industrialization. These are anchored to PEZA’s vision to establish a self-reliant, self-sustaining, and resource-generating, production and export-driven economy to attain total development in the country.”
Senator Imee Marcos’ father and the late president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. pioneered the establishment of economic zones in the Philippines under Presidential Decree No. 66 in 1972 that created the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA), the predecessor of the current PEZA.
PEZA-DENR MOU Signing
Under the MOU, the DENR agrees to provide an inventory of public lands and islands under its jurisdiction to PEZA in order to explore feasible development of sustainable mineral and agro-forestry processing economic zones, oil depots, refinery ecozones, eco-tourism, agro-industrial special economic zones.
According to the PEZA Director General, “This comes with a great advantage as it will help minimize the impact of the dramatic increase in oil price and at the same time guard against supply chain disruption and completing the supply chain.”
The DENR will also provide technical assistance to PEZA in the formulation of proposals which shall include the adoption of a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) approach for the identified Special Economic Zones.
Further, PEZA and DENR may constitute a Technical Working Group (TWG) that will study, formulate, and recommend policies that shall be adopted and observed by both agencies in implementing the MOU.
PEZA Chief said, “May God bless us in our journey under the Marcos presidency as we continue to attract investments in the country and create economic zones that will be the location of global industries to do business in the Philippines.”
The economic zones concept of the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. under the then Export Processing Authority (EPZA) was inherited by PEZA in 1995. Director General Plaza was among the co-authors of the PEZA Law passed in the said year and has revolutionized the Authority by creating different types of ecozones to protect the environment, responsibly utilize the land and natural resources and locate the equivalent export and domestic market industries, complete the supply chain, and grow and develop MSMEs, as well as harness the skills and generate jobs for farmers and Filipinos.
“All of these can contribute to making the Philippines a self-reliant, self-sustaining and a resource generating, minimize import-dependence and enhance the production and manufacturing capability, and build a digitalized and export-driven economy,” PEZA Chief Plaza shared.
This MOU signing on May 31st also adheres to DENR’s mandate of conserving the environment, and properly managing or developing the country’s natural resources. #