Bangsamoro Ecozone Body to Conduct 1st Multi-Stakeholders Forum for PFEZ Development


By EDD K. USMAN | Twitter: @edd1819 | Instagram: @bluestar0910 | Facebook: SDN – SciTech and Digital News 

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COTABATO CITY (SDN) — Special economic zones (SEZs) have a vital role in a country’s economic development as they serve as catalysts for investments from abroad.

No wonder that the Philippines at present is home to over 400 economic zones. In June 2020 the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) approved 12 new ecozones made up of nine IT centers, two manufacturing zones, and one IT park.

PEZA Deputy Director General Aleem Siddiqui M. Guiapal, told SDN — SciTech and Digital News on Saturday, November 3, 2022, that He pointed out that ecozones, among other roles, that “investing in economic zones plays a major role in reviving (the country’s) economy.”

He cited PEZA’s 2021 contributions to the economy, such as 16 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Philippines, 79.99 percent in export of commodities and goods, and 58.88 percent of service exports.

Guiapal added that ecozones in the country has generated jobs for 1,798,152 workers.

They are attractive figures that, understandably, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is hoping it would be able to replicate the economic benefits from ecozones.

PEZA & BARMM. In the photograph are, from right, PEZA Deputy Director General Aleem Siddiqui M. Guiapal, MTIT Minister Abu Amri Taddik, and MTIT Deputy Minister Atty. Sukarno A. Abas, OIC-executive director of BEZA. (Credit: PEZA)

Presently, the BARMM only has a single ecozone, the Polloc Freeport and Economic Zone (PFEZ) located at Barangay Polloc, Parang, Maguindanao del Norte. Through the Bangsamoro Economic Zone Authority (BEZA), the Bangsamoro government headed by Chief Minister Ahod Balawag “Al-Hajj Murad” Ebrahim is working to establish and register more ecozones in the region. With the help of PEZA.

The Bangsamoro region is composed of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi, as well as 63 barangays or villages in North Cotabato but under the Bangsamoro government’s jurisdiction and are collectively known as the Special Geographic Area (SGA).

Residents of the 63 villages voted to be under the Bangsamoro government in a plebiscite in January and February 2019, as part of efforts to widen the region’s territorial jurisdiction.

Battery of speakers for the one-day event

In relation with the vital role ecozones play, BEZA, headed by Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Executive Director Atty. Sukarno A. Abas, which is under the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Tourism (MTIT), will stage its 1st Multi-Stakeholders Forum on the Development of Polloc Freeport and Economic Zone” at Al Nor Convention Hall here in the city on December 6.

Guiapal will present at the event the “Advantages in Investing in an Ecozone”. He is also the promotions and public relations group manager of PEZA.

MTIT Minister Abu Amri Taddik will deliver the Opening Remarks; BARMM Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua for the Keynote Message; Overview of the Activity by BEZA-OIC Executive Director Atty. Sukarno A. Abas.

Meanwhile, Bangsamoro Board of Investments’ (BBOI) Mohammad Pasigan, chair, Board of Governors, will present “Investments Opportunities in BARMM”, followed by Guiapal’s presentation.

There will also be testimonials from a developer of ecozones, Simeon P. Binsuan, OIC-Port administrator, PFEZ, on the “Status of Polloc Freeport and Economic Zone”.

From Aboitiz InfraCapital, Clifford M. Academia, vice president of Operations, LIMA Estate, will also deliver a paper at the event, Testimonial and Best Practices of Ecozone Developer LIMA Land and Aboitiz InfraCapital”.

Mark Mathew F. Parco, president, Philippine Liner Shipping Association (PLSA), will discuss “Orientation on Tariff Rates, Freight Fees & Other Charges”.

Testimonials from port users will also be given time for Lamsan, Inc., Isulan ECT Construction & General Merchandize, Inc., and Maharlika Agro-Marine Ventures, Inc.

Enrico L. Basilio, chief of party, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-RESPOND will dwell on “Enhancing Maritime Connectivity to Promote Trade and Investment”

After all the talks and presentations, there will be Focus Group Discussion (FGD), then a Synopsis of the FGD, Presentation of the FGD Output, and Closing Remarks. (✓)

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