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PEZA scouting public land for potential economic zone sites

THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) said it is evaluating the government’s land holdings with the help of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to seek out sites with the potential to be converted into economic zones (ecozones).

“We (are) signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the DENR for the utilization of timber land, agricultural land, mining land, and nature tourism sites which we are going to convert to agro-industrial, agro forestry, mineral processing, and eco-tourism special ecozones,” PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza said during the signing ceremony on Tuesday.

Under the MoU, the DENR will provide an inventory of public lands and islands under its jurisdiction to PEZA to narrow down those sites with potential as sustainable mineral and agro-forestry processing economic zones, oil depots, refinery ecozones, ecotourism sites, and agro-industrial special economic zones. 

PEZA is authorized to push ecozone development to the countryside by Administrative Order No. 18 issued by Malacañang in June 2019.

DENR Assistant Secretary Michelle Angelica D. Go said that the pilot areas for the site search will be in the Caraga region.

“We are already in the advanced stage of identifying the potential ecozone areas in Caraga — there are seven (areas). We are hoping to forge a MoA before June 30,” Ms. Go said.

According to Ms. Plaza, “Soon, we will see new and different types of ecozones nationwide as we partner with the DENR in attaining total development and the Philippines as an investment destination,” Ms. Plaza said.

“We will put a stop on our being import-dependent, and grow an economy that is self-reliant, self–sustaining, and resource-generating,” she added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave