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More Mindanao ecozones mulled



To hasten growth and prosperity in Mindanao, a ranking government executive on Saturday said more economic zones are being eyed to be developed in the region.

Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) director general Charito Plaza said the move aims to attract more investors from the Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

She added they will partner with the Mindanao Development Authority to identify and develop more ecozones and invite investors from neighboring countries to relocate in the area.

“Last month, when I was in Malaysia, I talked with the officials of BIMP-EAGA and discussed with them the possibility of opening more ecozones in Mindanao,” she said.

Presently, there are 38 economic zones, vertical and horizontal, in Mindanao.

“It is among PEZA’s new programs to establish different types of economic zones in all provinces and cities to balance the economy and spread jobs and industries,” Plaza added.
She said 16 provinces in Mindanao are among the poorest in the country because of high unemployment incidence.

Plaza added they are now encouraging all provinces and cities to create more economic zones by utilizing all idle lands in the country, exploit technology and generate jobs.

She is also urging indigenous peoples to develop their ancestral domains into eco-zones.

Plaza said there are six million hectares of ancestral domains nationwide and five million hectares are in Mindanao.

She added PEZA is also conceptualizing “island cities” economic zones to attract foreign investors.