Sprawling Palawan prison eyed for Peza ecozone

By Alden M. Monzon@AldenMonzonINQ

November 27, 2023 12:00:00

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) said it is planning to establish a publicly owned economic zone in the province of Palawan, with the investment promotion agency set to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of the project.

Peza Director General Tereso Panga said that this planned economic zone which will be owned by the government is being eyed to rise at the Iwahig penal colony, which will give the proposed economic hub 26,000 hectares of land area ideal for manufacturing activities.

“Car and electric vehicle manufacturing, those will be ideal there,” Panga told reporters on the sidelines of the Peza investors’ night last week in Pasay City.

“We’ll have a (memorandum of understanding) with the (Bureau of Corrections). So, we are finalizing it,” he added, but declined to provide a timeline citing that there are sensitive issues that he couldn’t discuss at the time.

The Peza official said they also want to turn the penal colony into a self-sustaining community, complete with its own power and water sources.

The Peza currently has four public economic zones to date, particularly in the provinces of Cebu, Baguio, Cavite and Pampanga, cited Panga.

To date, the Peza has 422 operating economic zones across the Philippines today, majority of which)—or 297 to be exact)—are located in Luzon.

Another 84 are in the Visayas region, while the remaining 41 are in Mindanao.

The Peza is also pushing for the creation of new types of economic zones such as aerotropolises, agro-forestry economic zones, aquamarine parks, biotech centers, defense industrial complexes, e-commerce zones, halal and food production hubs, and jewelry parks.

Knowledge, innovation, science and technology (KIST) parks, mineral processing zones, pharmaceutical zones, and renewable energy parks are also included in the Peza’s list.

From January to November, Peza approved P140.884 billion worth of investments, marking a more than twofold increase in its portfolio compared to the same period last year.

The investment promotion agency is looking to approve another P50 billion worth of projects during the remainder of the year, which will push it past its annual target of P154.77 billion in 2023. INQ