PEZA assures ecozones’ safety for locators and employees

Published January 16, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza yesterday said that its economic zones are located away from disaster-prone areas and are compliant with the geo-hazard laws.

“We assure our industry-locators and investors are strict in the enforcement of the geo-hazard laws and the environmental clearance certificate compliance by the ecozone developers, factories, utilities and facilities construction applicants,” said Plaza.

Plaza issued this statement amid threats of another eruption of Taal Volcano, which may affect more regions in the Philippines including NCR and Region 4A.

Plaza cited the Lima Technology Center and the First Philippine Industrial Park, both located in Batangas, the province where Taal Volcano is part of, reported no damage, or major disruption to operations and structures aside from the ashfall.

“Locators now have to craft their business continuity plans that should outline how they plan to do business in the face of the volcano’s ongoing activity,” she said.

“Moreover, PEZA management and concerned zone managers in Luzon are coordinating accordingly with locator companies about the condition of affected workers who reside in affected areas of the Taal volcanic activities,” said Plaza.

Plaza assured investors that business sentiment in the Southern Tagalog region will remain positive on developers’ compliance to government requirements for calamity safety, including the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-issued environmental compliance certificate (ECC).

“One of the requisites for proclamation of an economic zone is the ECC that is issued by the Environmental Management Bureau of DENR. Before DENR issues such ECC, the EMB requires environmental impact statement for the land development,” Plaza said.

Likewise, PEZA is also doing its own plans to ensure the safety of all of its ecozones. One of which is the ecozone, urban, and metropolitan development and master planning of all its ecozones starting with the public zones in Mactan, Cavite, Baguio, and Angeles, Pampanga.

According to March 2019 data, PEZA has a registered total of 60 economic zones, of which, 59 are privately developed and one, the Cavite Economic Zone, is government owned and developed.

Meanwhile, the private ecozones in Region IV comprise a total of 3,921.1175 hectares composed of different types of ecozones namely: Agro-industrial, IT Center, IT Park, Manufacturing Special Economic Zone, Medical Tourism, and Tourism Ecozone.

PEZA has inked an agreement with the UP School of Urban and Regional Planning (UP-SURP) to re-masterplan and redesign its four public ecozones. She stated that the public zones will serve “as the models of PEZA’s new concept in recreating the once purely factories/industry parks into building eco-towns and eco-cities, with industrial, commercial, and residential areas.”