Ilocos Sur special economic zone to boost production of local products – Savellano

Published October 1, 2021, 1:13 PM

by Manila Bulletin

House Deputy Speaker and Ilocos Sur 1st district Representative Deogracias Victor “DV” B. Savellano said the Special Economic Zone and Freeport in Ilocos Sur will help the province maximize its production of local products, given the opportunities for investors once the economic zone is established.

Savellano issued the statement after the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading House Bill No. 10217, authorizing the establishment of a Special Economic Zone and Freeport in the province of Ilocos Sur, and creating the Ilocos Sur Special Economic Zone and Freeport Authority.

“As we stated when we filed this bill, the concept and objective is to develop the freeport area into a self-sustaining industrial, commercial, and investment center that will put in a place wide-reaching employment and investment generation mechanism, all to strengthen the trading and foreign exchange position of the country,” Savellano, the principal author of the bill said.

“The Ilocos Sur Special Economic Zone and Freeport will improve the exportation of products of Ilocos Sur, which will contribute to the growth of the province, and eventually to the growth of the country since we will not be reliant on importation of products. There will be a growth of income, and of course, more income for the government,” he added.

The Ilocos Sur Special Economic Zone Act seeks to compete with the globally competitive markets, with the likes of South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore, having limited resources but still one of the top performing markets around the world.

Savellano said even if it will not necessarily make the Philippines ahead of the said countries in terms of market performance, the bill will help the country pave the way to becoming on-par with them.

The Ilocano lawmaker explained that the strategic location of the Salomague port is essential for the establishment of the special economic zone.

“There are physical, geographical, and natural attributes that the Salomague area can make for the creation of a freeport ideal therein. It is probably the only port closest to Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan. It is large enough that it can sit dozens of vessels at any one time,” he said.

“It is high time that the Salomague port shall be maximized for market opportunities as well. Especially now that we are in a pandemic, this bill will push for the production of local products, and the attraction of investors, which will contribute hand-in-hand in the growth of the income of the country,” Savellano added.

The deputy speaker has consistently advocated for the exportation of fisheries, especially with the production Ilocos Sur has. However, he said he is “very dismayed” by the province’s reliance on importation of fish despite the production that they have.

The coastline and geographic location of Ilocos Sur makes the province a top fisheries producer.