The Regional Development Council (RDC) XI, during the Council’s 3rd Quarter Regular Virtual Meeting, supports the establishment of more special economic zones in Davao Region and  the conduct of an inventory of idle public lands suitable for ecozone development by PEZA, in cooperation with Local Government Units (LGUs), National Government Agencies (NGAs), and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).

This is in support to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority or PEZA’s call to accelerate rural progress through robust development of special economic zones in the countryside as embodied in Administrative Order No. 18, series of 2021.

As part of the PEZA’s advocacy, PEZA Director General (DG) Charito Plaza presented before the Council the status of ecozone development in the country and in Davao Region, benefits of investing in the Philippines, incentives under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, and the simplified process for the declaration and operationalization of ecozones.

The establishment of ecozones, according to DG Plaza, is key to robust economic development, citing the case of China which adopted ecozone development as its main strategy, emerging as an industrialized country within a couple of decades.

Ecozone development may be fast-tracked with the simplified 3-stage process: 1) PEZA Board Approval; 2) Presidential Proclamation and 3) PEZA Registration.

These, along with the incentives under the CREATE Act to include tax and duty-free importation of capital equipment, spare parts, supplies and raw materials; exemption from payment of local government taxes and fees; long-term land lease of up to 75 years; employment of foreign nationals; domestic sales allowance of up to 30%; and special 2-year visa for investors, are expected to generate substantial investments. Vice-Chairperson and NEDA XI Regional Director Maria Lourdes D. Lim, cited that ecozone development is one of the priority strategies identified under the Davao Regional Development Plan (RDP), 2017-2022, as well as, the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) Mid-term Update.

-Rowena M. Dango, Sr. EDS, NEDA XI