PRRD orders dev't, support of ecozones in countryside

MANILA - President Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed an order directing various government agencies to focus on the development and support of economic zones (ecozones) in the countryside.

In Administrative Order No. 18 signed by Duterte on Monday and released to the media on Saturday, Duterte directed government agencies to provide needed interventions to strengthen ecozones in the countryside.

"There is a need to promote rural development, ensure inclusive growth in the countryside, and create robust economic activity and wealth generation in areas outside Metro Manila," the order read.

Duterte ordered the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to hasten human capital and infrastructure development in the countryside and ensure the development of backward and forward linkages of industries in and around ecozones.

Moratorium on ecozones in Metro Manila

In the same order, the President ordered the PEZA to no longer accept, process, or evaluate applications for the establishment of ecozones in Metro Manila in line with the policy of promoting rural development.

"The herein moratorium shall not prevent locator companies from commencing their operations on existing ecozones in Metro Manila," the order added.

The order said applications already submitted by the PEZA to the Office of the President will not be covered by the moratorium.

"The exclusion of an application from the herein moratorium shall not be construed as a guarantee that the same will be granted," it said.

Special economic zones are defined in Republic Act No. 7916 or The Special Economic Zone Act of 1995 as "selected areas with highly developed or which have the potential to be developed into agro-industrial, Industrial tourist/recreational, commercial, banking, investment, and financial centers.”

An ecozone may contain any or all of the following: industrial estates, export processing zones, free trade zones, and tourist/recreational centers. (PNA)

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