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Occ. Mindoro to boost economy via special economic zones

November 5, 2021 Jester P. Manalastas 366 views

THE province of Occidental Mindoro is ready to turn around its economy and improve business activities with the establishment of special economic zones.

Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Sato made this plan into a reality through two measures that were already approved in the House of Representatives and now waiting for Senate approval.

Approved on third and final reading are the House Bill 10109, which seeks to put up an ecozone in the municipalities of San Jose and Magsaysay, and House Bill 10255 that will establish an ecozone in the municipality of Palauan.

Both bills have been transmitted to the Senate and are now pending in the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Sen. Imee Marcos.

Sato, who has filed her certificate of candidacy as provincial governor, said the two measures seek to improve the quality of life of her constituents by attracting investments and creating local jobs that would position Occidental Mindoro as a key industrial hub along the West Philippine Sea corridor.

“The COVID-19 pandemic put on hold the economic development of Occidental Mindoro and has made life extremely hard for its people. We need to draw in investors and spur economic activities in the province to help the local economy recover,” Sato said.

HB 10109 seeks to put up a “green hub” at the San Jose – Magsaysay area and highlight the province’s reputation as one of the country’s top producers of rice and other agricultural commodities. It is expected to cater to agro-agri-based industries.

The lady solon said the centerpiece of the measure is the creation of a food terminal and a marine ecological park to address food security and marine eco protection concerns.

The food terminal shall provide for the storage, processing, and trading of agricultural commodities for MIMAROPA and Luzon. It seeks to promote agriculture value chain by linking farmers and farm workers, producers and traders, as well as consumers. A mariculture center for fisheries and seaweeds productions shall also be established.

The measure would likewise promote the pristine island beaches of southern Occidental Mindoro.

On the other hand, HB 10255 is a push for the creation of the Palauan “blue hub” for the manufacture of light to medium shipping vessels, which is a century-old tradition in Palauan, and for the construction of facilities for docking, repair and construction of all types of shipping vessels.

The proposed Paluan ecozone will be located near the international port of Batangas, as well as the local ports of Abra de Ilog and Calapan in Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro.

The blue hub takes advantage of the strategic location of the island province of Occidental Mindoro as a major international navigational route. It is at the center of a strategic sea lane linking Mindoro Strait to the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea. Studies show that around 80,000 shipping vessels per annum use this trade route for commercial navigation.

“We need to open up the local economy to off-island investors so we can create more jobs and help families recover from the financial difficulties brought about by the pandemic. Hawak kamay at tulong-tulong, makakabangon ang Occidental Mindoro mula sa pandemyang ito,” Sato added.