January 23, 2018, 11:51 pm
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PEZA to revive Picop, wood industry

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is planning to revive Picop Resources Inc. as part of an overall strategy to develop the wood-based industry in the country.

Charito Plaza, director-general of PEZA,  said the agency’s economic zone program would aim to restore the wood industry which is currently  in a rut.

The agency promotes the creation of agro-forestry processing zones which include the integration of manufacturing with tree planting.

This would pave the way for the reopening of Picop, once Southeast Asia’s largest integrated wood and paper milling . It used to operate a  milling plant and wood plantation in Bislig, Surigao del Sur but ran in financial problems in the late 1990s.

 “We can declare Picop as an agro-processing economic zone,” Plaza said.

She said the country has to import most of the wood used in construction and furniture.

Plaza cited the case of Japanese firm HTI House Technology which makes pre-fabricated houses for export in an ecozone in Cavite.

The company  has to import 10,000  cubic meters of wood per year because of the scarcity of supply.

The Philippines currently has a moratorium on logging in natural or residual forests under  Executive Order No. 23 issued in 2011 to protect the environment.

“We hope to restore back the wood industry because through the PEZA  incentives and the issuance of import and export permit and even in the purchases of local supplies, everything is already controlled and recorded and regulated,” Plaza said.

Plaza said under the planned agro-forestry processing zones, proponents would be encouraged to plant trees near these zones.

Manufacturers of wood-based products like furniture, plywood, doors,  flooring materials, paper, etc. would be located in these zones. 
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