The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) are pursuing talks for the conversion of military reserve lands into ecozones.
At PEZA’s 26th anniversary celebration in Pasay City on Feb. 24, 2021, AFP Chief of Staff Lt Gen Cirilito Sobejana expressed support to plans of establishing defense industrial ecozones in military reserve areas .
“We are exploring the idea of establishing defense industrial complexes in selected military reservation (areas) across the country. We really need to produce locally our defense requirements and reduce our dependency to foreign suppliers. We need the technology that other countries have for us to establish (defense industries) here in our country,” said Sobejana.
In 2020, PEZA director general Charito Plaza and Sobejana, then commanding general of the Philippine Army (PA) started discussing the establishment of this new type of ecozone as the PA is managing almost 20,000 hectares of military reservation areas.
“We hope to invite investors and defense industries who will manufacture military aircraft, seacraft, weapons, equipment, software, hardware, uniforms, and all those that the military and police will be needing,” Plaza said in her speech.
Meanwhile, at the Global Biz forum also on February 24, Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) vice president and head of the Program Development Management Noli Cruz said the bank’s core support to PEZA locator companies will be on infrastructure development.
“This includes power, water, transport, logistics, housing, solid and hazardous wastes, and sanitations. DBP can also support the entire value chain of locator companies especially the small and medium enterprises and other areas needing development interventions.” Cruz said.
Philippine National Bank ( PNB) senior vice president Jean Marie Baruelo said the bank intends to provide locators comprehensive financial solutions starting from their investment requirements as they set up operations in the Philippines.
Baruelo also encouraged foreign investors in the event the PNB can assist them in queries on setting up establishment operations in the country and finding partners for joint ventures for local expansion.