PHILIPPINE Economic Zone Authority (Peza) Director General Charito Plaza strongly recommends the refiling of the long- standing bill that would transform Cebu Province into an economic zone.

“Cebu can be composed of several economic zones,” said Plaza, in a media briefing.

She encouraged local government units undertaking the comprehensive land use plan (CLUP) to use the economic zone concept in zoning the communities.

“An economic zone is composed of industrial areas and components of an economic zone are housing, commercial, schools, hospitals, banks, among others. In other words, the concept of an economic zone is building a township—from a town you make it as an industrial city,” said Plaza.

Six years ago, House Bill 1319 was filed before Congress to create Cebu Economic Development Zone (CEDZ) by all the eight representatives from Cebu and is supported by local business groups.

The bill has since been pending after it passed the House’s economic affairs committee.

CEDZ is envisioned as a functioning public-private sector partnership, with the private sector taking the lead and government providing infrastructure and institutional support and contributing part of the needed resources.

“I will discuss with DG Plaza on the possibilities (of revisiting the bill),” said Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Melanie Ng.

The CEDZ proposal was conceptualized by the CCCI.

Plaza was in Cebu for the two-day Visayas Ecozone Summit.

Peza aims to push the Philippines as a major distribution hub for all industries through the ecozones. They aim to create a Philippine ecozone map after the Luzon leg next month and spur ecozone development in the countryside.

“The map will make clear the locations of all ecozones in the country and will make it easier for our foreign and local investors to choose which ecozone they will locate their industries, given the data and profile of each ecozone,” said Plaza.

She encouraged LGUs in the Visayas to identify potential ecozone sites to attract more foreign investors, transform idle lands and islands into productive sites and create more employment.

Plaza said a municipality can build at least two economic zones, with 25 hectares for each.

“We are highly energized by the aggressive and strategic plan of Peza to increase the economic viability of our country by coming up with a comprehensive Philippine ecozone map. This will help investors identify opportunities and spread development in the countryside,” said Ng.