North Cebu Economic Zone inches closer to realization

North Cebu Economic Zone inches closer to realization

THE Comprehensive Land Use Plan (Clup) of the economic zone that will be established in Medellin town in northern Cebu has already been endorsed by the Provincial Land Use Committee to the Provincial Board for approval.

Giles Anthony Villamor, municipal planning and development officer, said they received several recommendations from several government agencies like the Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Tourism and the Department of Agriculture, whose representatives were present during the meeting with members of the committee on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023.

He said the committee also requested several revisions.

However, he did not specify what these are, saying they are “manageable from our level.”

“They are hoping that we will submit the revised Clup to the Capitol by December of this year,” he told SunStar Cebu on Friday, Aug. 11.

Economic zone

Last July, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority announced that it approved investments worth P27.178 billion for the North Cebu Economic Zone in Medellin.

Villamor said that through the 583-hectare project, the town envisions to become the premiere center for eco-adventure tourism, education, retirement and agro-industry in northern Cebu.

He said that for many decades, Medellin was dependent on the sugar industry, which had become the town’s main source of income and also the locals’ primary source of livelihood.

However, due to recent events, particularly the industry’s slowdown and the temporary shutdown of the Bogo-Medellin Milling Company Inc., Cebu’s oldest and only sugar mill, he said they were forced to change and shift “from a purely agricultural town to a diversified economy but we will not remove the image of town being an agricultural town.”

Sugar industry

Villamor explained that the creation of the North Cebu Economic Zone is also to prepare the town in case the sugar industry will die.

He said they do not wish to separate or completely move on being an agricultural town, instead they want to introduce advancement and developments to the sector.

Currently, sugarcane planters in Medellin send their harvest to Negros Occidental for processing.

According to Villamor, the economic zone has been reclassified as a mixed-use development.

Mixed use is a style of urban development, urban design, urban planning and zoning that combines different uses, such as residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, or entertainment, into one area, where those functions are partially physically and functionally integrated, and that offers pedestrian connections.

He said the economic zone will straddle the barangays of Caputatan Sur and Canhabagat.

He said one of the proposals is to build a 35-hectare airport at the heart of the economic zone.

He said the airport will be a great boost for the tourism industry in northern Cebu.

Game changer

“This is the most ambitious but we believe the most doable project that we see as the game changer to the economy of Medellin,” Villamor said.

He said that since the project is expected to generate jobs and create career opportunities, it will develop the countryside and decongest urban areas.

He said they hope to complete the project by 2030.

“We are hoping. Our goal within 2030 there will already be a lot of development spurred in Medellin guided to the plan,” he said.

Villamor said the House bill establishing a special economic zone in Medellin was already passed in 2021. It was endorsed by the House Committees on Economic Affairs, Trade and Industry, Appropriations, and Ways and Means to the plenary of the Senate during the last administration.

However, he said it was newly refiled because of the change in administration.

Villamor hopes President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will sign the bill into a law so that the project can attract more investors.

“We are hoping that the bill will become a law so we will really have a legal basis for the economic zone and it will create a spark for investors to finally visit Medellin,” he said.


Meanwhile, Villamor explained that the Clup “is an instrument for the local government unit (LGU) to allocate available land resources to different sectors of its territory for different functions” and he considered it as “the bible of development.”

The Local Government Code of 1991 mandates LGUs to prepare a Clup that shall be the primary basis and framework for the future use of land resources in the locality.

It is also often referred to as a general plan or master plan, which is a document intended to direct a community’s future actions. With long-term goals and objectives for all activities that have an impact on local government, it gives a vision for the future.

This includes guidance on how to decide on proposals for both public and private land development, the use of public funds, the availability of tax policy, collaborative efforts, and pressing concerns like the preservation of farmland or the renovation of older neighborhood areas.

It materializes the vision of the local government for the territory on its land resources. By implementing the land use plan, primarily through passing the zoning ordinance, the local government acts towards achieving its vision for its land resources. 


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