Baguio eyes two Ecozone extension sites

TWO sites along Sto. Tomas, Bakakeng, Camp 7, and Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) were presented as probable areas for economic zone expansion and development during the conclusion of the Luzon Ecozone summit last Friday.

Studies as to the sites’ geographic boundaries, topography, existing land use, ownership, zoning classification and type of ecozone proposed were done by the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) earlier.

Facilities nearby such as power source, water, communication and support industries such as ports and airports were also considered, including accessibility to and from national highways; in Baguio’s case, the inner and outer circumferential roads to nearby provinces.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan who welcomed the delegates said the ecozone proposals have to be taken seriously, as it entails development in the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) area, the Cordillera region and the country’s potentials for the global environment.

Planning officer Elias Aoanan said the composite area of more than 200 hectares was subject to assessment and evaluation last year by authorities, for a proposed multipurpose ecozone.

Other considerations are the socio-economic and demographic profile of the area, including raw materials available, presence of schools, Indigenous Peoples and possible challenges for its use.

According to Philippine Export Zone Authority (Peza) director general Charito Plaza, all potential land areas are considered with the invited investors. This is in consonance to directives received from President Rodrigo Duterte for the general welfare and poverty alleviation in the countryside, she added.

This is also in response to challenges as to “underemployment, underdevelopment and unequal distribution of wealth,” as well as the full implementation of the PEZA law, Plaza further said.

Ecozones could be industrial for export products, information technology parks, eco-tourism, medical tourism, agro-forestry and agro-industrial parks. Newer types of ecozones would be retirement villages, logistics and renewable energy parks, it was also known.

The two-day Luzon Ecozone Summit saw delegates from CAR region, with presentations of proposed development areas, with a minimum area of five to seven hectares, up to more than a hundred.

Plaza said that land use and potential should be protected, enhanced, albeit maximized, “No land should be left idle,” she emphasized.

The two-day summit looked at situationers and other initiatives in support of regional ecozone development in Luzon, as the Visayas and Mindanao summits were done earlier. Other presenters during the summit were national line agencies, PEZA authorities, consultants, marketing advisors and other partners. (Julie Fianza/PIO)

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