6 Iloilo municipalities can be special economic zones

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Monday, March 20, 2017

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ILOILO City – Six Iloilo towns can be special economic zones, a feasibility study of the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) showed.

The study was presented to the provincial government, Iloilo businessmen and other stakeholders recently at Casa Real (old Iloilo provincial capitol).

These towns were New Lucena, Santa Barbara, Oton, Tigbauan, San Miguel, and Cabatuan.

Indicators showed it was sustainable to put up economic zones in the province, according to the study.

These indicators included adequate water supply, seaport that can be expanded, enough power supply, stable peace and order, and availability of manpower.

The municipality of Dumangas was previously eyed as a viable economic zone due to its seaport and available fishpond and marshland areas. The UA&P study, however, said it was too costly to do land reclamation.

The provincial government mulls a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement in establishing the economic zones.

The previous mayor of Dumangas, Rolando Distura, said in an interview last year that his town had what it takes to be an economic zone.

“Going to Dumangas via coastal road is now easy. The road is four lanes all the way to the seaport. Another road going to the town from Barotac Nuevo is also being widened to become four lanes,” Distura said.

The key to Dumangas’ recent economic boom is its seaport. Every day, roll on, roll off (roro) ships make 25 trips.

In October 2015, China expressed willingness to help Iloilo province realize its proposed economic zone in Dumangas.

“We are happy to make your economic zone a new milestone in the development of the province,” said Chinese Consul General Song Ronghua.

Ronghua, who visited Iloilo, said the proposed 50-hectare Dumangas economic zone was suitable for further development.

Ronghua and his team conducted an ocular inspection at the proposed economic zone in Barangay Sapao.

He then invited the provincial government to also visit China and learn from their economic zones.


“We will be happy to share our experiences. We achieved a lot using economic zones,” he said./PN




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