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HomeAdvertisementsECOZONES IN-DEPTH: Groundbreaking Ceremony for CatSU KIST Park and Agro-Industrial Economic Zone

ECOZONES IN-DEPTH: Groundbreaking Ceremony for CatSU KIST Park and Agro-Industrial Economic Zone

By Director General Tereso O. Panga

Virac, Catanduanes, 25 May 2023 – Congratulations to Dr. Patrick Azanza and the Catanduanes State University (CatSU) for the groundbreaking today of its Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST) Park and Agro-Industrial Processing Zone in the Province of Catanduanes—the first for these ecozone models to be approved by PEZA in the Bicol region. The guidelines for the establishment of KIST Park were jointly formulated by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and PEZA.

Both milestone projects are ably assisted by Catanduanes Gov. Joseph Cua, Cong. Eulogio Rodriguez, host LGUs of Virac and Panganiban, and other partner agencies that support the implementation of ecozone program at the regional/municipal levels. As these model ecozones conform to green, inclusive and sustainable development, CatSU is able to mobilize as well the cooperation of the farmers, NGOs and business chambers, scientists and researchers, and key players in the IT and agro-sector supply chains–thereby fostering synergies between academe and the industry.

In just over a year, the dream of converting some idle lands of CatSU into a prime KIST and Agro-Industrial Economic Zone is now a reality. A reality that will potentially change the future of the whole Province of Catanduanes and benefit its 263,000 residents. It is worth mentioning that the CatSU KIST and Agro-Industrial Economic Zone will bring in a total of PhP 1.550 Billion investments in the province.

No doubt that the province of Catanduanes and CatSU have what it takes to attract investments into their desired world-class and environment-friendly ecozones. Catanduanes happens to be the biggest contributor to the growth of the abaca industry among the abaca-producing regions. The Philippines supplies 87.5% of the world’s requirement for abaca fibers, making the country the abaca capital of the world.

In the case of CatSU, it is ranked no. 3 top performing schools in Region V. CatSU is also vying for green university ranking under the Green University Networks of the UNEP-UN environment programme. We are most impressed by CatSU’s green installations such as the 250kw hybrid solar-battery power generation facility complete with smart control room, which supplies 30% of its campus energy needs; an agri-4.0 designed greenhouse adopting 4 technology systems into aquaponic, hydroponic, deep water culture and drip irrigation that can produce lettuce, celery, cherry tomato and capsicum in a controlled environment; and a 400 cum. capacity rain collector to augment its water supply. All these facilities likewise subscribe to the principles of climate proofing and circular economy.

When PEZA economic zones are created, set up and properly managed, it spurs economic growth similar to the zones we have established in the Bicol Region, which now hosts 8 ecozones and 11 export-oriented locator companies, mostly involved in the Manufacturing and BPO Industry. These companies employ almost 9,000 of our countrymen and have contributed to date about PhP 17.898 Billion investments, and have generated US$ 33.636 Million exports for the 1Q 2023.

Cong. Eulogio “Leo” R. Rodriguez even positively stated that, “The establishment of economic zones in the province will surely be the beginning, the starting step toward the great economic leap of the province of Catanduanes.” Moreover, Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua emphasized that, “By facilitating agro-processing and agro-business ventures within this zone, we empower locals to enhance their economic well-being.”

As a fellow Bicolano and at the helm of PEZA, I take particular interest at the prospects of seeing: 1) foreign companies locating in the 2 CatSU ecozones; 2) Job opportunities opening for graduates of CatSU so that they need not go to Manila; and, 3) Uplifting the economic life of the people of Catanduanes through the ancillary and downstream effects of foreign Direct investment and capital inflow that will potentially be generated. These are the same parameters that we adopt in PEZA as we promote the creation of more ecozones in rural and new growth areas to accelerate our countryside development.

CatSU President Dr. Patrick Azanza also takes pride for Catanduanes and CatSU for responding to the call of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to establish ecozones to attract strategic investments. “In fact, we are one, if not the first ecozone during the time of PBBM, that will be inaugurated and will be established,” he stated.

We in PEZA are committed to His Excellency President Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s vision of decentralizing economic progress, invigorating economic renewal, long term countrywide growth where nobody is left behind and above all prosperity for Filipinos and their families. As such, we engage with the LGUs, State Universities and Stakeholders to assist in the development of Ecozones in their communities knowing that these would become catalysts for economic progress in their respective areas.

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