Duterte orders ban on applications for Metro Manila ecozones

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte issued a moratorium on the processing of applications for economic zones (ecozones) in Metro Manila, as part of the administration’s effort to boost rural progress through robust development of special ecozones in the countryside.

Duterte signed Administrative Order (AO) 18 on June 17, directing the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) to stop accepting, processing, or evaluating applications for the creation of ecozones in Metro Manila. 

“To complement existing strategies and policies on rural development, the Peza shall no longer accept, process or evaluate applications for the establishment of ecozones in Metro Manila immediately upon the effectivity of this Order and until such moratorium is lifted,” the order read.

“The herein moratorium shall not prevent locator companies from commencing their operations on existing ecozones in Metro Manila,” it added.

The Peza, created through Republic Act (RA) 7916 or the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995, is mandated to review proposals for and endorse to the President the establishment of ecozones.

RA 7916 establishes the legal framework and mechanisms for the integration, coordination, planning and monitoring of special ecozones, industrial estates or parks, export processing zones, and other ecozones.

Duterte inked AO 18 to “promote rural development, ensure inclusive growth in the countryside, and create robust economic activity and wealth generation in areas outside Metro Manila.”

An application endorsed by Peza and already submitted to the President’s office prior to the issuance of the order will not be covered by the ban, given that there are no deficiencies in its supporting documents or such are “satisfactorily” addressed within 30 days from the order’s effectivity or from receipt of notice of such deficiencies, according to AO 18.

“The exclusion of an application from the herein moratorium shall not be construed as a guarantee that the same will be granted,” it said.

AO 18 directs Information, Trade, Transportation, Public Work departments; the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and Peza to hasten human capital and infrastructure development, and provide needed interventions to strengthen ecozones in the countryside.

All departments, bureaus, offices, agencies or instrumentalities of the government, including government-owned or -controlled corporations, are directed to provide support in the implementation of the order.

AO 18, which was released by Palace just on Saturday, June 22, takes effect immediately after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

SOURCE

Ruth Abbey Gita (22 June 2019). Duterte orders ban on applications for Metro Manila ecozones Retrieved from https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1811020