SANTA ANA, Cagayan: Considered as the “catalyst for growth” and economic development in Northern Philippines, the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZF) is now emerging as the first and only regulated interactive gaming jurisdiction in the world.
Officials of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) said the area is now comparable to the Isle of Man, Kahnnawake, Alderney and Malta Gaming Jurisdictions.
CEZA Administrator Jose Marie Ponce said that from a virtually unknown jurisdiction, they were able to achieve this level of respect and credibility with the help of partners like the First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corporation which has invested so much in the area.
“The Cagayan Freeport was able to achieve a significant transformation in just nine years or since 2005 when actual developments took place,” he said.
While CEZA has been caught between the quarrels of political personalities, Ponce said “the corporation will continue to work to improve the economy of Cagayan.”
“We should never lose sight of our ultimate goal of developing the Cagayan Freeport and functioning as the catalyst for growth and economic development in Northern Philippines,” Ponce added.
Meanwhile, CEZA is now a consistent “remitter of taxes” and an earning government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC).
CEZA Chief of Public Affairs Marie Joyce Jayme said CEZA has remitted a total of P100,016,278.14 as its 2013 dividends show.
Jayme said this is a significant increase compared to its initial remittance of over P88 million last year to the national government for the period from 2006 to 2012.
CEZA was created by virtue of Republic Act 7922, a government-owned and controlled corporation under the Office of the President tasked to manage and supervise the development of the CSEZF.
Santa Ana and the islands of Fuga, Barit and Mabbag in the municipality of Aparri with approximately 54,118 hectares of urban, suburban and agro-industrial lands for prime development, all lying along the West Philippine Sea-Pacific Ocean coast are covered by CEZA under its charter.