THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) said it has approved Tawi-Tawi’s first economic zone, which will be located in Kulape in the town of Panglima Sugala.
“We have just approved one economic zone in Tawi-Tawi that is supposed to be under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao-Regional Economic Zone Authority [ARMM-REZA],” PEZA Director General Charito Plaza told reporters on Friday.
Plaza said the first ecozone for Tawi-Tawi was approved in May as REZA supports the new thrust of PEZA to encourage new locators to come in and do business in the country.
“We will put up an international transhipment port because more ships a day passes through its waters,” Plaza added.
She said that PEZA will put up an ecozone and port for each of Tawi-Tawi’s five major islands.
“The first approved private economic zone in the island of Tawi-Tawi will consist of 218.9 hectares in Kulape, Panglima Sugala,” the PEZA chief added.
The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa) earlier said it is pushing for the development of the island province of Tawi-Tawi into a free economic zone (FEZ).
The development of a FEZ in Tawi-Tawi will be “a comprehensive approach,” Datu HJ Abdul Khayr Alonto, Minda chairman, said. “Livelihood, social and other aspects will all be addressed. Infrastructures will also have to be established,” he added.
Alonto said investors from the Middle East and other Islamic countries have already expressed interest in Tawi-Tawi.
“We cannot afford to miss this opportunity,” he said.
Alonto also noted that there is economic potential for the island province as it is in the path of international shipping containers.
He added that among the priority infrastructure projects in the program is to create bridges, roads, and other forms of connectivity to connect the islands of Tawi-Tawi and to connect Tawi-Tawi with the islands of Sulu and Basilan.