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UPLB, Leyte town seek ecozones status

[ ] April 30, 2009

The University of the Philippines-Los Banos (UPLB) and a town in Southern Leyte are each developing special economic zones to attract investments.

Lilia B. de Lima told reporters at the sidelines of the 2009 Investors Recognition Day at the World Trade Center yesterday that UPLB will develop a 126-hectare agro-industrial zone and a 20-hectare information technology park.

Kananga in Southern Leyte is readying P248 million for the development of a 30-hectare special ecozone, the first one under a special executive order allowing local government units (LGU) to convert areas near geothermal plants into industrial estates.

De Lima said UPLB, which own the properties and the buildings within the complex, will seek private sector partners for the development of the two zones but the development will be partially be funded by the national government. There are no estimates as to project costs.

De Lima said the projects will underscore the advantage of the state-owned university as a center for research and development (R&D).

The agro-industrial park will host existing locators for technical incubation but is also expected to attract exporters, particularly those engaged in food processing as well as research and development.

The IT park, meanwhile, will take advantage of the growing number of engineering graduates from the university, as well as serve as host to IT projects, including BPO and call centers, software development and engineering design.

Locators will enjoy a number of perks, including a preferential 5-percent tax rate on gross income.

The projects were approved by the PEZA board last Monday.

The Kananga special ecozone project, which was also approved on the same day, seeks to take advantage of special power rates for LGUs hosting geothermal projects.

De Lima said Kananga is the most accessible among the seven so geothermal sites. It is also near an existing industrial park and an international port.

The area, currently barren, is ideal for industrial projects. It is about 60 kilometers away from the Isabel international port, 27 km from Ormoc City and 87 km Tacloban.


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