By Helen M. Flores (The Philippine Star) Updated March 08, 2010 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Foreign investors visiting the freeport zones in Clark, Pampanga and Subic, Zambales may now avail of the government’s “visa-free” program, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported yesterday.
BI Commissioner Marcelino Libanan recently signed an agreement with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator Armand Arreza and Clark Development Corp. (CDC) president Benigno Ricafort for the issuance of visa-free entry privileges to foreign investors visiting the two freeports.
Under the agreement, officers and personnel of a foreign locator in the two freeports may now enter and stay in the country without a visa for a period of 14 days, the BI said.
However, the agency said that the privilege will only be extended to those arriving through the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) or the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA).
“The agreement provides that the foreign locator shall vouch for their officers and personnel coming here and shall notify the SBMA chair or CDC president who shall approve the grant of the visa-free entry privilege,” the Bureau of Immigration said.
The agreement also said that these officers and personnel of foreign locators may apply with the BI for a landed visa so they can travel to other areas of the Philippines for the purpose of exploring investment opportunities outside the two freeports.
Libanan said the visa-free entry privilege for foreign locators in Subic and Clark is part of the BI’s ongoing thrust to attract more tourists and investors to the Philippines.
Arreza said the agreement will help attract more foreign investors to do business in Subic and Clark as well as send a signal to other foreign investors that the government is serious in courting more foreign investments that will create more jobs and improve the economy.