By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 21, 2014 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Investment commitments in the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) hit a record-high in the first six months of the year.
According to the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB), it attracted investment pledges amounting to P83.96 billion in the first semester, well above the P60.55 million in the same period last year.
The approved investments are for different projects which include a business process outsourcing facility, a luxury handbag manufacturing plant, a biofuel production hub, as well as development and operation of commercial and tourism estate facilities.
“The AFAB already achieved its goal to exceed last year’s pledges. It’s just half of the year and we already surpassed the P2.1-billion worth of approved investments in 2013. This record-high investment pledges proved that the Authority works hard to contribute to the growth of the local economy and generate more jobs for the people on the ground,” AFAB chairman and administrator Deogracias G.P. Custodio said.
As investment pledges surged, the number of freeport workers likewise climbed 33 percent to 18,387 from 13,802 employees in the comparable period in 2013.
Export earnings of locators in the FAB meanwhile, declined 13 percent to $169.281 million in the first half of 2014 compared to the $194.958 million worth of exports reported in the same period last year.
Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
As of June, there are 87 registered and approved locators in the FAB.
The locators include Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese, American, Japanese, British, Bahrainese, French and German businesses.
The FAB is the emerging fashion manufacturing hub of the Philippines as it hosts companies producing garments, apparel, shoes, bags and pieces of jewelry for the high-end market.
By 2020, the AFAB wants the freeport to be the preferred location of investors and a center of trade, innovation and sustainable development in Asia.
“We assure the national government and the locals in Bataan that we will continue to bring more investments in the region and make sure that the economic growth is felt by the people,” Custodio said.
In line with attracting more locators to the freeport, the AFAB earlier this month forged a partnership with the Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines to encourage Korean firms to invest in the FAB.