The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) eyes a partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the establishment of defense industrial ecozones.
In a recent statement, PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza said the agency is putting in efforts to fully industrialize the Philippines with the creation of new economic zones that will include defense industrial complex to be established among the potential economic zones of the military’s reservation areas.
According to Plaza, the defense industrial complex will allow the country to manufacture its own military and defense equipment, as well as weaponry.
“They can start inviting defense industries whose products are what the AFP wanted to equip and modernize,” Plaza said.
“Creating a defense industrial ecozone will not just modernize the country and the defense forces, but will also create jobs and put to use the long…idle military reservation areas. Because of our strategic location, we can also make the Philippines the Manufacturing hub of defense and other industries in the region,” she added.
Given the country’s strategic location, she said the Philippines could serve as the Manufacturing hub of defense and other industries in the region.
In accomplishing such a plan, Plaza said it is necessary for PEZA and the AFP to come up with a memorandum of agreement to clear the regulatory powers of the two agencies for the proposed creation of a defense industrial complex. This will make sure that PEZA and the AFP understand the implications of putting up a defense economic zone to national security, military posture and strategies once defense related firms start coming in.
Plaza also gave updates on the status of the Military Reservist Program for PEZA, ecozone and industry workers. The first batch of the Special Basic Citizens Military Training (SBCMT) for the PEZA employees and the workers of the PEZA-registered companies operating inside the PEZA economic zones nationwide has been conducted.
“PEZA’s unique structure with 404 operating ecozones and 4,478 locator companies, once trained, will provide 1.5 million directly and seven million indirectly employed reservist manpower, as more than enough for the 80 percent reserve component of the AFP,” according to Plaza.
To strengthen its reservist programs, she said PEZA is proposing an administrative order which seeks to institutionalize the participation of all government agencies and the private sector to become AFP reservist units; the budget allocation for education and training, and uniforms; strengthen the role of government agencies and its employees in the event of emergencies and other forms of disasters/calamities; and encourage the active participation of the private sector through allowable tax deductions on the expense for trainings and equipment of their employee reservist units.
Given the recent Taal Volcano eruption which brought ashfall and affected operations of locators in some economic zones, she said the agency plans to put up its own Incident Command System (ISC) and Incident Command Center (ICC) in its new building.
Santos said the AFP would help link PEZA with the Office of Civil Defense for trainings in handling disasters, emergencies and incident management and help in setting up its own ICS and ICC, as well as emergency response plans for ecozones and companies.
(Sources: BusinessMirror; Philippine Star)