The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is planning to transform several economic zones in the country into defense industrial complexes where military equipment and weapons will be produced. This is in line with the government’s goal of modernizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as they have been lagging in terms of military technology.
As part of this plan, PEZA plans to start inviting defense industries whose products are needed by the AFP. As the Philippines is strategically located in Asia, the country could serve as the manufacturing hub of the defense industry in the region. For the creation of defense industrial ecozones, PEZA stated that a memorandum of agreement should be entered into with the AFP to clear up regulatory power issues and analyze implications to national security.
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. Special Basic Citizen Military Training would be provided for PEZA employees and workers at the PEZA-registered companies operating inside the economic zones. The order would also provide 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. PEZA’s 404 operating ecozones and 4,478 companies will provide 1.5 million directly and seven million indirectly employed reservist manpower, which will meet the requirement 80% reserve component of the AFP.
Given the recent Taal Volcano eruption which brought ashfall and affected operations of locators in some economic zones, the agency plans also to put up its own Incident Command System (ISC) and Incident Command Center (ICC) in its new building.
(Sources: Business Mirror; The Philippine Star)