TUBA, Benguet – The municipal government is still awaiting the decision of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) on which among the three sites that were inspected by the zone experts will qualify as an expansion area of the economic zone to help spur economic activities in the town.
Mayor Ignacio Rivera disclosed that local officials were supposed to have a meeting with PEZA authorities in Manila early this month but the same was reset to a later date to be determined by PEZA for them to be appraised on the results of the inspection and their evaluation of the sites that were proposed for their expansion area.
“We will just keep our fingers crossed that one of the inspected sites in the municipality will be able to qualify as an expansion site of the economic zone considering the absence of available area in Baguio City where it could further expand its operations to entice more multinational companies to invest in our area,” Mayor Rivera stressed.
However, the local chief executive admitted that there are some problems in the three identified expansion sites, particularly the presence of alleged claimants and informal settlers and the possible source of abundant supply of water, but the same could be addressed once the PEZA will be able to present its evaluation and assessment of the proposed sites which are mostly located along the Palispis-Aspiras highway, formerly known as the Marcos highway.
Earlier, PEZA officials visited the municipality to conduct an ocular inspection of the three sites that were proposed by the local government as possible relocation site of the operation of the Loakan-based economic zone considering the expected influx of investors wanting to expand their operations within the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tubal-Tublay (BLISTT) growth area.
According to him, PEZA prefers potential expansion sites that are located near major national roads with existing sources of abundant water supply considering the need for the continues supply of water by the supposed locators who will be investing in the said sites.
He said Tuba was previously identified by PEZA authorities as a potential area where it could expand its existing operations in Loakan to entice more foreign multinational companies to invest in the zone that will help create more employment opportunities for local residents, generate added income for the local government and provide livelihood opportunities for the people living around the expansion site.
Rivera claimed PEZA officials will be updating the local government on the initial results of the evaluation and assessment done by their experts on the proposed sites that were identified for the purpose so that local officials will know the steps that it will undertake to guarantee that the sites will pass the standards imposed by the zone administration primarily for the benefit of the investors in the future.
He underscored the local government will continue to closely work with concerned government agencies to ensure that the first-class town will be granted more development projects aside from the improvement in the delivery of basic services beneficial in improving the quality of life of residents living in the town’s 13 barangays.