BAGUIO CITY – The state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said that under the Aquino Administration, employment at its three special economic zones rose to 81,282 at end-2014 or a 31.37 percent increase compared to the 61,874 existing jobs recorded in 2010, bolstering the significant gains of the present administration in terms of generating sustainable employment opportunities for qualified Filipinos, especially from the host communities where the economic zones are situated.
BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said that the 61,874 employed in 2010 compared to the recorded 81,282 employed by end-2014 has translated to an additional 19,408 jobs at the Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ) in Pampanga, the Poro Point Freeport Zone (PPFZ) in La Union, and the John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ) in Baguio City over the past years, assuring that more employment opportunities in the said special economic zones will be created until the Aquino administration comes to an end on Jun 2016.
According to Casanova the significant increase in employment at the CFZ, the PPFZ, and the JHSEZ can be attributed to the increased investor confidence and ease of doing business as espoused by the Aquino Administration which continues to attract more foreign an domestic corporations to invest in the said economic zones purposely to expand their operations in the said areas.
“This has resulted in the decision of investors to locate in the BCDA-controlled economic zones and for the existing locators to expand their businesses,” he said.
Casanova pointed out that good governance under the Aquino administration was the game changer because the bureaucracy was significantly reduced that allowed businesses to easily be issued their permits plus the fact that there was convenience in doing business in the said special economic zones under the State Corporation’s administration.
“Good governance reforms such as cutting down the steps in doing business together with promoting transparency in all transactions played a key role in attracting more investors to put up shops in the economic zones which resulted in increased employment,” he said.
He added that “good governance is the best employment and wealth generator” because it guarantees the confidence of investors to the management of the zones allowing them to infuse the needed capital that will result to the availability of more jobs, increased economic activities and sources of livelihood for the host communities.
In 2010, employment figures in CFZ was pegged at 60,162; PPFZ, 701; and JHSEZ at 1,011. By the end-2014, employment figures in CFZ registered a high of 75,538; PPFZ, 1,568; and JHSEZ at 4,176 or an increase of 25.6 percent, 123.7 percent and 313 percent respectively.
Under the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7227 or the BCDA Law, the management and administration of former American military bases in Clark, Poro Point and Camp John Hay will be under the BCDA and that the income to be generated from the operation of the economic zones will be used primarily for the modernization of the armed forces.
Casanova expressed confidence that the Aquino administration will be leaving a legacy in the existing economic zones and the modernization of the armed forces through the use of the income for businesses in the said zones outside Metro Manila. By Dexter A. See