MMSU eyes creation of special EcoZones

MMSU is eyeing recognition from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to establish its Special Economic Zone (SEZ) initiatives in the Ilocos region.


In a forum on economic competitiveness planning held at the University Function hall on May 14, Dr. Carmelo Esteban, focal person of the MMSU PEZA Technical Working Group (TWG) and concurrently the university’s director for planning, said once MMSU gets the recognition, it will be next to Batangas State University, which has already been recognized by the agency to have its own SEZ.


An SEZ or EcoZone is a selected area with highly developed or which has the potential to become a center of development in the agro-industrial, industrial, tourist/recreational, and commercial sectors, as well as banking, investment and financial centers. It may contain any or all of these.


Dr. Esteban said three EcoZone initiatives at the MMSU were proposed — the transformation of the MMSU College of Aquatic Science and Applied Technology (CASAT) in Currimao town as an aquamarine zone; the conversion of the university’s forest reserve plantations in Brgy. Payao as an agroforestry zone; and the creation of Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST) Park inside the university main campus.


“The TWG on investments of the regional development council will assess the potentials of this proposal, and we will be seeking the endorsement from PEZA,” he said.


Dr. Esteban added that it is an additional identity of any institution to be accredited as an SEZ because of the assistance of PEZA in establishing partnership for investors in the development of the EcoZones.


Prior to the submission of the proposal, the university has shown to the agency its commitment to serve as a program-delivery partner of PEZA in creating the SEZ, and the effort of MMSU’s TWG for attending the special planning workshop that was held in Pampanga this year for such concern.


Meanwhile, MMSU President Shirley C. Agrupis assured that the university will establish its own EcoZones, noting that the locations of the development projects in the university have promising resources and capabilities.


“Our campus in Currimao was envisioned to become an eco-fishery tourism hub, while the area in Brgy. Payao has very rich forest resources, aside from the university being the host of several research and development centers,” she said.


The planning forum was graced by Neilbert Jacky Gaviola Gajudo, executive assistant to the PEZA director general, and chairman of the Special Economic Zone Institute Program.


During the forum, Gajudo presented to the university’s PEZA TWG how the PEZA is revolutionizing towards building green industrial economic zones into small towns, digital cities, and new metropolitan areas.


“This is the time we must exercise our innovation because this is what development economic zone is all about,” Gajudo said, as he welcomed the MMSU’s bid to establish its special economic zone initiatives.


The PEZA is an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry that is tasked to promote investments, extend assistance, register, grant incentives, and facilitate the business operations of investors in export-oriented manufacturing and service facilities inside selected areas throughout the country.