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PEZA and the DENR have signed an agreement to turn unused land into ecozones.

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Tuesday to assist the former in identifying idle properties across the country that might be converted into economic zones.

PEZA Director General Charito Plaza said the partnership with the DENR aims to identify viable timberlands, agricultural lands, mining lands, and natural tourism sites that can be used as ecozones such as agro-industrial, agro-forestry, mineral processing ecozones, oil depots, and eco-tourism special economic zones nationwide during her speech during the signing ceremony.

“PEZA’s program is to create different types of ecozones so that we can safeguard the environment, locate appropriate industries, and improve the responsible use of land and natural resources.” This is PEZA’s strategy of fully industrializing the country while also protecting, rather than destroying, the environment,” Plaza explained.

Plaza went on to say that transforming idle lands into ecozones is in line with the Malacaang Palace’s purpose of supporting rural improvement through ecozone development in the countryside, as stated in Administrative Order 18 released in 2019.

“This MOU signing will serve as an initial and broad framework of understanding between PEZA and the DENR toward the goal of identifying public lands nationwide that can be harnessed in a sustainable and environmentally-compliant manner, to spread ecozones because they are economic growth drivers outside the National Capital Region (NCR),” she added.

The Caraga Region was chosen as the pilot location for the PEZA and DENR’s relationship.

“As the country transitions to President-elect Bongbong Marcos Jr.’s presidency, we at PEZA are optimistic about the economy’s prospects, and we will continue to pursue our mandate of attracting investments, exports, and jobs,” Plaza stated.

There are currently 416 PEZA ecozones across the country, with 105 ecozones freshly declared.

Since the PEZA’s creation in 1995, 3,557 locators have invested a total of PHP4.036 trillion in these ecozones.

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