Congress approves creation of Bacolod ecozone body

Congress approves creation of Bacolod ecozone body

BACOLOD CITY – The proposed legislation for the establishment of the Bacolod Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) has hurdled the third and final reading in the House of Representatives, Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya said Monday.

“We are positioning Bacolod just like Clark and Cavite, which has existing economic zones. This will not happen in an instant, but [we] have to lay the groundwork. Through legislation, we are preparing to position Bacolod as a possible investment site for major foreign companies,” Gasataya, who authored House Bill (HB) 5440, said in an interview.

The establishment of a special economic zone and its governing body for Bacolod would generate employment and allow skilled workers to stay, instead of seeking employment in other urbanized cities, he said.

Both foreign and local investors may invest in industries in the city such as manufacturing, which would lead to more competitive wage rates, he added.

A copy of HB 5440 has been received by the Senate.

“We are working out and following up within the week the bill with the committee it was assigned. It’s either they will adopt the bill I filed or introduce some amendments,” Gasataya said.

In the explanatory note of the bill, Gasataya pointed out that “with the vast economic growth it has accumulated over the years and brilliantly executed urban development plans, Bacolod City at present has the amenities to accommodate both local and foreign investments and further economic growth with little to no congestion issues in comparison to other metropolitan areas.”

He mentioned strategically placed access points such as the Bacolod­-Silay Airport, Banago Wharf, Bredco Port and congestion-free routes in the city.

Gasataya also cited Section 6 of Republic Act 7916, otherwise known as the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995 as amended, which clearly qualifies Bacolod to be a viable location for the establishment of an economic zone.

“We filed this bill in 2019 as existing economic zones in Clark and Cavite have shown promise in local economic, social, and cultural growth. Through this, we will be able to further propel growth for Bacolod,” he added. (PNA)

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