Investors want to venture in Tawi-tawi ecozone, say

FOREIGN investors are looking to venture in the proposed Tawi-Tawi economic zone, a top government official bared.

Secretary Datu Abul Khayr D. Alonto of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said during Wednesdays @ Habi at Kape in Abreeza Mall that among those looking for the opportunities in the economic zone are those from the European Union and countries in Asia. The economic zone project, he said, “will be jointly done with the interested parties.”

The plan to set up Tawi-Tawi economic and freeport zone, he said, recently gained approval from President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

“Hopefully, this will start within the year,” Alonto said, where the project includes the establishment of shipyard and industrial park. This is spearheaded by MinDA in collaboration with Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and National Security Council.

This is among the seven economic zones that have been planned to be set up in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) by 2020.

Apart from the project in Tawi-Tawi, Aleem Siddiqui M. Guiapal, executive director of Regional Economic Zone Authority (REZA)-ARMM, said they target to set up economic zones in each of the region’s provinces such as Maguindanao, Sulu, Basilan, Lanao del Sur and the cities of Marawi and Basilan.

The region, Guiapal said, supports the new thrust of PEZA, which is “to embark on new frontiers.”

ARMM has presently one economic zone, which is Polloc Freeport and Ecozone, in Parang, Maguindanao that already generated P134 million as of last year from P75,000 in 2014, according to the data from REZA-ARMM.

With the Tawi-Tawi economic zone, Alonto said there should be also a direct sea linkage from Tawi-Tawi to Tarakan in Indonesia. He said it is high time that Tawi-Tawi hosts an international port as about 150 foreign vessels have been passing through Sibutu Strait every day.

The Tawi-Tawi-Tarakan sea connectivity, he said, will be positioned as a transshipment hub. (By Kristianne M. Fusilero)

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