Special economic zone eyed in Davao Sur

In a press conference Wednesday, municipal officials said a good wharf in the town's Tubalan Cove, which has a fine harbor, and an airport that could cater to international flights, could be built in the area.

They said the town’s distinct advantage is that it is typhoon free and has a very low crijme rate.  

Malita was among at least 37 priority areas, with 12 others in Mindanao, included for the creation of special economic zones as provided for in the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995 or Republic Act No. 7916.

The 800-hectare Tubalan Cove, identified as a priority area, is being eyed as a premier sea front and a haven for tourism, said Malita Vice Mayor Allan Colina during the Kapihan sa PIA.

Bebe Baldoza, municipal investment promotion officer, said the proposal is composed of 15 components, including shipyard, international airport, industrial park, sports complex, tourism haven, among other things.

Baldoza said Malita's location is strategic in the BIMP-EAGA with its proximity to the international sea lanes.

The plan, officials said, has been incorporated in the town's long range vision up o 2020 to transform Malita into an "investment paradise".

He said local and foreign investors have started to come for ocular inspection and initial talks with the local government.

Colina said they are working on the documents for conversion of the area into a special economic zone.

According to RA 7916, a special economic zone is an area with highly developed or which has the potential to be developed into agro-industrial, industrial tourist/recreational, commercial, banking, investment and financial center.

An economic zone may have any or all of the following: industrial estates, export processing zones (EPZs), free trade zones, and tourist or recreational centers.

The government requires, among others, economic zones to have enough infrastructure such as roads, railways, telephones, ports, and airports and the suitability and capacity of the proposed site to absorb such improvements.

Also, economic zones must have sufficient water source and electric power supply.

It must have vacant lands available for industrial and commercial development and future expansion.

Officials also announced the local government's application for cityhood, but the move has been hampered by a constitutional requirement on municipal income. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)