Bataan freeport to attract emerging digital economies

By Ernie Esconde

January 30, 2021, 11:41 am

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MARIVELES, Bataan – The Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) has taken steps to attract emerging digital economies through blockchain, distributed ledgers, and financial technology solutions.

AFAB Administrator Emmanuel Pineda said on Friday they have opened their doors for the registration of offshore Financial Technology (FinTech) companies using blockchain or other emerging technologies.

Blockchain is a system that makes digital records of transactions.

Pineda said the AFAB has engaged the expertise of Grand Innovasia Concept Corp. (GICC) and its partner, Impero Consortium Management Corp. (Impero), as its marketing arm and internal auditor for companies interested in acquiring Offshore Blockchain Financial Technology Services (OBFTS) licenses from the AFAB.

As a service provider, GICC-Impero evaluates, processes, verifies, and endorses all applications to engage in and operate OBFTS business activities within the Freeport Area of Bataan.

“The collaboration is also responsible (for) ensuring the faithful compliance and monitoring of all transactions undertaken by the offshore licensees,” he said in a media interview.

Pineda noted that the AFAB also expects an influx of new registrants that would be processed through GICC-Impero as the AFAB has completed its recent registration of iWave Advanced Research Group, Inc. (iWAR) as a new FAB Enterprise.

The iWAR is set to provide a global trading exchange (GlobalTradeX) platform that would ease access and enable trade in international financial markets by offshore investors and traders.

“With this development, AFAB is optimistic that many offshore companies will be securing OBFTS licenses from it, subject to the required probity check and evaluation of GICC-Impero and the establishment of service agreements of such companies with their AFAB registered service providers located within the FAB,” he said.
Pineda added that the stringent evaluation and due diligence set in place by AFAB through GICC-Impero ensures that all interested parties that are looking into starting up or expanding into OBFTS have access to a complete suite of services covering the whole spectrum from registration to operational support, access to foreign capital markets, and trading.

“Having all these capabilities to facilitate blockchain business activities and financial technology solutions, the future of digital capital markets shall soon be a reality in the FAB,” he said.

AFAB senior information officer Karen Padaoan said these are in full exercise of their strengthened agency powers and functions.

All of these developments are legally possible under Republic Act (RA) 11453 or “An Act Further Strengthening the Powers and Functions of the Freeport of Bataan”, which amended AFAB’s Charter under RA 9728 of the act converting the Bataan Economic Zone into the FAB.

“A section of the law provides that the FAB shall be developed into and operated as a decentralized, self-reliant, and self-sustaining industrial, commercial-trading, research and development, engineering, medical, education, information, and communications technology,” Padaoan said.

AFAB information officer Hazel Keith Ellorin said this includes emerging and future technologies, such as artificial technology, blockchain, business process outsourcing, cloud computing, cybersecurity, distributed ledger technology, financial technology solutions, internet of things, and virtual reality, retirement, and health care services, agro-industrial, and an investment center.

“This is further articulated in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the law on the regulatory and administrative powers of the AFAB relative to these blockchains and emerging technologies,” Ellorin added. (PNA)