(PNA Bacolod file photo)

BACOLOD CITY – The passage of the Bacolod Special Economic Zone Act is seen to bring in more investment and employment opportunities here on its road to recovery from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya, who filed the House Bill (HB) 10243 for the purpose, said on Wednesday the legislation aims to strengthen the local economic scene and provide employment to Bacolodnons.

“As we recover from the pandemic, it is also imperative that we propose measures to stimulate economic activities,” Gasataya said in a statement after the bill was approved on Tuesday by the Senate committee on economic affairs chaired by Senator Imee Marcos.

He added the bill is “a product of our conversation with Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon about our vision for the development of Bacolod City”.

The Bacolod Special Economic Zone Act provides for the establishment of a special economic zone in the city and the creation of the Bacolod Special Economic Zone Authority or the BSEZA.

“Our city will be provided economic incentives to motivate both local and foreign investors and boost the local commercial scene. This will further provide employment, business opportunities, export and comparative advantage opportunities, more competitive wages, and an increase in land and property valuation,” Gasataya said.

He added this will also provide opportunities for graduates and skilled workers trained under the government scholarship programs to seek local employment instead of migrating for work.

Gasataya noted that the impact of economic zones in local economies such as Zamboanga City and Bataan has been evident.

In the Freeport Area of Bataan, formerly Bataan Export Processing Zone, investments increased from PHP390 million in 2012 to PHP6.2 billion in 2015 while in the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority and Freeport, investments surged to PHP9.7 billion in 2015 from only PHP9.8 million in 2014.

“We are hoping the establishment of our own ecozone and its careful implementation would result in the same kind of economic growth in Bacolod City,” Gasataya said.

According to the legislation, Bacolod Ecozone will cover a particular area located in the city, wherein the specific metes and bounds of which will be more particularly defined in a presidential proclamation that will be issued for the purpose. (PNA)