(PNA file photo)

LAOAG CITY – The province of Ilocos Norte is eyeing recognition from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to establish another special economic zone (SEZ) at Fort Ilocandia in Calayab village here.

To date, Ilocos Norte has at least two established ecozones– the Valdez center in San Nicolas town and the Mariano Marcos State University in its Batac City campus.

Pedro “Pete" Agcaoili Jr., the provincial planning and development officer of the Ilocos Norte government, said this on Monday after a public consultation on the provincial development and physical framework plan of the province.

A SEZ is a selected area with highly developed or which has the potential to become a center of development to attract foreign direct investment or increase opportunities for trade balance, employment, and development of infrastructure facilities.

“The establishment of ecozones in various parts of the province is among the priority concerns of the current administration,” Agcaoili said.

Once approved, business establishments operating in the ecozones are entitled to fiscal incentives and enjoy tax benefits and holidays. Early on, a SEZ Institute was established in Batac City to make it more accessible to Ilocanos.

Since then, the area has been used to provide various skills training and research to make every Filipino a world-class worker.

There are 406 operating economic zones in the Philippines and over 4,600 companies are enjoying tax incentives through these.

The PEZA is an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry that is tasked to promote investments, extend assistance, register, grant incentives, and facilitate the business operations of investors in export-oriented manufacturing and service facilities inside selected areas throughout the country. (PNA)