PEZA Director General Charito Plaza (file photo)

MANILA – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources have identified at least seven new locations in Mindanao as viable lands for economic zone development.

In a statement Thursday, PEZA said these lands viable for agro-industrial, agro-forestry, mineral processing, and eco-tourism are located in the Caraga Region.

It said four of the proposed special economic zones will be located in Agusan del Norte, and one each in Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.

"We aim to restore back the once major industry of wood and put order in the utilization of the raw minerals processed into many other products in Caraga, which has the biggest timber and mining lands," PEZA Director General Charito Plaza said.

The PEZA currently has 23 agro-industrial zones across the country. These newly identified lands for development are offshoot of the memorandum of understanding between PEZA and DENR signed last May that aims to spur economic growth in the countryside.

"Under the MOU, PEZA and DENR have agreed to pursue the establishment of special ecozones in potential areas within the jurisdiction of the DENR that are suitable for development as agro-industrial, agro-forestry, mineral processing, and eco-tourism. We hope to truly implement these partnerships in the coming years under the administration of President-elect Bongbong Marcos Jr.," Plaza said. (PNA)