DEFENSE INDUSTRIAL ESTATE. Government Arsenal director Arnold Rafael Depakakibo (left), together with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (center) and Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) administrator Emmanuel Pineda on Monday (June 27, 2022) sign a memorandum of agreement on the proposed declaration of the Defense Industrial Estate as the newest expansion area of the Freeport Area of Bataan. The signing was held at the Department of National Defense building in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. (Photo courtesy of AFAB)

LIMAY, Bataan – A defense and military-industrial economic zone will soon rise in this province to encourage investors in defense projects to establish their manufacturing plants in the country.

The Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) and the Government Arsenal (GA) signed on Monday a memorandum of agreement on the proposed declaration of the Defense Industrial Estate here as the newest expansion area of the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB).

The industrial estate in Barangay Lamao, where the GA is located and manufactures basic weapons and ammunition for the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police, has an area of 370.371 hectares.

AFAB Administrator Emmanuel Pineda said on Tuesday the MOA engages both the AFAB and the GA to work in the establishment and operation of the FAB expansion area as a sustainable defense industrial base to encourage investors in defense projects to generate employment in the province as well as income for the government.

Pineda said the expected gains from the joint venture would also help sustain AFP’s modernization program in line with the national policy of defense self-reliance.

AFAB information officer Hazel Keith Elloren said with the execution of the MOA, the AFAB has been successfully appointed and engaged as the GA’s incentives administration authority with exclusive authority to market and transact with investors within the GA FAB Expansion Area that may either be defense or non-defense locators and enterprises.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, meanwhile, underscored the significance of the partnership in the government’s long-standing plan to establish defense industry economic zones across the country.

"Today is a great day to celebrate cooperation and the spirit of collaboration. The DND (Department of National Defense) has always intended to stimulate the local defense industry, and this joint venture is a monumental step in that direction,” he said in a statement.

“As you all know, the AFP is nearing the peak of its modernization efforts that are aimed at achieving a stronger defense posture for our country, and today’s event will hopefully jumpstart material acquisition from foreign defense industries," Lorenzana added.

He also acknowledged the efforts and contribution of Bataan 2nd District Rep. Jose Enrique "Joet" Garcia III for the fulfillment of this milestone that would undoubtedly usher in progress and development for the province.

Garcia, the incoming governor of Bataan, was the author of the bill approved into a law mandating the expansion of FAB not only in Mariveles but in 11 towns and one city of the province. (PNA)