BOI moves to fast track recovery of Yolanda-stricken areas

The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) is implementing a number of initiatives to further stabilize and fast track the socio-economic rehabilitation and re-development in the areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda back in 2013.

Trade Secretary and BOI Chairman Ramon Lopez said that such initiatives augurs well to the administration’s socio-economic agenda to uplift the lives of Filipinos and attain inclusive growth.

Already, the BOI approved a total of 27 projects worth Php76.19 Billion in areas highly affected by super typhoon Yolanda from November 2013 to date.  These investment projects generated around 3,674 in new jobs.

About 95 percent of the registered investment projects are energy and power projects where 12 of which are renewable energy projects, one bunker fired power plant and one energy source exploration project. The remaining five percent of the registered investment activities meanwhile are shared by the sectors of manufacturing (three percent), agriculture, forestry and fishing (one percent), and accommodation and food service (one percent).

Trade Undersecretary for Industry Development and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said the energy and power projects are set to stabilize the social and economic development in the areas devastated by the super typhoon.

Complementary to the mentioned investment activities, the BOI Board, through Resolution No. 19-02 Series of 2016 and adopted by Memorandum Circular No. 2016-003, has also approved the inclusion of 134 calamity-stricken cities and municipalities including those devastated by Yolanda in the list in the list of the Less Developed Areas(LDAs)in the current Investment Priorities Plan (IPP).

“The move is intended to encourage more businesses to set up investment activities in calamity-stricken areas, is aligned with the government’s strategy to move into the medium to long term recovery and rehabilitation of areas highly affected by calamities,” said Undersecretary Rodolfo adding that registered projects located in the identified LDAs are entitled to pioneer incentives and additional deduction from taxable income equivalent to 100 percent of expenses incurred in the development of necessary and major infrastructure facilities, unless specified otherwise in the IPP’s specific guidelines.

BOI, in partnership with various government agencies and the local government of Leyte, a Yolanda-affected area, is also leading the implementation of the proposed Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone. The project is part of the strategies under the Copper Industry Roadmap which aims to promote the integrated development and competitiveness of copper and other industries in the context of the ongoing rehabilitation efforts in the region and thus promote sustainable local employment.

The proposed industrial zone also aims to promote industry clustering to reduce businesses’ logistics costs and ensure reliable supply of power.  Leyte has one of the biggest geothermal power plants in the Visayas region.

Conservation and protection of the environment is a major focus of the project, hence the concept of an ecological industrial zone instead of a regular industrial zone.  The proposed ecological industrial zone itself provides services for waste management and recycling. It also takes into consideration climate change risks, thus the zone’s buildings and roads will be designed to be much resilient against disasters and calamities. A plan to have an underground electrification for the zone is also being considered.

It is expected to house potential locators in the field of copper wire rod casting facility, downstream copper industry such as but not limited to copper wire producers, major industrial concerns that need power and port facilities such as steel, copper-using industries, and other business activities identified by industry that may support the economic rehabilitation of typhoon-affected areas such as garments.

Leyte is home to the copper smelting and refining operations of the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (PASAR). The company is currently operating within the 425-hectare Leyte Industrial Development Estate in Isabel, Leyte.  PASAR is the country’s only copper smelting and refining firm and is one of the biggest in Asia. The copper cathodes used in the manufacture of electronics that are produced by PASAR are among the top 10 export products of the country.

The BOI, in partnership with the Department of Trade & Industry Regional Office in Eastern Visayas also capacitated the region’s various industry players, businesses, local government units and agencies, and concerned stakeholders in crafting their localized version of national industry roadmaps and achieve further growth and competitiveness.   “The region’s stakeholders were challenged to formulate industry roadmaps to create more high productivity jobs which are vital to reduce poverty, speed up rehabilitation efforts, and transform the regional economy,” Undersecretary Rodolfo said.  (END)