Sunday, November 20, 2016

PEZA wants defense industrial complex in ‘vulnerable areas’

From the Manila Bulletin (Nov 20): PEZA wants defense industrial complex in ‘vulnerable areas’

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) invites foreign investors to develop defense industrial complex in the country, particularly in areas vulnerable to attacks.

PEZA Director General Charito Plaza told reporters that a number of defense industrial complex will be among the new economic zones that will be put up during her administration in the investment promotion agency.

“We have military reservation areas. [It] can be utilized as defense industrial complex,” Plaza said.

She added that the areas of these defense industrial zones will depend on studies that will be undertaken by the Department of National Defense.

Plaza, who is also a brigadier general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Reserve Force, suggests to develop the defense industrial zones in Palawan (facing the Spratly Islands), and in Zambales (facing the Scarborough Shoal) where it can be linked to Olongapo shipyard and Clark where an aircraft manufacturing industry can be created.

The official targets establishing two defense industrial zones in Mindanao.

“Our market is not exclusively open to the U.S.A. We’re inviting Russia, China, Israel, Japan, and everybody that has the defense industries that they can locate here,” the new PEZA chief said.

Since PEZA gives incentives to export-oriented enterprises, majority of the defense equipment that will be manufactured in the country will be exported.

“It’s for exports, but we might come up with an agreement that instead of leasing the land, they can pay us in terms of equipment,” Plaza noted.

“It’s not just the transfer of technology, but we’ll be able to modernize the Armed Forces [of the Philippines] and the people,” she added.

The government has the same facility in Limay, Bataan.

The 370-hectare DND Arsenal operates to design, manufacture, procure, and allocate weaponry and ammunition for the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

According to Plaza, she already discussed this plan to President Rodrigo Duterte.

“He’s very excited that we’ll have our own [defense] industrial complex so we can modernize and equip our own police,” Plaza said.

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