Various sectors back Sarangani Ecozone bill
Kiamba, Sarangani (2 October) -- Key sectors in Sarangani province have recently endorsed the enactment of House Bill 5877 creating the Sarangani Maasim-Kiamba-Maitum Industrial Triangle Special Economic Zone Authority (SMITSEZA).
In a public hearing held for the SMITSEZA bill last month, representatives from the government, private sector, indigenous people (IP), and Muslims voiced out support to SMITSEZA, saying the proposed establishment of an economic zone in Sarangani will help accelerate economic growth and alleviate poverty in the province.
The consultation meeting was held on 3 September at the Kiamba Civic Center. The meeting served as a venue to gather inputs from the different sectors who will be affected once HB 5877 is passed.
Benjamin Donato, of the indigenous people (IP), expressed their dream of uplifting their people above the poverty threshold and their concern on representation in the SMITSEZA.
Muslim sector representative Jocelyn Lambac-Kanda said that the new economic zone would help to answer the challenge of eradicating poverty and provide opportunities for livelihood and education for Muslim communities in the area.
Mr. Alfredo Hebrona, president of the Sarangani Chamber of Commerce, said that it will be the first time that a special economic zone is institutionalized in the province.
He also said that the establishment of the MAKIMA-IT will serve as the region's window to the world and a gateway to progress for the nation.
Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana Sr., chair of the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) said that the enactment of the bill will promote a self-sustaining industry in the Sarangani province and open up new job opportunities to boost income generation in Mindanao.
"The establishment of a special economic zone will help accelerate the transformation of Mindanao into a self sustaining economy," Leyretana said.
Authored by Sarangani Congressman Erwin Chiongbian, the bill pushes for the creation of the Maasim-Kiamba-Maitum Industrial Triangle (MAKIMA-IT) Special Economic Zone to spur economic development not only in the MAKIMA municipalities but also in the entire province and within the region.
The bill also aims to enhance connections among the MAKIMA municipalities, Sarangani province, regional and national government agencies and private enterprises. New international linkages will be opened as well to draw global interests and foreign investments to the Sarangani Province.
Representatives from the youth sector, religious sector, T'Boli community, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Provincial Philippine National Police were also present during the public hearing. (MEDCo) [top]