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PIA Press Release

Leyte, 6 other geothermal-producing provinces designated as special economic zones

Tacloban City (September 13) -- Leyte is one of the seven geothermal producing provinces recently designated by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as special economic zones.

The other provinces listed in the Executive Order signed by President Arroyo on September 10 are Laguna, Albay and Sorsogon in Luzon, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental in the Visayas, and North Cotabato in Mindanao.

In a move to attract investors, accelerate the development of the country's geothermal resources and bring down power costs, these provinces were all directed under the EO to develop the economic zones immediately.

President Arroyo identified as potential sources of geothermal power in the designated economic zones are Tongonan, which borders Ormoc and Kananga in Leyte; Tiwi in Albay; MakBan, which borders Makiling and Banahaw in Laguna; Palinpinon in Valencia, Negros Oriental; BacMan, which borders Bacon and Manito in Sorsogon and Albay, respectively; Mt. Apo in the border of Kidapawan, North Cotabato; and Murcia in Negros Occidental.

In signing the EO, she pointed out that the Philippines has one of the highest industrial power rates in Southeast Asia.

Since majority of the biggest power consumers are industrial locators in economic zones, there is a compelling need for a more reliable, economical, competitive, and efficient power supply to provide quality electricity to power-sensitive industrial locators in the economic zones and to encourage future locators," the still unnumbered EO stated.

Furthermore, the EO pronounced that declaring certain areas adjacent to these geothermal-producing sites as economic zones will provide alternative locations for investors.

The President ordered the respective local government units in areas near or adjacent to the geothermal producing sites to develop economic zones in coordination with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

Under the presidential directive, the PEZA shall assist the local government units (LGUs) concerned in the creation and development of the economic zones.

The EO is part of the government's thrust of adopting measures that would give open access to private and publicly-owned economic zones in sourcing their power with the end in view of lowering the power cost in the economic zones and to promote competitiveness. (PIA 8) [top]

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