from Manila Standard Today:
Aurora named new economic zone
By Ferdz G. Domingo
CASIGURAN, Auroraâ€”President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has signed into a law Republic Act 9490 making Aurora province a special economic zone, Gov. Bellaflor Angara Castillo announced yesterday.
The new law, establishing the Aurora Special Economic Zone and Freeport Authority, is expected to spur trade and investment in the province which is considered one of the most depressed in the country.
The freeport will cover 500 hectares in this town and marks the end of nine years of congressional lobbying for its passage. The law would have become a law in 1998 but it was vetoed by then President Fidel V. Ramos, 10 days before he stepped down from power.
Angara said the passage of the measure will trigger economic growth not only in the province but in adjoining provinces and would make the eastern Luzon seaboard an investment haven.
She said the provincial government has already set in place the construction of national and provincial roads to lay the infrastructure requirements for an investments haven.
These include the Ma. Aurora-Dipaculao, Suklayin-Calabuanan, Casiguran-Dilasag, Dingalan-Umiray, Baler-Cemento and San Luis provincial roads and the Baler-Dipaculao-Dinalungan-Casiguran and San Luis-Ma. Aurora-Canili-Pantabangan national roads.
Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, for his part, said the new law will greatly help in reducing poverty in the province.
The law aims to develop the province into a self-sustaining industrial, commercial and financial investment and tourism center that will generate jobs.
The economic zone will cover Barangays Esteves, Divet and Dibacong in this costal town from the original proposed location in Baler.
The economic zone authority will be under the control of the President and will operate for a period 50 years with an authorized capital stock of P2 billion.
The measure grants tax exemptions for business establishments as provided under the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995 and the Omnibus Investments Code of 1987.