MARIVELES, BATAAN — The Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) will mark the fifth anniversary of the passage of Republic Act (RA) 9728, the law that created the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) and the AFAB, and celebrate its success with the conduct of various programs for its locators and key stakeholders in October.
“This year, we are not just celebrating the passage of RA 9728, but we are also acknowledging the achievements and the success of the AFAB over the last five years.
The Authority will not succeed without the help of our locators and stakeholders, thus this year’s anniversary celebration will serve as our way to thank them,” AFAB Chairman and Administrator Deogracias G.P. Custodio the local press here.
As part of the anniversary celebration, the AFAB prepared four major events that involve the participation of all stakeholders and locators in the freeport. One of the highlights of the month-long celebration is the Stakeholders’ Night, where the Authority is set to honor locators and key institutions and individuals who help made the FAB the fastest growing freeport that it is today.
FAB locators, collegiate schools, including the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and Sofnet Information Technology Center, and local government units were also invited to join the FAB Sportsfest. Events in this league are basketball, volleyball and chess.
Meanwhile, to give back to the community, the AFAB will conduct a two-day livelihood training seminar for Mariveles residents. Crash courses on fish and meat processing and novelty item making will be held at Barangays San Carlos and Alas-asin.
Moreover, a photo essay competition will be conducted to feature the developments in the Freeport.
“I hope that our locators and stakeholders will enjoy this year’s celebration. The Authority is expecting their full participation in the events,” Chairman Custodio noted.
FAB at Five: A Glimpse of FAB’s success
Due to the sudden surge in its foreign direct investments, the FAB has been recognized as the fastest growing Freeport in the country by the National Statistics Coordination Board in 2012 and 2013.
“Since the Authority took over operations from the Bataan Export Processing Zone, it was able to increase the number of locators by nearly 236%, from 39 in 2010 to 92 in August this year. The AFAB is also luring more foreign investments. These are among the reasons why the FAB was tagged as the fastest growing freeport in the country,” Chairman Custodio said.
This year, the FAB is also on track to becoming the fastest growing freeport anew. The Authority generated nearly P 83,958,505,566.00 worth of investments in the first half of 2014, over 138,000 percent higher compared to the P 60,550,00.00 pledges that it recorded in the same period last year.
With the continuous increase in local and foreign investments, thousands of jobs were also opened in the Freeport. From the 12,777 Freeport employees in 2010, the year when the AFAB took over operations, the employment data increased to 18,543 in August this year.
Today, the FAB is known as one of the leading manufacturing hubs in the country. It possesses a budding cluster of companies producing high-end brands of garments, apparel, shoes and accessories, like bags, jewelries, among others.
DTI Undersecretary for the Trade and Investment Promotions Group Ponciano Manalo Jr. recently expressed confidence that the local supply chain and labor force competencies in the FAB are already established.
“This record-high investment pledges and noteworthy recognition proved that the Authority works hard to contribute to the growth of the local economy and generate more jobs for the people on the ground,” Chairman Custodio said.
“We assure the national government and the locals in Bataan that we will continue to bring more investments in the region and make sure that the economic growth is felt by the people,” he added.