MARIVELES, Bataan – Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) Chairman Emmanuel D.Pineda said that the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) is one of the best zones in the country for the development of the healthcare industry.
Chairman Pineda made the statement following recent news that medical tourism is poised to continue growing globally in the next few years. “Healthcare presents an opportunity for eco-zones like the FAB where the medical tourism angle can be built on,” he said.
“In particular, given a sizable bulk of healthcare costs account to rehabilitation and not just operation, the latter can be done in Manila but the rehabilitation can be done in the FAB,” the chairman added, noting that the freeport’s nice beaches, clean air and lower costs would be attractive for the foreign market “Foreign firms can also manufacture healthcare equipment in the FAB,” he stressed.
The FAB’s administrator believes that although the Philippines’ medical tourism is still a growing industry, the country can attract foreign investors engaged in health-related businesses. The Philippines is recognized as one of Asia’s most advanced nations in the field of healthcare, with many leading hospitals in the country already accredited by the Joint Commission International and certified by the International Organization for Standardization.
The Philippines has become a significant figure in this industry in the last few years. The most recent projection is that the Philippine medical tourism industry will become more than a $3-billion industry by 2017, with an average of around 200,000 foreign patients expected to come to the Philippines every year.
Meanwhile, the AFAB, in coordination with the Provincial Government of Bataan, is currently preparing for the operation of the first hospital in the freeport. The hospital already has high-end medical equipment donated by the GN Power Mariveles Coal Plant Ltd. Co. and Philippine Minnesotan Medical Association.
The first Mariveles Hospital will ensure that the medical needs and requirements of potential and existing investors in the FAB will be attended to.
The FAB is the emerging fashion manufacturing hub of the Philippines, as it possesses a budding cluster of companies producing high-end brands of garments, apparel, shoes and accessories, like bags, jewelries, among others. Its vision is to be the Freeport of choice in the country by 2020, becoming a center of trade, innovation and sustainable development in Asia and promoting work-life balance, global competitiveness and environmental protection.