MARIVELES, Bataan – Mayor Jesse Concepcion has revealed that the operation of the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan(AFAB) makes the local economy vibrant unlike the Philippine Export Zone Authority (PEZA)–run Bataan Economic Zone (BEZ) described as another government “white elephant’ project.
Concepcion portrayed the present situation in the industrial town as “stimulating business climate” wherein the economic activity increases with the entry of hundreds of medium and small enterprises.
The fast growing economic zone, AFAB generates a “domino effect” in the municipality. With the influx of company workers and locators, more commercial buildings , groceries, restaurants and service shops were constructed in the poblacion, about a few meters from the ecozone boundary.
Concepcion explained that although the host town gets only one percent share from AFAB gross revenue, still the booming trade and commerce happening is extremely intense and surprising for the historic Death March starting point.
The AFAB reports show that it has already generated nearly P 83.96 billion in committed investments in the first half of 2014. This is over 138,000 percent higher compared to the pledges that it recorded in the same period last year.
The approved projects include the establishment of a business process outsourcing firm, a luxury handbag manufacturing company, a biofuel production hub, and the development and operation of commercial and tourism estate facilities.
With the surge in investments, more jobs were opened in the FAB. The number of freeport workers increased to 18,387 as of June this year compared to the 13,802 employees recorded in the same period last year.
The 87 registered and approved locators in the FAB as of June this year include Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese, American, Japanese, British, Bahrainese, French and German businesses.
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.