Press Release
March 7, 2006


Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile has filed a bill proposing the establishment of a Southern Palawan Economic Zone and Free Port to encourage the development of an agro-industrial, commercial, tourist, banking, investment and financial center in Palawan and the southern Tagalog region.

In Senate Bill No. 2237, Enrile proposed the creation of a Southern Palawan Economic Zone and Free Port Authority to administer the operation of the special economic zone and free port in accordance with the mandate of Republic Act No. 1916, otherwise known as the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995.

The economic zone and free port shall encompass the municipalities of Bataraza, Brookes Point and Balabac.

The Enrile bill offers a package of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to attract prospective foreign and local investors in order to fully maximize the development possibilities of the province and region as well. Among the incentives and obligations provided by the bill are:

1. Grant of a permanent resident status and visa to any foreign investor who establishes a business within the economic zone and who maintains a capital investment of not less than $150,000. The privilege shall be extended to his or her spouse, dependents and unmarried children below 21 years of age. They will likewise have the freedom of ingress or egress to and from the ecozone without any need for special authorization from the Bureau of Immigration.

2. Working visas renewable every two years shall be issued to foreign executives and foreign technicians with high specialized skills no Filipino possesses, as certified by the Department of Labor and Employment.

3. Fiscal incentives shall be extended to business establishments operating within the zone as provided for under RA 7916, otherwise known as the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995, as amended by RA 8748.

4. Except for real property taxes on land owned by developers, no taxes, local and national, shall be imposed on business establishments operating within the zone.

5. The Southern Palawan ECOZONE shall be operated and managed as a separate customs territory ensuring free flow and movement of goods and capital within, into and exported out of the zone, with tax and duty-free importation of raw materials and capital equipment. However, exportation or removal of goods from the zone to other parts of the Philippine territory shall be subject to customs duties.

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