Malaya Business Insight – May 28, 2018

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) is seeking the release of P14 billion from the national government to finance key infrastructure projects, including a six-lane expressway that would link the economic  and Freeport zone’s  airport and seaport to other towns in the province.

Raul Lambino, CEZA director-general, told reporters the agency’s board sought congressional approval for the release of the remaining equity investments of the national government into the Freeport.

It has been nearly two decades since the national government gave fundin to CEZA.

The last infusion was between 2009 and 2011 for the establishment of a breakwater in Port Irene at P5.4 billion, Lambino said.

He said CEZA has submitted projects to be funded by the P14 billion balance for next year’s budget.

The six-lane expressway will link the new airport to Port Irene in Santa Ana town and  further from Lal-lo to Tuguegarao City and eventually to the old seaport towns of Aparri and Claveria.

Lambino said  the national government was to supposed to infuse P20 billion into CEZA as its equity when the zone was created. The money would be appropriated every time CEZA would submit projects.

For the expressway, a feasibility study and masterplan are needed to support the release of the funds, including the acquisition of right-of-way by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

According to Lambino, the agency also needs a railway system parallel to the expressway that would integrate the Cagayan North International Airport and Port Irene into a strategic multimodal logistic system.

This would allow for faster and cheaper connectivity of passengers and cargo in and out of the Freeport.

Lambino said the railway would be a government –to-government deal since this requires huge capital and is long gestating.

Several partners aggressive in railway are being considered, Russia, Japan and China.

Without infusion from the national government, Lambino said CEZA has been self-sustaining for years.