CEZA to emerge as bustling growth hub

 By Raadee S. Sausa (The Manila Times)  July 25, 2017

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) will soon become a bustling economic growth center and tourist destination as well as a major transshipment and logistics hub in Northern Luzon, the newly designated CEZA administrator said on Monday.

CEZA Administrator and Chief Executive Officer Raul Lambino added, “As the President’s personal choice, I will lead by example and turn the Cagayan Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) and Freeport into his vision of a vibrant economic growth center that is efficient, clean and free of corruption.”

As he set his priorities on his first day in office, Lambino said he would seek more investors to make the 54,000-hectare plus CSEZ and Freeport a veritable vehicle for industrial, commercial and financial ventures and a favored investment and recreational center in Southeast Asia.

He also identified the repair of Port Irene, including the dredging of its heavily silted seabed, and the construction of additional wharves to expand its capacity and modernization of the North Cagayan International Airport in Lal-lo town as “extremely important to spur development of the zone.”

He added that upgrading the power supply and Internet connectivity would boost the Freeport’s medium-term development plan.

This includes a package of initiatives, among them a railway alignment from Tuguegarao to the town of Lal-lo and to Santa Ana for both commuter and cargo services linking up with the rest of Luzon.

The CSEZ and Freeport, covering the entire towns of Santa Ana, including the island of Fuga, Barit and Mabbag in Appari, Cagayan, sits between the West Coast of North America, the Far East and Southeast Asia, and is just an hour away by plane from Hong Kong, Taipei and Macau and three hours from Tokyo.

Its strategic location at the northern tip of Luzon’s eastern seaboard, along major international shipping routes, could easily make the Freeport a major transshipments and logistics point for trade in the Asia-Pacific Rim, Lambino said.

He would also push for long-term investments that would create more employment opportunities in and around the CSEZ and Freeport, in manufacturing, business processing management, agribusiness, hotel and tourism, industrial parks, retirement village and townships for locators and workers.

Lambino said, he would also seek assistance of the national government to increase power supply connected with the national grid, expand the different connector roads leading to various tourist destinations and tap the private sector in the development of the Freeport’s water supply and sanitation.