By: Liwayway Yparraguirre  August 16, 2018

MANGALDAN, Pangasinan — Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) Administrator and Chief Executive Officer Raul Lambino, who was recently appointed concurrent Presidential Adviser for Northern Luzon, wants to develop seaports as a mode of transportation of goods and people.

“It is important to develop our seaports as a mode of transportation of goods and people. This is my thrust. This is not to interfere with the usual operation of the agencies of bureaucracy in place but to help the President get accurate information, what the agencies ranging from those in charge of investments; infra-projects; social services; agrarian reform; and others, are doing,” Lambino said in an interview on Thursday.

Lambino said, in his first meeting with regional officials from the four regions, he asked the Philippine Ports Authority to conduct an inventory of the areas where ports can be put up, particularly in Bataan, Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, and Cagayan.

In Cagayan and Isabela, Lambino said, a survey was conducted and they have identified possible port areas.

“It is regrettable that we do not have an economic zone in Pangasinan. I wish our congressmen would sponsor a bill in Congress for the establishment of a Pangasinan Special Economic Zone,” he said.

“It could possibly be in Sual town and will cover Sual, Alaminos City, Bani, Anda, Bolinao or the whole Western Pangasinan, and include the towns of Labrador, Lingayen and Binmaley of the second district,” he added.

He believes that Sual town is an ideal site, as it is where a coal-fired power plant is located.

The South Korean Ambassador, he said, told him about their plan to put up another power plant in Sual.

Lambino also talked to a local company that is willing to put up a big oil depot in Sual.

“Our problem in Pangasinan is, this is not an economic zone. If it were an economic zone, it will be very attractive to investors,” he said.

“I would love to see Pangasinan become an Economic Zone during the term of President Rodrigo Duterte. We can put up an economic zone in the province, if not before the 2019 elections, it will happen after the elections,” Lambino added.

He said a bill relative to the creation of ports had been filed at the House of Representatives. As of August 10, around 150 congressmen co-authored that bill.

Lambino added that he talked with Representative Arthur Yap, chairman of the economic affairs committee, to fast track the hearing of the committee.

At the Senate, the principal author of the counterpart bill will be Senator Aquilino Pimentel III. It will be heard at the committee of Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, he said.

Lambino announced in recent interview here that his new Cabinet position covers provinces from Bulacan to Batanes, or Regions 1, 2, 3 and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

“I would like to think that I’m appointed, more for expediting the social and economic aspects of these regions because Central Luzon is somehow more advanced that the other regions,” he said.

His additional work runs parallel with his role at CEZA.

“At CEZA, I’ve executed radical reforms like that in smuggling, corruption, gambling, human trafficking, and I have come up with some innovative approaches for investors to come in. There are many investors that are not engaged in gaming but are engaged into other businesses that are more sustainable in the long run,” Lambino added. (PNA)