The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), led by no other than its Head, Sec. Katrina Ponce Enrile, welcomed today in Manila a delegation from the United States (US) as an initiative to further strengthen Philippine-US partnership and an effort to introduce CEZA as a potential investment option that the American business representatives may consider.
The attendees of the US delegation consisted of 14 representatives from US Embassy, led by Col. Edward Evans, and the Business Executives for National Security (BENS), led by its Vice President of Programs, Mr. Patrick Sweeney. BENS is a network of American elite business leaders working together to assist in the national security concerns of the US. Its project areas include expertise on human capital strategy, recruitment and retention, industrial network, environmental resilience, and public-private partnerships.
In her welcome speech, Sec. Enrile noted that the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP) is in a unique position to offer a security and economic gateway to Northern Philippines, as its strategic location and available facilities make it easy to mobilize people, goods and services. For one, she boasted of the seaports – Port Irene and Port San Vicente, and airports – San Vicente Airport and the Cagayan North International Airport (in Lallo), which are all available for utilization in the area. She added that the two proposed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) facilities are located in the sites currently under the administration of CEZA. On this note, she stressed out that strengthening ties with the Philippines’ allies should also help address the geo-political challenges it faces.
Furthermore, Mr. Carlos Miguel Hernandez, CEZA’s Chief of Staff, presented the features of CEZA and the CSEZFP in more details. His presentation delved into an overview of CEZA, its strategic location, area of coverage, the current and promising industries within the CSEZFP and the incentives of investing with CEZA.
Sec. Enrile supplemented this presentation and acknowledged that there is much more to be done by CEZA to realize the development plans of the Marcos administration for the area. She added that CEZA intends to look for allied organizations like BENS to help the government achieve its goals for a more politically stable region through positive economic investments.
Other key officials who joined this activity were CEZA Deputy Administrator Perla Tumaliuan, BENS distinguished delegates – Mr. Peter Dordal, Mr. Roger Shedlin, Mr. John Hurley, Mr. Ramon Marks, Mr. David McDonald, Mr. Steve Darnell, Mr. Rober Akin, Mr. Raj Shah, and representatives from the US Embassy Manila – Ms. Christal Simanski, Mr. Rian Jensen, Mr. Kevin Miles, Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Watchel and Major Dan Han.
The Meet and Greet activity concluded with question and answer portion and socials, which both became chances for the key officials to get to know each others’ organizational portfolios.
The activity became a significant step for CEZA to demonstrate to the US delegates its interest to work together as allies and potential business partners. This effort is in line with CEZA’s mandate to oversee the CSEZFP, and to generate investment and employment opportunities. #