Category : Press Release
Date : September 04, 2017
Agency : Cagayan Economic Zone Authority
Title : Lambino seeks new dev’t plan with proposed expanded CEZA
Article : The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) is updating its 20-year old master development plan for the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP) amid a strong demand by foreign investors looking for larger tracks of land for development.

Secretary Raul L. Lambino, CEZA administrator and chief executive officer, revealed that CEZA is all set to inaugurate its maiden flight late this year between Macau and Lallo, Cagayan via the Cagayan North International Airport (CNIA), with a brand new runway that can accommodate Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s.

The airport, a joint venture between CEZA and Cagayan Land, is a 45-minute drive to Santa Ana town where Port Irene is expected to undergo dredging and other upgrades to position it into a major international cargo seaport and cruise ship terminal.

“With this modernized airport facility, the interconnection between the Freeport and the biggest ports and markets of East Asia and the South Pacific is now possible,” Lambino said.

“We are anticipating a lot of economic activity. That’s why I have called for a review of the master development plan,” he said.

Land expansion and development would be a logical next step for CEZA, Lambino said as he initiated the proposed creation of the Greater Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (GCSEZFP). All 22 municipalities in Cagayan’s two congressional districts would be included in the proposed GCSEZFP.

Lambino said he hoped to secure support for the expanded special economic zone from the province’s local and congressional leaders, adding that the inclusion of Lallo, among others, would correct a mistake that was overlooked in the past.

“It is illogical that the airport is located in a town that is not part of the CEZA zone,” he said.
Meanwhile, CEZA’s new projects include the development of the 10,000-hectare Fuga Island off Aparri town, strategically located at the crossroads of international shipping routes to the lucrative markets of China, Hongkong, Taipei and Japan.

The wooded island with flat and undulating terrain is envisioned to be a private sanctuary like Hong Kong as a free-trade zone, Macau as a gaming and leisure hub, Bermuda and the Bahamas as investment enclaves, and the world-famous Maldives, Bora Bora, Waikiki and Bali as vacation getaways.

“Fuga island would easily lure tourists to its pristine coastline and powdery white sand beaches and excellent dive sites,” said Lambino, who is also looking at its neighboring island of Barit, a 500-hectare enclave, as site for a cruise ship destination.

Two major foreign firms, one in Asia and the other in the Middle East, have already expressed interest, Lambino said, in drawing up the new master development plan that could eventually make the GCSEZFP a catalyst for the rapid development of Northern Luzon.

Among the new infrastructure projects in the front burner of the Freeport planners are an inter-modal rail facility and expressway that would link the airport in Lallo to Port Irene in Santa Ana.

Other plans include transforming Palaui island into an eco-tourism paradise, construction of a 300-hectare smart city and cyber-park and a 600-hectare industrial park, development of a 30-kilometer white-sand beach featuring a marina, a yacht club and a fish market, and a 72-hole all-weather, world-class golf course.

“CEZA used to be associated with offshore gaming and imported used cars,” Lambino said. “Our new positioning is that it will be a growth center for Northern Luzon, a magnet for investors and a mecca for job seekers.”

Lambino said CEZA is positioned to ride the wave of a projected economic boom, triggered by the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure development program.

The Cabinet economic cluster plans to pour some P8 trillion to P9 trillion in five years into the building of new expressways, bridges, railways, airports and seaports and big-ticket projects in power and telecommunication.