Heading its call of being the primary catalyst and enabler of local industries, the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), the country’s lead industry and investments promotion agency, announced the development of the Masterplan for the Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone (LEIZ) that is envisioned to attract more investors and businesses to locate in Leyte, jumpstarting the revival of economic activities in the area and provide more employment opportunities.

The development of the LEIZ Masterplan is one of the action items under the Copper Industry Roadmap whose objective is to develop a copper industry cluster, preferably in Leyte, which may be supported through the establishment of an ecological industrial zone. Government stakeholders in Region VIII and Leyte expressed their support to this project. As part of Palafox Associates’ work plan, there will be series of consultations with local stakeholders in the formulation of the Master Plan.

The roadmap was crafted by the industry stakeholders themselves back in 2012 with the guidance of the BOI as part of its Industry Development Program. It aims to promote the integrated development and competitiveness of copper and other related industries in the region. It is also part of the government’s continuous rehabilitation efforts in the region after the devastation of typhoon Yolanda.

The establishment of the LEIZ and development of a copper industry cluster in Leyte serves as our medium to long-term strategic economic objective consistent with the agency’s industry development mandate,” Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said. “This is a showcase project for the agency, filling in the value chain gaps and missing links and fully integrating the Philippine copper industry and its allied industries,” he said.

The Master Plan will identify suitable areas in Leyte where copper processing and allied activities may be located taking into consideration existing industrial zones and port facilities. The identification of existing and planned industrial zones will include details on how to develop, promote and optimize these areas.

The plan will also identify the necessary infrastructure needed for these industries to thrive. Once finished, the plan will then be the basis for the preparation of a feasibility study that will be used for investment promotion especially in attracting developers and locators in the region.

Undersecretary Rodolfo also said that industry clustering in the LEIZ is envisioned to bring down the logistics costs and provide steady power supply since Leyte hosts one of the biggest geothermal power plants in the country. He also said that the plan will promote carbon-neutral companies coming in to ensure the conservation and protection of the environment.

The development of the LEIZ Master Plan commenced in January 2019 and is targeted to be completed in February 2020. The Master Plan will be developed by Palafox Associates as consultant. Palafox Associates, a firm whose expertise include architectural design, master planning, urban design of islands, provinces, cities, municipalities and towns, and environmental planning, was awarded as the most responsive bidder following a public bidding conducted by the BOI.

Stakeholders in the copper industry are one in saying that the creation of an ecological industrial zone will ensure that the region and its provinces will directly benefit from it. “Once the LEIZ is in place, it will create many opportunities for micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) to thrive and generate more jobs, bringing in further development to the countryside, aligning with the objective of the BOI’s Investment Priorities Plan (IPP).

The inclusion of MSMEs, innovation-driven activities and inclusive business models in the IPP provides a deliberate shift towards countryside development. It expands the role of Research and Development (R&D), innovation ecosystems and infrastructures in modernizing the economy and creates more income and job opportunities for the lower segments of the population as the BOI gears for more firms to be integrated in the local and global value chains.♦

Date of Release: 31 January 2019

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