Southeast Asia’s first defense economic zone will soon rise in Bataan province, which is expected to attract foreign investors engaged in arms and ammunition manufacturing.
Bataan Governor Albert Garcia told reporters over the weekend the Government Arsenal, a facility producing ammunition for Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines, would undergo renovation and soon emerge as the first defense economic zone in Southeast Asia.
The facility located in Limay, Bataan will be funded by the government under the AFP Modernization program to update its equipment and accommodate investors such as defense companies.
“It [arsenal] became part of the AFP modernization in that law, [which has] provision that allows it to be a defense economic zone. With that provision that makes them an economic zone. A lot of defense companies are piling up to come in to the area,” said Garcia.
Garcia said funds were coming in for modernization of new equipment and to hire new people to accommodate the requirements of PNP and AFP.
“They provide bullets and small arms for the AFP and PNP. They wanted to make sure that all requirements of the local military and police agency are supplied,” Freeport Area of Bataan head Deogracias Custodio said.
“That’s a very good development again for the province because investments will lead to growth, and when there is growth there are jobs and opportunities,” Garcia said.
The development of the 350-hectare arsenal is awaiting the approval of tax incentives under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority to accommodate prospective defense-manufacturing companies.
Aside from ammunition for the military and police, the arsenal will also produce other defense materials such as backpacks, protective gears and logistics.
Garcia said he was optimistic on exporting goods from the arsenal which at present was managed by the government.
“Hopefully if production exceeds the demand, we would be able to export ammunition and other products,” he said.