Tingog Party List is pushing for the industrialization of Eastern Visayas, saying this is the only way to generate more jobs and uplift the region from poverty.
“We need more productive jobs in the region. This means getting our industrialization policy back on track. But we need an industrialization policy that is both responsive to our current needs and attentive to our ecological realities,” said Philip Jude Acidre, the second nominee of Tingog.
“Tingog is committed to support the expansion of Leyte Industrial Development Estate (LIDE) into the proposed Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone (LEIZ), an integrated special economic zone that covers the municipalities of Palompon and Isabel and Ormoc City,” Acidre added.
Established in 1980s, LIDE was among the first special economic zones in the Philippines and the centerpiece of the country’s industrialization plan.
LIDE is home to Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (Pasar), a copper smelting and refinery plant; Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Corporation (Philphos), once the largest fertilizer production and processing plant in the country; and Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company, then a strong player in the minerals industry.
Lepanto has since then ceased operations while Philphos has yet to resume full operations after the Super Typhoon Yolanda. Meanwhile, Pasar is operating at half the capacity it did before the typhoon.
According to Acidre, no additional industrial locators have moved into the industrial estate.
“There were no initiatives to attract new locators or even upgrade the facilities located at LIDE. Despite the decline in manufacturing activities in LIDE, the economic benefits that came with the industries remain,” Acidre said.
Acidre added that despite the modest gains, it cannot be denied that objectives that were envisioned for LIDE were not fully realized.
“Almost three decades after, we have yet realize our vision of a competitive regional economy. That is why we need not only to bring more industrial locators to LIDE, but also engage with light-to-medium industries that could benefit from the infrastructure that is already in place,” Acidre said on the rationale of LEIZ.
“Did you know that the total copper output of Pasar is more than half our country’s entire copper industry output – which we can even double if we develop further our copper industry’s downstream? Did you know that one of the by- products of copper processing is gold and silver – which can lead to the development of a local jewelry industry?” Acidre asked.