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Camarines Norte to welcome SEZ

By Rosalita Manlangit

THE provincial government of Camarines Norte Cam is actively advancing a ground-breaking initiative to operationalize its special economic zone (SEZ) in Jose Panganiban, a project born from Proclamation 508 during Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s presidency.

Spanning 230 hectares, this SEZ houses the Larap Integrated Development Project (LIDP) by Penson & Company Inc., an ambitious P2.2-billion endeavor geared towards transforming the region into a model community and urban hub within the Bicol area.

The Larap Integrated Development Project (LIDP) is a joint project between Penson and Company, Inc. and its partners – Hanin, Phenix Garuda and Tradetek for the Municipality of Jose Panganiban, Province of Camarines Norte, and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), with one goal, and that is developing the area as the model community and the Jewel of Urban Development in the Bicol region.

LIDP comprises pivotal zones such as the Airport Zone, Aero Entertainment Park, Town Center, and Industrial Zone.

With an eye on the 9.9 percent upward trajectory in gross value added in the industry sector from 2018-2022, the project aspires to significantly augment the province’s industry sector, constituting 36.12 percent or approximately P21.72 billion of the local economy.

Assistant Provincial Planning Development Officer Teodoro L. Licarte revealed that meticulous steps are underway, including land titling for LDIP, fortifying utilities like water and electric power, and optimizing the transportation system with a central terminal installation. Licarte affirmed keen interest from prospective investors, signalling a positive outlook for the project.

In tandem, the services sector, commanding a leading 44.4 percent share or roughly P26.75 billion in the province’s economy, has witnessed a commendable 10.5 percent surge in gross value added from 2018-2022. Forecasts anticipate further growth with the realization of industrial development in the province.

Teasing out the highest growth rates, Licarte pinpointed transportation and storage at 32.2 percent, accommodation and food service activities at 18 percent, and construction at 16 percent. These gains are attributed to the burgeoning tourism industry in the province.

With the LDIP poised to materialize, Licarte projects a notable 5.5 percent upward trend impact, underlining the potential for a transformative economic landscape in Camarines Norte.

The Municipality of Jose Panganiban is strategically positioned in the north-eastern corner of the Bicol region. This region has been identified as the new growth driver of the national economy more so with the thrust of developing the country’s eastern seaboard in general and the pronouncement by the national leadership for development of the Benham Rise fisheries area. On tourism, proximate to Jose Panganiban are two of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the Philippines, the Calaguas and Caramoan group of pristine islands, with white sand beaches comparable to the popular Boracay Island in Caticlan, Aklan.

This initiative of Penson and Company, Inc. (P&CI) to proceed with the Larap Integrated Development Project (LIDP) is focused on the fishery and tourism conditions while establishing solid foundation for an organized and sustainable development that satisfies both corporate and social benefits in the long term.

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