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Philippines looks to turn military land into industrial hubs

The Philippines is pursuing plans to transform military-owned land into ‘defence-industrial complexes’ at which foreign companies will be encouraged to invest in facilities to build and support military equipment for the Philippine Armed Forces (AFP).

One of the initial complexes is expected to be developed on land owned by the Philippine Army (PA), which discussed the project with the government’s Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) – an agency under the Department of Trade and Industry – on 16 March.

The official Philippine Information Agency (PIA) said, citing the Commanding General of the PA Lieutenant General Jose Faustino, that the project will “maximise the revenue potential” of AFP “to support its modernisation programme”.

The director general of PEZA, Charito Plaza, was quoted by the PIA as saying that the PA manages “almost 20,000 hectares of military reservation areas and we are now planning to make this the first defence-industrial complex in the country”.

She said that the PEZA is currently exploring the establishment of several complexes in “selected military reservation areas across the country”, adding that foreign investors and defence firms will be invited to manufacture equipment in the country for the AFP and law enforcement agencies.

Under the plan, investors can apply for a list of tax and financial incentives if they channel investment in the complexes. The effort is in part intended to boost the national economy in light of constraints stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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