Bataan freeport aspires to grow medical tourism industry

INVESTORS in medical tourism must take a closer look at the inherent potentials of the Freeport Area of Bataan, probably one of the most suitable economic zones in the world for growing a business, an official said Friday.

“Healthcare presents an opportunity for ecozones like the FAB where the medical tourism angle can be built on,” said Emmanuel Pineda, chairman of the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB).

“Given the sizable bulk of healthcare costs on account of rehabilitation and not just operation, the latter can be done in Manila but the rehabilitation can be done in the FAB,” Pineda noted.

The freeport area is endowed not only with clean and beautiful beaches, but the cost of doing business is lower, according to the AFAB official.

While medical tourism is a young industry in the Philippines, the potential is huge for related businesses.
“Foreign firms can also manufacture healthcare equipment in the FAB,” Pineda said.

With many leading hospitals in the country accredited by the Joint Commission International and certified by the International Organization for Standardization, the Philippines is turning out as one of Asia’s most advanced nations in the field of healthcare.

The AFAB and the Provincial Government of Bataan are now preparing for the first hospital in the freeport to start commercial operations, with state-of-the-art equipment donated by the GN Power Mariveles Coal Plant Ltd. Co. and the Philippine Minnesotan Medical Association. The Mariveles Hospital will basically serve the needs of potential and existing investors.

The ecozone is also an emerging manufacturing hub for the fashion industry, with a budding number of companies producing garments, apparel, shoes, bags and jewelries for global brands.

Its vision is to be the freeport of choice by 2020, and become a center of trade, innovation and sustainable development in Asia by promoting work-life balance, global competitiveness and environmental protection.


Written by

Raadee S. Sausa, The Manila Times