In 1972, the Bataan Export Processing Zone (BEPZ) became the first official economic zone in the Philippines (thru Republic Act 5490 of 1969). The BEPZ was one of the most progressive communities in Luzon during its first decade of operation. The area attracted over one hundred multinational locators. Despite the economic activity and growth in the area brought about by the development of Subic and Clark in the 1990s, the development in the BEZ stagnated and then declined rapidly.
To put a halt to the decline of the BEZ and to allow the zone to fulfill its original mandate to become a catalyst for progress and development in the region and to create employment and livelihood opportunities for the people, Congress passed the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) Act (RA 9728), which was enacted into law in October 2009. This Act converted the BEZ into the FAB,a special economic zone and freeport with a dedicated governing authority, the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB).
In a little over a year of administration, the AFAB has brought in major developments in the FAB in terms of infrastructure, employment generation, business facilitation systems and investments.
With its tagline “FUTURE’S ANSWER TO BUSINESS”, the FAB is now positioning itself as a leading investors’ hub in the Asian Region. In 2012, the FAB registered the highest increase in employment generation among Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) after posting the highest growth rate, with PhP 390.6 million worth of investments, expanding by more than four times the PhP 86.0 million approved in 2011.
The AFAB is synergizing its promotions effort with the National Government through the Philippine Investments Promotion Plan (PIPP) to focus on attracting priority sectors that are viable investments in the country. These include Shipbuilding and Repair, Manufacturing, Logistics, Tourism, Energy, BPO and Global Electronics/Semiconductors.