Investment pledges increase to record-high P84 billion

Investment commitments in the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) surged 38.20 times to over P84 billion in the first ten months of 2014 from just P2.199 billion a year ago, as more foreign and domestic companies decided to locate in the area.

The Authority attracted 17 new business projects worth P84,274,679,066.

These investment pledges include the establishment of business process outsourcing (BPO) and information technology related firms, a footwear manufacturing company, a distillery business and a bulk terminal operator, among others. Notable companies include BPO firm Grand Innovasia Concept Corp. (GICC), Perpetual Prime Manufacturing Inc. (PPMI) and Seasia Nectar Port Services Inc. (SNPSI).

GICC is currently developing an IT Technopark for BPO Online/ Interactive gaming activities. The BPO firm will hold a ground breaking ceremony for the complex on December 16.

PPMI will manufacture high-end shoes at the FAB. To date, PPMI already started its manpower pooling in coordination with the AFAB Labor Center.

SNPSI, on the other hand, will engage in bulk terminal operations. The company will specifically deal with the handling of containers, bulk liquid and dry cargoes, refrigerated warehousing facilities, stevedoring, lightering, towing and/or storing of cargo. The presence of SNPSI will help in attracting more investors to locate at the FAB as costs of shipment will be reduced.

The newly approved companies are expected to generate at least 5,000 jobs. With the surge in investments, more jobs were opened in the FAB. The freeport workers are now 19,379 as of November this year compared to the 17,490 employees recorded in the same period last year. 

Meanwhile, export earnings of locators in the FAB stood at $348, 797, 945.76 as of November 27. The data, however, slid by 13.33% compared to the $402,421,584.74 total exports reported in the same period last year because of the Manila port congestion.

There are 98 registered and approved locators in the FAB as of June this year. The enterprises include Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese, American, Japanese, British, Bahrainese, French and German businesses.

The FAB is the emerging fashion manufacturing hub of the Philippines as it possesses a budding cluster of companies producing high-end brands of garments, apparel, shoes and accessories, like bags, jewelries, among others. Its vision is to be the Freeport of choice in the country by 2020, becoming a center of trade, innovation and sustainable development in Asia and promoting work-life balance, global competitiveness and environmental protection.

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