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Bataan eyes ‘special defense zone’

BALANGA CITY, Bataan—Bataan second district Rep. Joet Garcia plans to convert the 370-hectare government arsenal industrial estate in the upland section of Barangay Lamao in Limay town into a Special Economic Defense Zone.

Garcia filed House Bill No. 4462, that would convert the government arsenal located at Camp Gen. Antonio Luna in Limay—and create a Special Economic Defense Zone Authority to oversee the property.

Creating the proposed SpEDZA would make the area “accessible for inclusive business prospects and progress in firearm module and technical competency of the government arsenal,” which are vital in supporting the objectives of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies, the lawmaker said.

Operating this economic zone in the Bataan peninsula “would accelerate the inflow of top-notch material on advanced weaponry system, as well as the acquisition of sophisticated technology in armament production features,” Garcia said.

He stressed the potential economic impact of the Defense Economic Zone project, “which would be the only one of its kind in Asia in terms of promoting indigenous capability in the manufacture of defense armaments.”

Retired major general Jonathan Martir said the government arsenal produces only small arms (pistol) ammunition, and its present state’s capability reflects how long the arsenal has been neglected.

“Relying too much on our allies for our defense needs is certainly not a sound decision, as it could indeed bring false hope if not totally disaster because it could lead us to becoming a totally defenseless nation,” Martir said.

Under Republic Act 7898 or the AFP Modernization Act, the government arsenal should be modernized “for the development of production capabilities to enhance self-sufficiency in defense requirements,” the retired general said.

Section 12 of the law mandates that the government arsenal “shall be utilized in the production of basic weapons, ammunition and other munitions for the use of AFP and PNP, and for the sale and export of products in excess of their requirements.”

Topics: Bataan , Rep. Joet Garcia , Special Economic Defense Zone
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