PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — Rep. Ronald Singson of the province’s first district has filed a bill seeking to convert the Salomague cove in northern Ilocos Sur into a special economic zone and free port.
In filing House Bill 1534, the first-term congressman said the Salomague cove is an ideal site for a free port because of its proximity to Hong Hong, Taiwan and Japan.
“Salomague cove is a natural harbor and haven for international ships during inclement weather. There is a channel that hugs the semi-circular shoreline that is appropriate for marine vessel traffic and is probably the only [Philippine big] port closest to Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. It is large, that it can accommodate dozens of vessels at any one time,” Singson said.
The congressman said the Salomague cove includes Barangays Dardarat, Solotsolot, Surngit and Refaro in the town of San Juan and Barangays Dardarat, Sagayaden and Salomague in Cabugao.
“The bill does away with an authority-type of office to run the free port but directly tasks a governing body composed of town mayors in the localities involved and the private sectors to do the job,” Singson said.
“Salomague Freeport should be operated as a separate customs territory that will basically provide incentives to ensure the free flow and movement of goods and commodities within the free port area and their exploration,” he added.
“The concept and objective is to develop the free port area into a self-sustaining industrial, commercial and investment center. On the whole, it is looking at effectively complementing an aggressive export-oriented thrust, thus enhancing the country’s global competitiveness,” the congressman said.
“It shall provide tax-based incentives for business activities and concerns locating and operating within [Salomague], not to mention other non-tax benefits like liberal exchange policies and the grant of permanent resident status to investors,” Singson said.
He said the bill would follow through the efforts of his father, former Gov. Luis Singson, to promote the area among investors, particularly Chinese businessmen.