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Final plan for new Leyte industrial zone out by April 2020

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TACLOBAN CITY — An urban planning firm is eyeing a final master development plan for the Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone (LEIZ) on April 30, 2020, a blueprint envisioned to attract more investors and businesses to locate in Leyte.

In a presentation to members of the Regional Development Council on Wednesday, representatives of Palafox Associates were optimistic to produce the master plan within the time table after a series of consultations with national and local technical working groups and meetings with the Board of Investments (BOI).

Kelvin Tagnipez, Palafox Associate urban planner and project manager, said the draft master plan will be out by Jan. 31, 2020, and the semi-final draft will be released on March 26, 2020.

“The master plan will identify specific suitable areas in Leyte where copper processing and allied activities may be located. Primary considerations are existing industrial zones and port facilities,” Tagnipez said.

The identification of existing and planned industrial zones will include details on how to develop, promote and optimize these areas.

Last July, the urban planning firm completed the initial integrative analysis, which covered the review of a comprehensive land-use plan, comprehensive development plan, and post – “Yolanda” reconstruction and rehabilitation programs.

“We have also looked into the integration of the collated data and information as the basis for the preparation of the conceptual master plan and development plan,” Tagnipez said.

The firm also completed the conceptual master plan on November 26, which looked into industrial, agro-industrial, infrastructure and utilities, transport linkages, residential areas, commercial districts, and the existence of micro, small, and medium enterprises.

The zone is expected to house potential locators in the field of copper wire rod casting facility, downstream copper industry such as but not limited to copper wire producers, major industrial concerns that need power, and port facilities such as steel, and copper-using industries.

Investments will support the operation of the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp. (Pasar) in Isabel, Leyte with electrolytic copper cathode as the primary product.

Pasar is the country’s only copper smelting and refining firm and one of the biggest in Asia. The firm produces 320,000 metric tons of copper cathodes every year, contributing about 30 percent of the gross regional domestic product.

The firm gets its raw materials abroad and also ships the finished products outside the Philippines, making its operation without an inclusive economic impact in the Eastern Visayas region.

The company is operating within the 425-hectare Leyte Industrial Development Estate in Isabel town.

It is the country’s only copper smelting and refining firm and is one of the biggest in Asia.

The copper cathodes used in the manufacture of electronics they produced are among the top 10 export products of the country.