Agro-industry, IT special ecozones to rise in UPLB campus
LOS BAÑOS, Laguna—Two special economic zones (SEZ) dedicated to agro-industry and information technology (IT) would rise on a 70-hectare land at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), making these the first government economic zones within a university property.
The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) and the UPLB recently signed a registration agreement designating a 60-ha land as an agro-industrial park and the remaining 10 ha as an IT park.
The signing, which coincided with UPLB’s 107th founding anniversary celebration recently, ended UPLB’s nine-year application process for a Peza registration.
President Aquino signed in November Presidential Proclamations No. 1164 and No. 1165, paving the way for the declaration of the SEZs in the university.
“We are excited about this [project] since the technology of UPLB can now be marketed from a laboratory scale to large scale,” said UPLB Chancellor Fernando Sanchez in a telephone interview.
He said this could benefit UPLB graduates who could be tapped for immediate employment.
The economic zones would be outside UPLB’s main academic campus, although within the university’s property.
Sanchez said the economic zones would be non-pollutive since these would operate at the foot of Mt. Makiling.
He said three companies have signified interest to do business here.
Investors in food, agriculture and biotechnology related businesses are being eyed for the agro-industrial park, while business process outsourcing companies are potential locators at the IT park.
In a statement, UPLB said the SEZs would sit as part of the Technology Business Incubator and Science and Technology Park, which was established in the 1990s and was funded by the Department of Science and Technology “to accelerate the commercialization of UPLB generated technologies.”
Director Glenn Baticados of the UPLB Center for Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship said the potential partnerships between the university and the private sector “will serve as a platform to share knowledge and expertise in the area of research, teaching, and professional services.”
Aside from leasing out its property, UPLB would also co-manage the SEZs with Peza.
This, Sanchez said, would allow UPLB to “generate its much-needed resources and fulfill its mandate as a National University.” Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon
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