Press Release
September 23, 2020


With Central Luzon being ideal as the next hub for major trade and investment due to its strategic location as the gateway to Asia, its accessibility to three international airports, expanding infrastructure facilities, and competitive industrial estates and economic zones, Senator Richard J. Gordon on Tuesday conducted a hearing on the bill seeking to create a regional investment and infrastructure hub in Central Luzon.

Gordon expressed optimism that Senate Bill No. 1549 or the Regional Investment and Infrastructure Coordinating Hub (RICH) of Central Luzon, once signed into law, would serve as an economic engine of growth for the region as well as promote and encourage entrepreneurships and create various jobs and business opportunities for the Filipino people.

"The whole area of Central Luzon will be a mighty place for investment. We could easily give a big contribution to the GDP (Gross National Product) once we generate investment. We revised the bill to give the usual incentive of five percent of the gross and that we will allow the governors and officials of the agencies to look for 200 to 300 hectare areas that they can plan on their own and develop. If this is approved, I am sure we can get the necessary investments in answer to what COVID has destroyed," he said.

RICH aims to optimize the use of available infrastructures, natural resources such as idle land, and human resources to encourage foreign and local investments outside the National Capital Region, thereby dispersing industries to the countryside and decongesting Metro Manila. The bill also provides a mechanism for government to attract Foreign Direct Investments in Central Luzon where there is available land for a manufacturing hub.

In the 17th Congress, Gordon filed SBN 1235 or the "Regional Investment and Infrastructure Corporation of Central Luzon, which later became substitute bill 1997 or the Regional Investment and Infrastructure Hub of Central Luzon. It was passed by both Houses of Congress but President Duterte vetoed the proposed measure.

Gordon pointed out that with investors leaving China following the US-China trade war that erupted and with the Japanese government also providing funds to encourage their manufacturers to shift out of China, an investment hub in Central Luzon would have better chances of getting equal share of investments, along with Vietnam and Indonesia.

He added RICH would also address the urgent need for a clear and concrete strategy and roadmap for decongestion and decentralization of development away from the National Capital Region which came with the stark realization forced by the COVID pandemic that highly congested urbanized communities, especially in the NCR, are extremely vulnerable to epidemics and other social problems.

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