21 December 2020, BOI Building, Makati City


Ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat.

Today marks a very important day for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Board of Investments (BOI), and the leaders of the Province of Leyte and the other provinces of Eastern Visayas.

Together with the private sector, headed by the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (PASAR), we are launching the Master Development Planfor the establishment and development of the first ecological zone in the Philippines. To be established in Leyte, the Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone (or LEIZ) will embrace the virtue of circular economy and green economy development.

The completion of the Copper Industry Roadmap in 2012 — a triumvirate partnership of the government, private sector, and academe — has paved the way to realize a downstream copper industry in the Philippines.

Given our country’s vast copper deposits amounting to an estimated 1.14B metric tons, we envision a fully integrated Philippine copper industry by the year 2030 through the development of a wire rod casting facility and higher value copper products as explained by Undersecretary Perry and on the preparation of the masterplan, I would like to also thank Architect Jun Palafox for being a strong part and contributed to the preparation of the LEIZ masterplan.

In support of these goals, the LEIZ Master Plan lay outs the development of a Zone that will establish different light and heavy industries to boost economic activities in Leyte as well as the nearby provinces of Easter Visayas. More importantly, the LEIZ Master Plan will provide needed jobs and livelihood to the communities of these provinces.

The plan has three development clusters, namely: (1) LEIZ CORE, the manufacturing hub and the primary focus of the Master Plan; (2) LEIZ NORTH as a commercial and agro-industrial hub; and (3) LEIZ SOUTH for agro-industrial development and training facilities. These three sites will complement each other and provide the needed raw materials, products, services, and manpower that the other development cluster needs.

As we adjust to the “New Normal” and as our economy recovers, we need to prepare for the post-COVID future that is driven by digitalization and green technologies. We expect these technologies to accelerate a New Age of Copper in the Philippines as the industries that will produce electric vehicles, 5G networks, and solar power energy will all require large amounts of copper.

Presently, the electric vehicles industry makes up just 1% of copper demand. By 2030, many analysts expect that figure to reach 10%.  Likewise, clean energy and digitalization programs are expected to push average annual growth demand for copper up by 2.5% this decade. This would likely drive consumption toward 30M tons by 2030.

Thus, as we revive the national economy amidst this health crisis, the LEIZ Master Plan is timely and complements the government’s other programs. These include the Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa Program and our economic recovery plan, ReBUILD PH, or “Revitalizing Businesses, Investments, Livelihoods and Domestic Demand.” In both cases, these programs would promote the regional spread of economic activities that would help in our country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We hope therefore that all stakeholders can fully support the Philippines’ burgeoning copper industry through the LEIZ. After all, the creation of more jobs and employment in the countryside will ensure that the Philippines will have a more inclusive post-COVID future as our people attain a better and more comfortable quality of life as promised by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay tayong lahat.

Date of Release: 21 December 2020