The Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) seeks to attract more digital-based businesses in the economic zone.
Newly-appointed AFAB Administrator Hussein Pangandaman recently visited Singapore to meet with potential investors and partners in the technology sector.
Pangandaman was accompanied by Bataan 2nd District Representative Albert Raymond “Abet” Garcia, who is also the author of the law that amended the AFAB charter in 2019. The law expanded the scope of activities and incentives for locators in the Freeport, especially those engaged in digital innovation and services.
One of their meetings was with Plug-and-Play, a global venture capital firm that connects startups with corporations and governments. The firm’s co-founder, Jojo Flores, is a Filipino who has been based in Silicon Valley for over two decades. Flores expressed interest in working with AFAB to link the Freeport with technology companies around the world.
Pangandaman and Garcia also visited Google’s regional headquarters and met with Margarita Locsin-Chan of the Philippine Chamber in Singapore. They also spoke with Carla Grepo, Commercial Counselor at the Philippine Trade and Investment Center, about promoting the Freeport to more prospective locators in the Lion City.
Pangandaman said their trip to Singapore indicated the Freeport is open for business in a bigger way now. He said the pandemic is behind them and they can focus on what the new charter enables them to do: reach out to more locators and partners in the digital space.
He also credited President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for signing the law that amended the AFAB charter, saying it signaled the start of a digital revolution in Bataan. He said the Freeport is inviting investors to build digital products and services in Bataan.
Rep. Garcia, meanwhile, highlighted the developments in the province, such as the soon-to-be-constructed Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge Project that will span Manila Bay. He said the bridge will make the Freeport more accessible to domestic and foreign markets and talents.
He also thanked Ramon Garcia, Executive Chairman and Founder of the DFNN Group, which has FAB-registered companies in its portfolio. Ramon Garcia organized the discussions with Plug-and-Play and facilitated the introduction to Google and other contacts in Singapore.
The AFAB delegation plans to visit other countries in Asia and beyond to spread the word about the Freeport’s new opportunities and advantages for digital-based locators. Pangandaman said they are confident that they can attract more investors and partners who share their vision of making Bataan a hub of digital innovation and excellence. (MHIKE CIGARAL)