Ferdz Brizo | FB EYE

Catanduanes State University (CatSU) has put forth a visionary proposal to establish an economic zone under the Knowledge Innovations Science and Technology (KIST) framework. This initiative promises to bring significant economic benefits to Virac, the capital town, by attracting substantial investments and fostering economic growth. However, the slow response from the local government unit (LGU) of Virac, led by Mayor Samuel Laynes, threatens to derail this promising project.

The proposed KIST economic zone is designed to serve as a hub for innovation, research, and development. Such zones are instrumental in attracting investments from both local and international businesses. By creating a conducive environment for businesses, the economic zone can stimulate job creation, enhance local skills, and drive overall economic development in Virac. The benefits extend beyond mere financial gains, as the zone would likely foster a culture of innovation and technological advancement, positioning Virac as a key player in the region’s economic landscape.

The realization of the KIST economic zone hinges on the support and proactive engagement of the local government. Unfortunately, the slow action from Mayor Laynes and the local government unit poses a significant hurdle. There are concerns that potential zoning violations might be influencing the mayor’s hesitance. While it is crucial to adhere to zoning laws and regulations, these should not be a barrier to progress but rather a framework within which solutions can be found through dialogue and collaboration.

Vice Mayor Arcilla has shown commendable support for the KIST proposal, attending most meetings and providing constructive suggestions and recommendations. Her positive stance highlights the potential for collaborative governance, where different stakeholders work together towards a common goal. The misunderstanding regarding the approval from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), which has already given its nod to CatSU’s proposal, further underscores the need for clear communication and unified action.

Mayor Laynes and Governor Joseph Cua’s presence at the inauguration and groundbreaking ceremony was a positive gesture, but it must be followed by concrete actions. The importance of professional dialogue between the Sangguniang Bayan, the mayor, and other stakeholders cannot be overstated. These discussions should be focused on resolving issues and aligning efforts, rather than being conducted through social or traditional media, which often exacerbate misunderstandings and political bickering.

To avoid the detrimental effects of inaction, it is imperative for Mayor Laynes and the local government to engage in meaningful dialogue with CatSU headed by President Patrick Alain Azanza and other involved agencies. The benefits of the KIST economic zone are clear, and the risks of delaying its implementation are too great to ignore. By working together, the local government, CatSU, and the community can ensure that Virac capitalizes on this opportunity for economic transformation.

The local government must rise to the occasion, demonstrating leadership and a commitment to the economic welfare of Virac. The establishment of the KIST economic zone is a golden opportunity to boost the local economy, create jobs, and foster innovation. Let us not allow bureaucratic delays and political disagreements to stand in the way of progress. Instead, let us move forward with a shared vision of a prosperous and innovative Virac. (FERDZ M. BRIZO/BICOL PERYODIKO WEEKLY)