Government-owned Batangas State University launched on Monday, July 20, what is touted as the country’s first Knowledge, Innovation and Science Technology (KIST) Park.
The KIST Park is a 2.7-hectare, state-of-the-art facility in Brgy. Alangilan, Batangas City where qualified business entities can apply as locators. It is also open to potential locators who can offer programs for knowledge sharing, collaborative research, mentoring, and hosting of challenge labs for BatStateU students and faculty members.
Schools officials as well as guests from the private and public sectors participated in the virtual unveiling. The event also highlighted the presentation of deputy executive secretary McJill Bryant Fernandez of Presidential Proclamation No. 947 designating the KIST Park as a special economic zone.
Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) director-general Charito Plaza also presented the school its Certificate of Registration. In her message, Plaza underscored the agency’s goal of propagating different types of economic zones nationwide especially in the countryside. “We want to spread not just investments [but also] jobs, technology, and attain total development for the country,” she said.
In his keynote address, Department of Trade and Industry secretary Ramon Lopez cited BatStateU as a key partner of the government in fostering industry-academe linkages, knowledge and technology transfer, and promoting the commercialization of innovations.
“The KIST Park will help catalyze industrial productivity and increase the economic growth of Calabarzon. This strong collaboration between government, industry, and academe is central to our inclusive innovation industrial strategy,” Lopez said.
The online launch was also was graced by DOST secretary Fortunato dela Peña, Batangas governor Hermilando Mandanas, and Batangas City mayor Beverley Dimacuha. Representing the private sector were SEIPI president Dan Lachica and IBPAP chief executive Rey Untal.
According to PEZA, the KIST Park is the latest to join the list of 73 new ecozones created from October 2016 to June 2020, generating a total investment of P88.3 billion. The bulk or 52 percent of the new ecozones were information technology (IT) centers, 10 manufacturing ecozones, nine IT parks, one agro-industrial economic zone, and one medical tourism center.
For this year alone, PEZA said Pres. Rodrigo Duterte signed 12 proclamations for new PEZA ecozones, including the country’s first KIST Park in Batangas State University. “Being a KIST Park will now enable Batangas State University to partner with foreign schools to bring their programs so we can create more skilled Filipinos as we embark on transforming our workforce to become multi-skilled, multi-knowledge and world class,” Plaza said.
PEZA said it has been pursuing KIST parks as a new type of ecozone that aims to create stronger linkage between industries and the academe to develop the country’s human resources. “PEZA is spreading the creation of different types of ecozones like the KIST Park nationwide, especially to the countryside. This is by the virtue of the Administrative Order No. 18 and in support of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program,” Plaza said.
“Through the KIST and skills training programs, we can spread not just investments but also employment, technology and skills to attain the total development of the Philippines,” she added.
Meanwhile, Plaza said 63 applications for new ecozones are waiting for Duterte’s signature. “Once signed, these will bring in export companies to the Philippines. PEZA’s different types of economic zones are built or proclaimed in accordance to the land available and efficiency and environmental factors in the location,” she said. – with Kris Crismundo (PNA)