Sunday, March 3, 2024

PEZA, DOST sign pact to establish knowledge, sci-tech ecozones

In a bid to strengthen the science, technology, and innovation (STI) initiatives of the country, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have signed an agreement to establish Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST) Ecozones in the country.

PEZA director General Tereso O. Panga and DOST secretary Renato Solidum Jr. signed the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) on the KIST zones last August 3. 

“This is just the beginning of the groundwork that the government is laying and we in PEZA are honored to be part of its foundation,” Panga said. 

 “KIST Parks will play a significant role in increasing R&D infrastructure, fostering collaboration in R&D with foreign partners, facilitating technology transfer, and upskilling our workforce towards innovation. Together with the DOST, we can do a lot to boost our knowledge and technology inputs-outputs towards enhancing our global innovation index ranking,” he added. 

Solidum added that “The KIST Park is envisioned to be a center for technology transfer and commercialization, and a platform to integrate various science, technology, and innovation (STI) initiatives in the regions. [It] will be integral to the creation and growth of startups, spinoffs and S&T-based firms, complementing the efforts on technology business incubation and acceleration. And this is where science and technology, and business will come together.” 

The recent signing is the second phase of the landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by PEZA and DOST in January 2023. The recent JMC aims to accelerate and increase the establishment of KIST economic zones, which shall be located inside higher education institutions (HEIs) across the country. 

Among the objectives of the KIST Ecozones are to transform idle lands owned by HEIs into more productive uses catering to STI purposes. 

Further, it intends to set the criteria and procedures in evaluating applications for registration of KIST Ecozones and administration of incentives to KIST developers/operators and locators under Republic Act No. 7916, as amended. 

One of the goals of the KIST Ecozones is to “open opportunities to business and start-up and spin-off companies to operate in a special economic zone to enjoy fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, provided for under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises [CREATE] law and the Innovative Startup Act.” 

The officials also expressed optimism that more KIST parks will be created with the signing of the JMC. 

 “PEZA and DOST’s landmark MOU paved the way for the establishment of the first-ever KIST Park through the Batangas State University. The PEZA Board has likewise approved three more KIST projects — the University of Perpetual Help’s iAltaHub to be located in Cavite, the De La Salle University Innovation Hub and the Lyceum of the Philippines-Laguna KIST Park to be established in Laguna,” Panga said.

“And we are looking forward to more KIST parks to be established which will creating an enabling environment for research and development (R&D) and innovation in the hope of locating more patents and prototypes that will lead to commercialization of ecozone high-tech projects.” 

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