The Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) generated nearly Php83.96 billion in committed investments in the first half of 2014, over 138,000 percent higher compared to the pledges that it recorded in the same period last year.

The AFAB attracted a total of Php83,958,505,566.00 worth of projects from January to June this year, exceeding its Php60,550,00.00 investment portfolio in the same six-month period in 2013.

“The AFAB already achieved its goal to exceed last year’s pledges. It’s just half of the year and we already surpassed the Php2.1-billion worth of approved investments in 2013. This record-high investment pledges proved that the Authority works hard to contribute to the growth of the local economy and generate more jobs for the people on the ground,” AFAB Chairman and Administrator Deogracias G.P. Custodio said.

“We assure the national government and the locals in Bataan that we will continue to bring more investments in the region and make sure that the economic growth is felt by the people,” he added.

The approved projects include the establishment of a business process outsourcing firm, a luxury handbag manufacturing company and a biofuel production hub, and development and operation of commercial and tourism estate facilities.

With the surge in investments, more jobs were opened in the FAB. The freeport workers increased to 18,387 as of June this year compared to the 13,802 employees recorded in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, export earnings of locators in the FAB stood at $169,281,381.98 in the first half of 2014. The data, however, slid by 13.17% compared to the $194,957,707.81 total exports reported in the same period last year.

There are 87 registered and approved locators in the FAB as of June this year. The enterprises include Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese, American, Japanese, British, Bahrainese, French and German businesses.

The FAB is the emerging fashion manufacturing hub of the Philippines as it possesses a budding cluster of companies producing high-end brands of garments, apparel, shoes and accessories, like bags, jewelries, among others. Its vision is to be the Freeport of choice in the country by 2020, becoming a center of trade, innovation and sustainable development in Asia and promoting work-life balance, global competitiveness and environmental protection.