Philippines Law (Republic Act 7922)

Republic Act 7922 (RA 7922) is known as the Cagayan Special Economic Zone Act of 1995. It establishes a special economic zone for the Cagayan Valley that also includes Free Port, Santa Ana, Aparri and other neighboring islands. In this special economic zone, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority will have the power to create organizations and corporations to license and regulate industries that will help develop a self-sustaining commerce and industry. Casinos and other tourist attractions will be a focus for the area as they want to attract more businesses and developments to the area. This act will also establish a board of directors to vote on priorities and developments in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone.

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority

Section 5 of this Act creates The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). CEZA is a government-owned corporate body created to manage and operate according to RA 7922. Unless later amended, this government corporation is set to expire in the year 2045. CEZA is set up to authorize on its own and establish operation and maintenance of public utilities, services, and infrastructures in the economic zone. Some services requested to be built or maintained in the Act are roads, bridges, terminals, sewers, shipping water supply and many more. Private investors are to be given priority in the awarding of contracts to maintain utilities, services, and infrastructure in the special zone. CEZA is to own or license tourism-related activities including sports activities, theme parks, casinos, golf courses and more. RA 7922 also mandates that CEZA preserve, maintain and develop the virgin forest, beaches and coral reefs in the special zone. The forest is to be proclaimed as a National Park and will have a permanent log ban. RA 7922 also authorizes other instructions for the creation of CEZA including combat pollution, form subsidiary corporations, issue rules, and regulations and exercise the powers.

Casinos, Poker Rooms And Sports Betting

The Cagayan Special Economic Zone has already expressed interest in bringing casinos and other gambling-related facilities to the area. As of now, there are no land-based casinos but CEZA has established a corporation to license and regulate casinos. The First Cagayan Resort & Leisure Corporation (FCRLC) is in the business of licensing games of chance. They currently offer licenses to online casinos, online poker rooms and online sportsbooks operating within the Cagayan Valley. It is important to note that Philippine players are not permitted to play at domestically based or licensed gambling sites. Philippine legal online gambling options are available online through offshore destinations. The sites operating in the Cagayan Valley are strictly online sites that serve customers from outside of the Philippine Islands. Filipino players are legally allowed to play Philippine legal online poker rooms, casinosonline sportsbooks, and online racebooks from overseas licensed and regulated destinations. Our guide to Philippine gambling laws will further explain the legalities of betting online.

CEZA Board Of Directors

In section 7 of the RA 7922, a board of 15 directors is given the power to control the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority. The board will be made up by the Secretary of Trade and Industry who will act as the chairman, along with four representatives of the national government. The mayors from Aparri, Santa Ana, and the Province of Cagayan will be voting members. Two representatives from the labor force inside the Cagayan Valley will also act as board members. Four representatives, two investors from Santa Ana and two investors from the islands of Aparri will also be board members. Two more representatives from the private sector will also be board members. Except for the chairman, the President will appoint these board members to a term of three years. Except for the representatives of the business and investment sectors, the President will only appoint Filipino citizens. Representatives must also have good moral character and be of a recognized competence in a relevant field of business, banking, shipping, labor management, port operations, engineering or law. Board members will receive a reasonable per diem that does not exceed P10,000 for every board meeting with a maximum of four meetings a month. This rate can be changed later by order of the President.

Administrative And Chief Executive Officer

The President will appoint a competent administrator and full-time chief executive officer for the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). The chief executive officers pay will be determined by the board of directors. The chief executive officer of CEZA will be responsible to the President and the board of directors for the efficient management and operations of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone.

CEZA Compensation And Supervision

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority will have an authorized capital stock of two billion. The CEZA board of directors may increase the issue value of the shares from time to time and with written permission from the Secretary of Finance may sell up to 40% of shares to the general public. The national government will never own less than 60% of the total capital stock. The Cagayan Special Economic Zone will be under direct supervision from the Office of the President. If CEZA and the municipalities of Santa Ana and Aparri have a conflict on matters the effect the Cagayan Special Economic Zone, CEZA will always prevail unless it is a defense or security measure and in that case, it will go to directly to the Office of the President.

Perceived Results

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) has been tasked with making decisions to grow the special economic zone into its own self-sufficient commercial and trade area. The special privileges bestowed upon them by Republic Act 7922 is an effort to grow commercial business, international trade and tourism in the Cagayan Valley without the regulations that limit some of the bigger areas. The Philippine’s northern island of Luzon, is still under-developed along much of the Cagayan River. This act will help spearhead the area into the modern world market and will one day bring along multiple benefits to the Philippines and the world market. 

Resources For Filipino Gamblers

Cayagan Special Economic Zone & Freeport Official Website

CEZA Official Website