Republic Act 7922 – Act to Create Economic Zones

Republic Act 7922, also known as the Cagayan Special Economic Zone Act of 1995, was signed on February 4, 1995 and established the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) and other economic zones within the Philippines. This Act helped build zones which would act as economic development opportunities for foreign investment; these zones would be governed by the appropriate agencies while complying with Philippine gambling laws.

RA 7922 was designed and enacted by Philippine President Fidel V Ramos to increase legitimate economic and social growth in areas of the Philippines stricken by poverty and industrial underdevelopment to improve the level and quality of living to those in designated special economic zones.

The poster child for this Act is the Cagayan Freeport which is centered between hot trading channels in the Pacific Ocean and China Sea in-route to Far East, Southeast Asian, and North American West Coast markets.

Details of Republic Act 7922

RA 7922 ordered the management and supervision through the development of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP) and stated specific governing principles and regulations within the Act to operate CSEZFP. The Act concurrently provided clear information for the procedure of transforming designated areas into developed commercial zones for foreign investments, also known as eco-zones.

Under this Act, three types of special economic zones were created while also providing details on areas to be declared as eco-zones and the criteria needed for an undeclared area to establish themselves as an eco-zone.

Ecozones must develop and operate themselves as areas suitable for [free ports in certain zones and] opportunities involving financial, commercial, industrial, and tourism investment in and around said zone as stated by RA 7922. However, the Cagayan province maintains an exclusive power that is independent of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) in the sense it can operate and grant licenses for gambling activities within its zone.

CEZA, like PAGCOR, is a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC). The intent of RA 7922 was to craft zone designations that would encourage and attract legitimate and productive foreign investments in Philippine communities. In addition to RA 7922 establishing economic investment zones, it demanded for the creation of an oversight board called the Philippine Economic Zone Authority Board which governs established zones within the Philippines.

Does Republic Act 7922 Impact Casino Gambling in the Philippines?

RA 7922 allows zones like CEZA to operate on their own, through a representative, or by licensing to provide gambling casinos, horse and dog racing facilities, golf courses, and more. However, the Act only provides means that affect a zone’s ability to provide games rather than to prohibit or restrict it and ask they comply with other active gambling laws. To honor that point, Philippine laws do not allow Filipinos to access domestic land-based gambling casinos.

Does Republic Act 7922 Impact Online Gambling for Philippine Players?

While Philippine bettors are restricted from the country’s domestic Internet gambling industry there remain multiple viable options online from offshore providers. Players can gamble at legally licensed Philippine online casinos which are located offshore and legitimately licensed by an international jurisdiction. Gambling at offshore online destinations does not violate any Philippine gambling laws as stated and ruled in a court case in 2012.