THE PHILIPPINE Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) approved P3.8 billion worth of investments in February, more than double the investments approved a year ago.
PEZA Officer-in-Charge Tereso O. Panga said the board had given the green light for 12 new and expansion projects worth P3.8 billion during its Feb. 23 meeting. This is 112% higher than the P1.792-billion approved investments in February 2022.
“Among the approved projects, five of these are for export manufacturing, three for facilities, one for information technology, one for logistics, one for utilities, and one expansion for a manufacturing ecozone,” he said in a statement on Monday.
These projects will be located in Taguig City, Laguna, Batangas, Tarlac and Palawan, Mr. Panga added.
Month on month, the February tally was lower than the P6.39 billion worth of investments from 19 projects that the PEZA board approved in January.
In 2022, PEZA approved P140.7 billion worth of investments from 198 new and expansion projects, up 103% year on year.
“At the rate we are going now, PEZA has achieved the level of annual investments (P140.2 billion) approved in 2018. That means that the country’s ecozones and high-performance investments are back to the pre-pandemic, even surpassing the 2018 level,” Mr. Panga said.
He said the higher investment pledges mean the economy is on its way to recovery.
“For this year, we are targeting (growth of) 8% for jobs, 9% exports, and 10% investments,” Mr. Panga said.
The PEZA has endorsed 21 economic zone development projects to the Office of the President as of this year, he said.
These projects are now awaiting President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s proclamation order.
“Once proclaimed, these projects will bring in P21.207-billion investments,” Mr. Panga said.
Among the ecozones awaiting the president’s proclamation are Ayala Malls Capitol Central, Alta I-Hub, Robinsons Cyberpark Bacolod, SM City Santa Rosa IT Center, ArcoVia City, Parqal and 8912 Asean Avenue.
In 2022, the PEZA Board approved 29 applications for new and expansion projects for ecozones, which are estimated to bring in P96.215 billion of investments. Of the 29 projects, eight are to be located in the Calabarzon region.
Meanwhile, Mr. Panga said the PEZA is anticipating more investments in the country’s ecozones following Mr. Marcos’ foreign trips.
“We also expect more projects this year as a result of our investment missions in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Switzerland, Mongolia, the USA and the other upcoming trips,” he said.
Mr. Panga also called for a review of Republic Act (RA) No. 11534 or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act and the amendment of RA 7916 — the Special Economic Zone Act or PEZA law.
“PEZA is lobbying for the revisit of the CREATE Act and the amendment of the 28-year-old PEZA law to better adapt to the changes in the market and the current movement of the country’s investment and business climate,” he said.
PEZA oversees 421 ecozones hosting 4,346 locators. The ecozones have generated of 1.8 million direct jobs. — R.M.D.Ochave