Philippine Standard Time - Wednesday, December 1, 2021,

Director General’s Corner

Director General's Corner

BGen Charito B. Plaza MNSA, PhD
Director General
Click below to download DG’s presentation

DG’S PROFILE

The Director General of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority is the embodiment of beauty and brains. She has degrees to her name from renowned universities, and to mention all of them might take the whole morning. 

Plaza is also a Commissioned Officer in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) – Reserve Force, holding the rank Brigadier General. From 1989 – 1998 and then from 2012-2015, she was Wing Commander for the 3rd Ready Air Reserve Wing Mindanao and the 7th Air Force Wing Reserve, respectively. She was both the youngest commissioned lieutenant colonel and the youngest colonel in the AFP Reserve Force. Plaza was also the first female general in the AFP Reserve Force, the first female general in Philippine Air Force, and the first female general from Mindanao.

She was elected as congresswoman of the 1st District of Agusan del Norte in 1987, making her the youngest Congress Representative in the Philippine History. During her term, she has made major amendments to the Balikbayan Program & the Tourism Infrastructure Bill. 

She also authored the bill creating the Caraga Region as the 13th Administrative Region in the Philippines. With that, she earned the name, The Mother of Caraga Region. 

Most notably, she co-authored the Republic Act 7916, or the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995, creating the Philippine Economic Zone Authority. 

After leaving Congress, Plaza served as consultant to the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Department of Transportation. Following her appointment as PEZA Director –General last September 2016, Plaza told The Philippine STAR newspaper, “I am fortunate to be one of the authors of the law that finally created PEZA, which included areas of Butuan City and Agusan del Norte as among those identified special economic zones. I proposed to the president in our talk… to make ecozones as the umbrella program for economic development. We will build agricultural economic zones, industrial ecozones, tourism economic zones and defense industrial complex.”

As the Director General of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, she initiated major policy reforms particularly in revolutionizing the Philippine Economic Zone Authority to meet the dynamic demands of the business environment and to support the President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's economic agenda. 

A woman of action. A woman of motherly compassion. She is the Director General of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, Brigadier General Charito Booc Plaza MNSA, PHD.  

 

 

STATEMENTS

National Heroes Day Message

National Heroes Day Message PEZA is aggressively pursuing the creation of more economic zones, spread the investments, jobs, livelihood, technology, and total development of the country to create peace and prosperity. In honor of our heroes, let us unite and heal as one for our families, for ourselves, and for our most beloved country, the Philippines. Mabuhay po tayong lahat at mabuhay ang mga BAYANING PILIPINO!
August 30, 2021,

Global Biz Calabarzon

Under the Transformation Road Map and in line with the Administrative Order 18, we are actively involving various LGUs to locate and identify idle lands so we can transform these idle lands into ecozones, thus, attaining total development of the country through the acceleration of progress in our local government units (LGUs) in every region.
August 11, 2021,

SONA 2021

In line with the Administrative Order (A0)18, we will continuously identify and promote the creation of economic zones in accelerating rural progress in the countryside as this will harness human capital, infrastructure development, and attain total economic development in our country.
July 28, 2021,

Global Biz VisMin

PEZA is actively involving various LGUs to make use of the idle lands by transforming it into ecozones thus attaining total development of the country through the acceleration of progress in our local government units (LGUs) in every region.
July 1, 2021,

Eid Mubarak 2021

Greetings of peace to the Muslim community as they close Ramadan in 2021 today. The sincere devotion of Muslims to Allah (One God) and the lessons from Qur'an are all gifts to humanity. Amidst )ur diversity as Filipinos, we share faithfulness, hope, and gratitude to God. May God put in the hearts of humanity care and love for each other in this pandemic and in the years to come.
May 13, 2021,
PRESS RELEASES

PEZA’s feature at Philippine Daily Inquirer and Philippine Star for the agency’s programs special projects launched during the Investors’ Recognition Day Galing Pinas Excellence Awards 2021, Transformation Road Map and Performance for 25 years

PEZA’s feature at Philippine Daily Inquirer and Philippine Star for the agency’s programs special projects launched during the Investors’ Recognition Day Galing Pinas Excellence Awards 2021, Transformation Road Map and Performance for 25 years
November 26, 2021
PEZA’s feature at Philippine Daily Inquirer and Philippine Star for the agency’s programs special projects launched during the Investors’ Recognition Day Galing Pinas Excellence Awards 2021, Transformation Road Map and Performance for 25 years

 

26 November 2021 (Friday)

 

PEZA has been featured in an ad on the Philippine Star last November 25, 2021 (Thursday) in time for its Investors’ Recognition Day Galing Pinas Excellence Awards 2021.

 

Also featured in the publication are PEZA’s Performance, Incentives, the agency’s business assistance and reprieves to its locator companies during this pandemic, and also the benefits of investing in the Philippines.

 

 

PEZA has been featured in an ad on the Philippine Daily Inquirer last November 26, 2021 (Friday) wherein it highlighted the special projects launched during the Investors’ Recognition Day Galing Pinas Excellence Awards 2021.

 

Also featured in the publication is the top investment agency’s

Transformational Road Map with the PEZA worldview of “Thinking Global, Acting Local” as well as its Recognitions from both local and international levels.

PEZA at 26th year, soars high, to honor outstanding foreign and Filipino workers, and to launch special projects on Investors’ Recognition Day 2021

PEZA at 26th year, soars high, to honor outstanding foreign and Filipino workers, and to launch special projects on Investors’ Recognition Day 2021
November 23, 2021
PEZA at 26th year, soars high, to honor outstanding foreign and Filipino workers, and to launch special projects on Investors’ Recognition Day 2021

 
23 November 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – Celebrating 26 years this 2021 as the leading export-oriented investment promotion agency (IPA) in the country, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is gearing up to host its annual Investors’ Recognition Day on 25 November, Thursday at PEZA Head Office in Pasay City.

The theme of the event is “PEZA soaring high: Making Philippines as an investment haven in Asia; Thinking Global and Acting Local; Galing Pinas”.
 

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza said, “For almost two years of battling with the COVID-19 and the challenges it has brought to our nation and to the world, I am proud that PEZA maintains its brand of excellence and we continue to perform our mandate of attracting new investments, fortifying and creating new partnerships and innovations, and making big contributions to our country’s economy.”

“It is also a great honor to recognize and give toast to our ecozone locators, developer-operators, and registered enterprises for their valuable and immense contributions in the economic by continuing operations, providing jobs to Filipinos, and export income to the country. Together, we overcome challenges during this pandemic,” added the PEZA Chief.

Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. (NORDCHAM) President Bo Lundqvist, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI) Dr. Danilo C. Lachica, and the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) President Henry Lim Bon Liong are just some of the principals who will grace the series of events particularly on the Investors’ Recognition Day.

This year’s Investors’ Recognition Day, the PEZA Director General will deliver her State of the PEZA Address (SOPA). After this, the agency will grant 58 export-oriented companies with the following award categories: Outstanding Exporter, Outstanding Employer, Outstanding Community Projects, Outstanding Environmental Performance, COVID-19 Response Award, Galing Pinas! Award, Hall of Fame Award, and Billionaires Award. In the SOPA, the PEZA Chief will update all stakeholders about the latest performance and plans of PEZA in the present and coming years.

PEZA’s Award Categories to Honor Investors

The Outstanding Exporter Award is given to locators that has accomplished outstanding performance in exports and is a good corporate citizen while the Outstanding Employer Award is awarded to companies that generated the most number of jobs, held high regard for the welfare of its workers, and maintained harmony between labor and management.

For the Outstanding Community Project Award, it will be granted to locators or developers that has strengthened its relationship with the community through meaningful corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects like scholarship programs, free medical and dental services, tree planting, gift giving, or similar pro-community projects.

Locators that institutionalized its environmental management system, complied with environmental regulations, and fostered partnership between the government and the industry in caring for the environment while simultaneously sustaining economic growth will be awarded the Outstanding

Environmental Performers Award.

Meanwhile, the Hall of Fame Award is awarded to three-time winners of the Outstanding Exporter, Outstanding Employer, Outstanding Community Project and Outstanding Environmental Performer Awards.

The Billionaires Award is awarded to a company that exports at least US$2.5 Billion in any given year.

Further, the COVID-19 Response Award is bestowed to PEZA-registered enterprises and economic zone developer-operators who have successfully established policies and programs to avert the spread of the virus in the workplace.

PEZA’s launching of special projects

Under the Transformation Road Map, PEZA is set to launch and present nine (9) of its special projects in its relentless efforts to aggressively innovate, revolutionize the Agency, and further improve efficiency factors and ease of doing in the Philippines.

Prior to the Investors’ Recognition Day on Thursday, PEZA will officially launch the first 1,000 hardcopies of its Coffee Table Book (CTB) entitled, “Philippine Economic Zones: An Investment Haven in Asia. Galing Pinas, Galing Pinas!” on 23 November, Tuesday. The successful book publication is in partnership with the Seagull Philippines, Inc. led by Author Maria Rosa ‘Bing’ Carrion MNSA, PhD.

back-to-back Global Biz Forum with PEZA will also take place to feature and discuss investment opportunities in the Philippines with Korean investors on 23 November today in the morning prior to the CTB launching in the afternoon. Another Global Biz will focus on Taiwanese investors the next day, 24 November.

On the day of the Investors’ Recognition Day, PEZA will launch its new logo and flag inspired with the “thinking global, acting local” worldview and the Agency’s unceasing goal for a strong and vibrant economy and full industrialization through its economic zones.

Likewise, PEZA will introduce its latest and modified agency website as well as showcase a glimpse of PEZA’s electronic payment and collection system in partnership with MYEG Philippines. These initiatives aim to adapt to new technological heights, provide the ease of doing business, and fulfill PEZA’s one-stop and non-stop shop operations in its ecozones.

PEZA will also unveil the iconic Innovator Man Statue which shall represent the Agency’s continuous innovations for 26 years and beyond, and its strategic adaptation in a fast-paced environment to attain total economic growth in the country.

In line with the recent Signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) with the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to reduce the processing and approval time of PEZA-Visa (PV) issuance and with the recent Groundbreaking Ceremony for the establishment of the new balanghai-inspired PEZA Headquarters building, Director General Plaza will deliver updates and brief overview on the current progress of these projects.

The awarding ceremony and the launching of PEZA’s special projects will take place on 25 November 2021 Thursday, 1:00 PM PST at the PEZA Head Office Auditorium. In adherence to IATF protocols for Alert Level 2 in Metro Manila and maintain public health standards, limited honorees and guests will be observed.

The Investors’ Recognition Day 2021 will also be livestreamed on PEZA’s official Facebook Page and YouTube Channel here: https://www.facebook.com/PEZAPH and https://youtu.be/zq5W00dvLVM.

PEZA to issue 2 years visa for foreign investors and workers

PEZA to issue 2 years visa for foreign investors and workers
November 19, 2021
PEZA to issue 2 years visa for foreign investors and workers

 
19 November 2021 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – GOOD NEWS! The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) with the Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime H. Morente yesterday, 18 November, for faster and smoother issuance of PEZA-Visas (PVs) for qualified applicants. 
 

This is in adherence to Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

Through the Signing of the said MOA and its IRR, the PEZA Chief said, “This [will now] allow PEZA to issue working visas to our foreign investors, non-resident foreign employees of PEZA-registered ecozone enterprises, and their respective qualified dependents.”

“Starting this December 1, PEZA and the Bureau of Immigration are finally reducing the processing of visa facilitation and approval from one (1) month to ten (10) days which will greatly improve government processes,” Plaza adds.

On the part of the Bureau of Immigration, Commissioner Morente said, “The signing of this MOA and IRR is a major step forward as we expand our services through collaborations with like-minded institutions such as PEZA.”

Morente states, “The PEZA-Visas will serve not only to facilitate the conduct of businesses in PEZA-registered ecozones, but also highlight the many measures that have been taken by the national government to ensure the ease of doing business (EODB) throughout the country.”

Streamlining visa procedures is pursuant to the “Project Repeal” of the government. It is a government-wide regulatory reform initiative to repeal outdated rules, reduce the cost of doing business, and improve the country’s investment growth.

PEZA-BI MOA and IRR Signing

With the MOA and IRR in place, both agencies will establish a one-stop shop at the PEZA Head office in Double Dragon Plaza, Pasay City with corresponding personnel to expedite the processing, approval, and issuance of PVs.

The Director General highlighted that “our PEZA-Visas shall be valid within and outside our registered economic zones with two (2) years of validity. Qualified dependent/s of foreign national employees working in any of our ecozones can also avail our PVs and is co-terminus with the validity of the PV of the principal foreign investor or employee.”

PEZA-registered enterprises can submit their foreign employees’ PV applications with their complete requirements to the PEZA Zone Administrator or Manager of the ecozone where their enterprise is located.

Meanwhile, IT-BPO companies in Metro Manila, tourism, and medical-tourism ecozone enterprises can submit their PV applications in PEZA Head Office.

According to Morente, the Immigration Commissioner, “This MOA [and its IRR] will ensure that the procedures and processes for monitoring the employment of foreign nationals are implemented properly and consistently.”

PEZA-Visa application

Foreign nationals employed in any PEZA-registered enterprises must submit documentary requirements such as a notarized application form, notarized company’s letter request addressed to the PEZA Director General, checklist of application for PV extension or change of admission, certified true copy of PEZA Certificate of Registration, and photocopy of the foreign applicant’s passport, among others.

On the other hand, dependents of foreign employees must also submit a notarized application form, photocopy of their passport, Philippine embassy/consulate or PSA-issued birth and marriage certificates, and notarized Affidavit of Support/Guarantee which is executed by the PEZA-registered company’s President or Vice President.

PEZA Chief said, “Once approved and issued, the visa will no longer be called the 47 (a)2 visa, but it will be known as the PEZA-Visa with two years validity for qualified international employees and their dependents.”

The Signing of the MOA and its IRRs heeds the national government’s efforts in reopening the country’s economy both to local and foreign investors as quarantine or lockdown levels gradually eases up.

Commissioner Morente believes that “partnerships such as this are most helpful and productive for the Bureau especially this is a joint effort that incorporates the needs of PEZA and its locators as well as the mandate of BI with regards to foreign nationals.”

PEZA, PCCI urge MSMEs to locate as economic zone developers and become local partners for foreign investments

PEZA, PCCI urge MSMEs to locate as economic zone developers and become local partners for foreign investments
November 16, 2021
PEZA, PCCI urge MSMEs to locate as economic zone developers and become local partners for foreign investments

 
16 November 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza is inviting Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) or local businesses and urge stronger ties with business chambers for more robust investments in the country during the recent Global Biz Forum with the Philippine Chamber for Commerce and Industry (PCCI) last Monday, November 8.
 

PEZA Chief Plaza said, “Products and services produced in the Philippines are world-class and in the ever-changing society amidst the ongoing pandemic, we must remain competitive and productive in promoting local investment opportunities that our country can offer to potential investors.”
Plaza highlighted that PEZA works on innovative ways to improve and expand various investment and employment opportunities in the country. “Even with all these pandemic challenges, PEZA continues to find local partners for foreign investments in line with the reopening of our country’s economy,” she said.

Under Administrative Order (AO) 18, PEZA strives within its mandate to spread the creation of special economic zones to the countryside to accelerate rural progress, to hasten human capital and infrastructure development, and provide interventions to strengthen economic zones even those outside Metro Manila.
The PEZA Chief believes that “MSMEs adapting our worldview of ‘thinking global, acting local’ and becoming our local partners can help complete the local supply chain as our economic zone developers. They can even register their lands and enterprises as PEZA-registered ecozones.”

PCCI President Ambassador Benedicto V. Yujuico is one with PEZA and this month’s Global Biz theme of Mobilizing Domestic Enterprises Towards Economic Recovery for All. Ambassador Yujuico said, “Because of the successful implementations [of economic zones] by PEZA, we now have [the] BPO [sector] as our country’s second-largest dollar earner after our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the means of remittances,” the Ambassador added.

Business opportunities for domestic enterprises

On the potential areas for investment in South Luzon, Regional Governor of Region 4, Sallie C. Lacson said, “[As] the urban gateway corridor for industrialization, CALABARZON region hosts the big names in electronics and semiconductor industries such as Panasonic, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Samsung, Epson, and Sony, among others.”

As of March 2021, PEZA manages a total of 61 economic zones located in CALABARZON with 2,022 locator companies with Laguna as the highest number of locators followed by Cavite and Batangas.

Regional Governor Lacson noted that “most of the ecozones in [Region 4] are newly built which can provide areas for economic-related activities especially for manufacturing, electronics, automotive, food processing, pharmaceutical, and consumer products.”
“With the establishment of new roads, highways, and bridges [in South Luzon], ecozones can benefit on this for shorter delivery routes of raw materials from ports to industrial facilities,” Lacson added.

This has been seconded by the Crabmeat Canning Plant Owner and Bacolod Blue Star Export Corporation Consultant Willard Gallo stating that “road widening with corresponding drainage systems is a priority for ease of transport of raw materials and finished goods.”

Meanwhile, the Mindanao region, Macala Business Group Owner and Bangon Marawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) President Elian Macala expressed his interest for the banking, logistics, agricultural, and manufacturing companies to locate and operate in Marawi City for socio-economic recovery.

BMCCI President Macala said, “My fellow Maranaos are still recuperating from the siege in 2017 [and the effects of the COVID-19], hence, we need the assistance of the national government and private sectors to help us rebuild Marawi and invest in our city which will also establish malls and other halal food chains.

Consultant Willard Gallo is also looking for business potential partners particularly those who are into venture capital partnerships. Gallo said, “As the fourth biggest seafood processing commodity in our country, we want to adapt [to] more modern technological practices as we are 100% exports.”

On CREATE, PEZA Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning Tereso O. Panga highlighted that “local investors can avail our fiscal incentives such as initially enjoying the 4 to 7 years of income tax holiday (ITH) with tier classification after the ITH period. After this period, they can enjoy additional 5 years of enhanced deductions.”

“LGUs also play a critical role in providing additional incentives and helping PEZA create a conducive business environment. Magtulungan po tayo,” added Panga.

Young and dynamic workforce

With the young, growing, and well-educated population as well as having vibrant natural resources in the Philippines, PCCI Ambassador Yujuico said, “I believe these will propel our country’s economy in moving forward.”

On the part of South Luzon, Regional Governor Lacson proudly highlighted that “Region 4 has competent and highly-educated human resourced-based for the manufacturing and services industries with reliable industries, well-placed infrastructure, business-friendly environment, and booming tourism circuits.”

PCCI Secretary General Ruben J. Pascual commends PEZA under the leadership of Plaza. He said, “PEZA has really accomplished a lot of things especially in opening up new economic zones and protecting [more than] 1.6 million jobs of Filipinos. And now, PEZA has opened up investment opportunities to domestic enterprises which will be beneficial to PCCI members.”

“I accept the challenge on behalf of PCCI to beat the conduit to local investors and ecozone developers for PEZA. I see a lot of possibilities on how we can help you [PEZA] promote with all the foreign chamber partners of PCCI as well as assist you in designing of ecozones with our foremost architectures that we have,” added the Secretary General.

PCCI also assures PEZA as its advocacy partner in the amendment of 12% tax under the CREATE Law.

PEZA’s export income and employment increase in 2021 despite pandemic 

PEZA’s export income and employment increase in 2021 despite pandemic 
November 11, 2021
PEZA’s export income and employment increase in 2021 despite pandemic 

11 November 2021 (Saturday)
 

Pasay City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza emphasized on Thursday that PEZA’s export income and employment generated in ecozones this 2021 to date increased despite the pandemic.
 

“Indeed, PEZA continued to perform its mandate to the utmost of our abilities in almost two years since pandemic affected global economy. In fact, PEZA locators and companies continued operations during pandemic until present,” explained Plaza.

Based on our zone reports as of September 2021, a total of 90% of our registered companies are operating nationwide under various work arrangements, 3% higher compared from 87% last year covering the same period.

This has allowed PEZA to report a positive increase in its actual exports and employment for the period of January to August 2021.

PEZA reported an 11.12% increase in its actual employment which totaled to 1,687,938 and there is a 17.35% increase in terms of export income amounting to $40.692 Billion USD.

Plaza also noted that, “PEZA continues to contribute 65% of export income on commodities and goods, and export service income of 85% from ITBPO and tourism-oriented companies registered with PEZA.”

“This is not possible of course without the help of our locators who kept the economy afloat,” noted Plaza.

PEZA BALANCING ACTS

In response to this, PEZA implemented various ‘balancing acts’ to protect both the country’s economy and Filipino workers. “We ensured that our services are operating non-stop without compromising the health, safety, and the jobs our workforce,” said the PEZA Chief.

Such balancing acts include the inclusion of COVID-related expenses as deductibles for enterprises availing of the 5% GIE incentive, the inclusion of IT-BPO companies and economic frontline workers in the subgroup of the A4 vaccination priority list to fasten the attainment of herd immunity for the reopening of the economy; and the allowance of 90% WFH arrangements.

PEZA’s continuous implementation of its brand of excellence, which is recognized globally by the IFC World Bank, and these acts have allowed PEZA to receive recognitions from various organizations such as the US Department of State which stated in its official 2020

Investment Climate Statements that “the business environment is notably better within the special economic zones, particularly those available for export businesses operated by PEZA, known for its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors.”

The Presidential Communications Operations Office also, during the 2020 FOI Awards, gave PEZA a Special Citation conferred to government agencies who have exemplified an untiring dedication and commitment to the FOI program during the COVID-19 pandemic by keeping its channels of information open and active to the public.

PANDEMIC IMPACT TO ECONOMY MORE FELT IN 2021 THAN 2020

Meanwhile, the PEZA Chief underlined that the pandemic’s effect of slowing down global and local economies was felt more in 2021 compared to when quarantines actually began in 2020.

“The decline in investment pledges and projects in PEZA was felt more in 2021. This is because when the first quarantines began in Philippines in March 2020, there were pending applications for investments and projects that were approved. Thus, 2020 performance didn’t immediately decrease,” explained Plaza.

The Director General said that “Due to the strict lockdowns implemented last year, the approval of projects filed in early 2020 were delayed until mid to late last year. Business groups, entrepreneurs, and exporters were on a wait-and-see mode and had lower risk appetite in their investments during the pandemic. Hence, the impact of the pandemic was really felt this year.”

However, Plaza highlighted that PEZA continued to operate and attract investments during the pandemic. “We retained business confidence and trust in PEZA as we were quick to adjust in the new normal and establish business assistance and reprieves,” she said.

January to October 2021 saw PEZA investments from 215 approved projects total to PhP 62.722 Billion which is 13.66% lower compared to PhP 72.644 Billion investments in 2020 of the similar period.

Most of the investments came from Ecozone Development with PhP 28.754 Billion and the Manufacturing sector with PhP 24.127 Billion and these will be located in Regions IV, VII, and NCR.

Confident for Philippines’ competitiveness amidst the challenges of pandemic, Plaza said “PEZA remained aggressive to attract both local and foreign investors even during the pandemic. We did not let this crisis to hostage us; rather, we create various opportunities to continue our mandate.”

With this, Plaza assured that “We will constantly perform our best to attract investors to the country. We still have two months left this year, and there’s still a lot to happen. Let’s continue to have a positive outlook as we unite in reviving our economy.”

PEZA welcomes Diether Ocampo as newest Investment Promotions Partner

PEZA welcomes Diether Ocampo as newest Investment Promotions Partner
October 23, 2021
PEZA welcomes Diether Ocampo as newest Investment Promotions Partner

PEZA welcomes Diether Ocampo as newest Investment Promotions Partner
 

23 October 2021 (Saturday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has officially welcomed its newest Investment Promotions Partner (also called as “Ka-PIPPs”), actor and Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary Commander Diether Ocampo, during their signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Wednesday 20 October at PEZA Head Office in Pasay City.

Now in partnership with PEZA, Diether Ocampo is set to promote foreign direct investment inflows to PEZA ecozones. Under the Ka-PIPPs Program, a part of PEZA’s Transformation Road Map (TRM) and Special Projects, Ocampo will provide business and leisure activities and tours in the Philippines to attract more investments into the country to promote PEZA ecozones worldwide.

According to PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, “Amidst the pandemic, we must all continue to work together in attracting foreign enterprises to come and invest in the Philippines. Magtulungan po tayo to invite investors to locate or even create different types of economic zones especially in the countryside.”

The PEZA Chief also highlighted, “I am happy that our Ka-PIPPs family is growing and now with Mr. Diether Ocampo, we have more partners actively helping the national government’s efforts to [continuously] implement Administrative Order No. 18 and Executive Order No. 114.”

“These [said] laws aim to create a much inclusive growth for the country and provide equal opportunities to the Filipinos, geared towards achieving AmBisyon Natin 2040,” Plaza added.

Newest PEZA Ka-PIPPs and Ambassador

As stated by PEZA’s newest Ka-PIPPs and Investment Promotions Ambassador, Ocampo said, “I am proud and honored to be PEZA’s partner in promoting your Agency and our country’s vast economic potential.”

In promoting and attracting investments in the Philippines, Ocampo assured that “unitedly and as one of your investment promotions partners, we can bring PEZA to new heights, opening the gates of endless potentials, and embark on new frontiers of ecozone development.”

Further, Plaza said, “Our newest Ka-PIPPs partner will register its eligible ecozone projects with PEZA and encourage related industries in setting up production facilities in our economic zones.”

Ka-PIPPs new partner Diether Ocampo has also invited his circle of diplomatic friends who were present during the MOU signing event including: H.E Shobin Gunasekera, Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the Philippines; H.E Songkane Luangmuninthone, Ambassador of Lao People’s Democratic Republic to the Philippines; Vietnamese Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E Hoang Huy Chung; US Economic Officer John Averett; and Trade and Commercial Attaché Embassy of Japan to the Philippines Yasuhiro Chino among others.

Support to DOLLAR Program

Performing the role of promotions and goodwill ambassador in helping PEZA boost its economic zones locally and worldwide, Ka-PIPPs partner Diether Ocampo has also shown his support to PEZA Development Outreach for Labor, Livelihood, and Advancement of Resources Program also known as the DOLLAR Program.

Ocampo expressed that, “Through PEZA’s DOLLAR Program with sub-projects and activities posing on critical areas of training, skills development, and jobs matching, PEZA is working hard to make sure that our special economic zones are world-class, environment-friendly, and most importantly, setting the stage of the Philippines as a power-house and a priority investment destination.”

To date, PEZA has recorded a total of 60,164 projected available employment in the economic zones amidst the pandemic.

PEZA will guide IPP Diether Ocampo with the regulatory requirements in doing business in the Philippines which will enable him to optimize business opportunities with PEZA ecozones as a potential ASEAN regional production and distribution hub for manufactured products.

Korean company invests in PEZA ecozone as its first e-vehicle manufacturer 

Korean company invests in PEZA ecozone as its first e-vehicle manufacturer 
October 22, 2021
Korean company invests in PEZA ecozone as its first e-vehicle manufacturer 

Korean company invests in PEZA ecozone as its first e-vehicle manufacturer 
 

22 October 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – Joining and supporting the electronic vehicle industry and production in the country, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza has signed on Wednesday 21 October, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ENPLUS Co. Ltd. CEO and Chairman, Young Yong Ahn for joint ventures to provide and manufacture fuel-saving electric vehicles (EV) in economic zones.
 

Plaza said, “EnPlus, a Korean company, is [now] our partner in investing in the countryside and believing in [the] Philippines as an investment haven in Asia. We appreciate EnPlus in their commitment and alliance with us towards making the Philippines a clean, sustainable, and environment-friendly country.”

ENPLUS will manufacture and supply electric cars and electric jeepneys in the Philippines.

First electronic vehicle (EV) PEZA-registered manufacturer

According to Plaza, “EnPlus will be our first electronic vehicle manufacturer to be registered under PEZA where they can avail special incentives for pioneering projects.”

“EnPlus invests PhP 5 billion to manufacture and operate facilities of electric cars and electric jeepneys in municipality of Pulupandan (Port of Pulupandan) which is situated in Negros Occidental,” the Director General added.

The MOU Signing with PEZA and EnPlus is in line with the Agency’s goal for a resilient economic zone development specifically in regions outside Metro Manila.

In efforts to contribute to the reduction of the country’s carbon emission, the PEZA Chief believes that “Using EVs are better for our environment as they emit fewer greenhouse gases and air pollutants than vehicles using petrol or diesel. In the global context, electric cars have yet to be mainstreamed.”

EV-producing Korean company chooses PEZA

Meanwhile, the CEO and Chairman of EnPlus, Ahn Young Yong has expressed his gratitude to PEZA. He said, “EnPlus really appreciates partnering with PEZA in supplying electric vehicles.”

Moreover, he added that “We are also thankful to the Philippines for [allowing us] to supply more than 100 units of pump trucks, water trunks, aerial ladder and rescue trucks last year in the country.”

The EnPlus CEO also noted, “We’d like to make a better world and provide more fire trucks and electric vehicles to the Philippines. With this, we would like to expand our business in your country to manufacture environment and energy-friendly vehicles starting with your jeepneys since they are the most popular mode of transportation in your country.”

On the part of PEZA, the Agency will provide a 30-hectare land to link prospect industries to EnPlus for joint investment ventures and other related agreements for eligible projects of PEZA.

Further, according to a special advisor of the PEZA Director General, Mr. Charlie Wee, he shared that, “EnPlus has already donated a fire truck and will donate ambulances to PEZA which will be shipped next month."”

Under the signed MOU, PEZA and EnPlus will strengthen cooperative approach in the means of business match making, conducting special briefings, and roundtable discussions to achieve the middle-class status of the Philippines in the years to come and to maintain economic, greener, and sustainable growth in the country.

Investment prospects in Mindanao

Of the new types of economic zones that PEZA has introduced, Director General Plaza highlighted the halal hubs and production economic zones where Malaysian investors can locate and expand their industries particularly in the countryside.

“With the Republic Act 10817 also known as the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2016, and Republic Act 11439 or the Islamic Banking Act, our country is poised to becoming a significant player in the global Halal industry,” Plaza noted.

She added, “In continuous support to our Transformation Road Map (TRM) which also heeds to the call of the national government under Administrative Order No. 18, we have identified 18 locations in Mindanao such as Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur and del Norte, Davao City, Sulu, Sultan Kudarat, Surigao del Sur, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Sur and del Norte, Davao del Norte, North Cotabato, Zamboanga del Sur and del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, and Maguindanao, areas rich in agriculture, aquaculture, and agro-forestry among others.”

“Given the Malaysians’ contribution in our economy, which is vital especially during this pandemic, we must continue to attract more Malaysian investors to come and invest in the Philippines and widen our reach for sectors unique only in Malaysia,” she emphasized.

To date, PEZA manages 415 economic zones nationwide which host 4,665 locator companies that directly employ 1.6 million workers. PEZA has also generated P32.057 Billion of investments and exports amounting to $30.177 Billion during the first half of 2021.

PEZA reinforces economic relations with Malaysia for more robust export investments and trading partners in ecozones

PEZA reinforces economic relations with Malaysia for more robust export investments and trading partners in ecozones
October 19, 2021
PEZA reinforces economic relations with Malaysia for more robust export investments and trading partners in ecozones

PEZA reinforces economic relations with Malaysia for more robust export investments and trading partners in ecozones
 

19 October 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – In continuous pursuit to attain socio-economic development in the Philippines, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza has encouraged more Malaysian stakeholders to explore more investment and business opportunities in the country and promote the economic zones as a viable location for their industries.
 

This comes after the October 14 Global Biz with PEZA featuring Malaysia which was attended by Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia H.E. Charles C. Jose, Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Norman Bin Muhammad, and representatives from PEZA-registered Malaysian enterprises to discuss promoting PEZA ecozones for various industries.

The PEZA Chief said, “At present, we have a total of 56 Malaysian enterprises registered and located in PEZA ecozones. These Malaysian companies have generated PhP 17.571 Billion of investments cumulatively from 1995 to June 2021, and as of August 2021, these companies employ 10,998 workers and contribute $52.599 Million of exports.”

Benefits of investing in ecozones

Director General Plaza highlighted the Philippines as “the only country granted by the European Union Parliament the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status among ASEAN countries and we are also expecting for the renewal of our GSP+ status in the USA.”

“Our country is also waiting for implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which is seen to enhance our businesses' participation in the global value chains given that this agreement will promote partnerships between the ASEAN nations, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea,” the PEZA Chief noted.

Plaza also emphasized the rich natural and human resources with vast lands for different types of economic activities in the Philippines as some of the many factors that local and foreign enterprises are looking for in doing business in the country.

Meanwhile, His Excellency Charles C. Jose recognized the importance of economic zones as these boost the Philippine exports and foster employment growth.

According to the Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia, “Benefiting from decades of investments and rising investor appetite for manufacturing projects, economic zones in the Philippines have become an important export promotion tool and investment destination.”

Further, the Malaysian Ambassador said that while the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the economy and businesses worldwide, “It is the [various] businesses that live to pivot effectively and flexibly emerging from the pandemic stronger than ever.”

On the part of the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines (MCCIP), President Hans How Han Hui said, “The Philippines has a young and dynamic population and geographically, our countries are [very] near to each other. We also have similarities in terms of culture and language skills which serve as a potential market to tap on in the long run.”

Investment prospects in Mindanao

Of the new types of economic zones that PEZA has introduced, Director General Plaza highlighted the halal hubs and production economic zones where Malaysian investors can locate and expand their industries particularly in the countryside.

“With the Republic Act 10817 also known as the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2016, and Republic Act 11439 or the Islamic Banking Act, our country is poised to becoming a significant player in the global Halal industry,” Plaza noted.

She added, “In continuous support to our Transformation Road Map (TRM) which also heeds to the call of the national government under Administrative Order No. 18, we have identified 18 locations in Mindanao such as Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur and del Norte, Davao City, Sulu, Sultan Kudarat, Surigao del Sur, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Sur and del Norte, Davao del Norte, North Cotabato, Zamboanga del Sur and del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, and Maguindanao, areas rich in agriculture, aquaculture, and agro-forestry among others.”

“Given the Malaysians’ contribution in our economy, which is vital especially during this pandemic, we must continue to attract more Malaysian investors to come and invest in the Philippines and widen our reach for sectors unique only in Malaysia,” she emphasized.

To date, PEZA manages 415 economic zones nationwide which host 4,665 locator companies that directly employ 1.6 million workers. PEZA has also generated P32.057 Billion of investments and exports amounting to $30.177 Billion during the first half of 2021.

PEZA backs IT locators, appeals for exemption and reconsideration re FIRB Resolution No. 21-19

PEZA backs IT locators, appeals for exemption and reconsideration re FIRB Resolution No. 21-19
September 27, 2021
PEZA backs IT locators, appeals for exemption and reconsideration re FIRB Resolution No. 21-19

PEZA backs IT locators, appeals for exemption and reconsideration re FIRB Resolution No. 21-19
 

27 September 2021 (Monday)
 

Pasay City – In response to the concerns of the IT-BPO sector, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has once again appealed to the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the exemption of IT-BPO companies from the implementation of the work-from-home (WFH) guidelines under the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) Resolution No. 21-19.
 

In a letter to DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, PEZA has backed the request of its IT-BPO locators to reconsider maintaining the WFH arrangement that PEZA implemented at the beginning of the pandemic under Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2020-011 dated 05 March 2020 and was further extended under various MCs until 12 September 2021. Under PEZA directives, registered IT enterprises were allowed to engage in WFH operations to the extent of up to 90% of their total revenues.

“The present appeal of the IT Enterprises is anchored on the threat posed by the Delta variant of COVID-19 to its employees which is considered more contagious,” noted Plaza.

“Many of our locators are reeling from the effects of this pandemic, but they are continuing operations to comply with the global supply and demand. This continues to help us to keep the jobs of our people and our economy afloat. The little we can do is to assist them in matters such as this,” she explained.

FIRB Resolution No. 21-19

In recognition of the authority of the FIRB over the IPAs, the PEZA Board recommended the extension of the WFH arrangement. Under Resolution No. 21-206 dated 06 July 2021, PEZA requested that the extension of the WFH arrangement shall be based on the gross revenue of the IT enterprises.

The FIRB has approved the extension and PEZA has released MC no. 2021-049 in adherence to the directives of FIRB. However, under FIRB Resolution No. 21-19, IT-BPO companies are directed to maintain at least 10% of their total employees onsite.

“This directive poses a problem because a number of employees are understandably hesitant to report to work because of the surge in the number of infections and the over-capacity of the hospitals in case they get infected by the virus. While the enterprises are grateful for the extension of the WFH arrangement, the health and safety of their employees is still their primordial consideration,” explained Plaza.

Likewise, the PEZA Chief added that “This will defeat the purpose of the extension of the WFH arrangement which is to limit the mobility of workers and lessen the pressure on public transport because they will contribute to the number of people outside even if it is possible for them to perform their jobs within the confines of their respective homes.”

Threshold for WFH arrangements

Accordingly, PEZA has appealed to the FIRB to reinstate the basis of the threshold of the WFH arrangement to gross revenue instead of the total workforce as a temporary measure available to IT enterprises. This is to support their recovery and protect their employees from the risks of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace.

The revenue-based computation of the threshold shall afford more protection to the employees and is more in keeping of the intent of the resolution.

Likewise, the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) has stated that the clarification on the threshold is “a fair treatment considering that any breach that might happen would only be due to compelling circumstances such as putting the health and safety of employees as more paramount. In light of the recent surges in COVID cases, our member companies are heeding the call of the National Government to place as many of their employees under WFH as possible so as not to expose them to the risk of catching COVID-19 when going out to work.”

Further, IBPAP explained, “Our members are registered enterprises that aim to maintain their export revenue commitments and keep their people to ensure seamless delivery of services. However, there are factors affecting revenue and employee attrition that are beyond the control of the enterprise.”

As such, PEZA also requested for leniency on the imposition of the penalty as the enterprises are struggling to comply with the latest directive from the FIRB.

“We need to unite all our efforts to combat this crisis and to help revive our economy. Let us do our best to provide assistance to our investors and merge our collaborative initiatives for our country and our people,” noted Director General Plaza.

PEZA Chief: No transfer of jurisdiction over labor disputes under the proposed AIPP, rights of workers are guaranteed

PEZA Chief: No transfer of jurisdiction over labor disputes under the proposed AIPP, rights of workers are guaranteed
September 24, 2021
PEZA Chief: No transfer of jurisdiction over labor disputes under the proposed AIPP, rights of workers are guaranteed

PEZA Chief: No transfer of jurisdiction over labor disputes under the proposed AIPP, rights of workers are guaranteed
 

24 September 2021 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has clarified that the proposed Alliance for Industrial Peace and Program (AIPP) neither intends to remove jurisdiction over labor disputes from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) nor aims to prejudice the constitutional and statutory rights of workers in the economic zones.
 

Established in 2018 in partnership with the Philippine National Police (PNP), the AIPP is the proposed successor of the now defunct Joint Industrial Peace Council (JIPCO) which has for its primary object the preemption and prevention of crimes, of whatever nature, within the economic zones as it carries out its mandate of promoting and maintaining industrial peace. It aims not only to safeguard the rights of the workers guaranteed them by the constitution and the law, but also to secure their lives and property.

“Peace and security are important factors of investment to all PEZA-registered enterprises so they can be viable with their operations in the Philippines as they compete in the global market. Through the AIPP and its IRR, we believe this will harness the ease of doing business (EODB) in our zones as we implement the township concept and help provide a safe and secure ecozone environment for all of the Filipino and foreign workers, locators, and investors in ecozones,” said the PEZA Chief.

Director General Plaza likewise emphasized that PEZA has two (2) non-negotiables: 1) protection of the environment; and 2) rights of the workers. “PEZA assures that its policies are aligned with that of the DOLE and International Conventions and Trade Policies, particularly in the areas of Human Rights, Labor, Environmental Protection, and Good Governance,” she noted.

Various measures and policies are in place in order to ensure that the constitutional and statutory rights of the workers (Freedom of Association and Social Dialogues, among others) are upheld and promoted in the economic zones.

Moreover, labor-related seminars and trainings are continuously being conducted in order to raise awareness among the workers and management of their rights, duties, and obligations. In 2019 and up until the second quarter of 2020, 25 seminars were conducted. Further, PEZA’s Industrial Relations Division and units in its public zones in Cavite, Baguio, and Mactan continuously provide labor-related assistance to workers and management alike, not only in the settlement of disputes, but also in giving guidance in the proper exercise of the right to organize, bargain collectively, peaceably assemble, security of tenure, among others, on the part of the workers, and the proper exercise of management prerogative on the part of the management.

To date, PEZA has recorded and monitored more than 70 unions in 67 locators located in the 27 economic zones nationwide. Of the 78 unions, 22,372 union members are working inside the economic zones, of which 13,231 are male and 9,141 are female.

PEZA to start construction of iconic, historical, and green headquarters in Pasay

PEZA to start construction of iconic, historical, and green headquarters in Pasay
September 23, 2021
PEZA to start construction of iconic, historical, and green headquarters in Pasay

PEZA to start construction of iconic, historical, and green headquarters in Pasay
 

23 September 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – In relentless efforts to remain as the top export-oriented investment promotion agency (IPA) in the country and promote sustainable development, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza has announced on Monday, September 20, the construction of the new PEZA building in Almeda, Roxas Boulevard corner San Luis Street, Pasay City following the groundbreaking ceremony for the landmark building.
 

One of the major projects of PEZA under the Transformation Roadmap (TRM), the PEZA Chief noted that the new PEZA Building, which is done in partnership with the LBP Leasing and Finance Corporation (LLFC), “shall represent our continuous pursuit to improve our global competitiveness and support our plans and programs for the next years in accordance with our vision and mandate.”

“The Rhodium 688 Builders, Inc. shall construct our proposed steel-based 13-story building which will be funded through a lease-to-own agreement with the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) where we expect to attain ownership in 15 years,” said Plaza.

A balanghai-inspired building

The PEZA Chief highlighted that, “our new home will serve as a world-class business investment center, industry excellence, and as a tourism ecozone encapsulating Rhodium 688 Builders’ [winning] inspiration and ours for this resplendent design: a balanghai-inspired building.”

“This historical edifice which I first envisioned back in 2018 symbolizes our nation’s deep-rooted values of ingenuity, astuteness, innovativeness, and the bayanihan spirit as we work together towards achieving a common goal and forming strategic partnerships through trade, investment, and commercial activities.” Plaza noted.

Rhodium 688 Builders Inc. Architect Geefy P. Evangelista explained that “the new PEZA headquarters shall represent as a show window to multinational and future locators. The balanghai is indeed a symbolic element that we will use in this project as it also embodies PEZA’s functions.”

Meanwhile, the LLFC Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and Executive Vice President (EVP) Edward Reyes who virtually graced the ceremony commended the Director General for her initiatives in the long-awaited initial step towards the creation of the new PEZA headquarters.

Reyes said that while the pandemic caused a slight delay, “PEZA is ready to set sail to new frontiers with the joint efforts of LLFC, the assistance of Santos Knight Frank Management, and the Rhodium 688 Builders.”

“Together, we will be building an iconic and environment-friendly structure. It is a structure befitting PEZA’s mandates which brings investors to our country, generate employment, and create more opportunities for millions of our fellowmen,” Reyes added.

PEZA’s Transformation Road Map

The PEZA Chief said, “Our new PEZA headquarters will serve as an ecozone model to the world as we continue to aggressively address our services to be closer to the people, enhancing the ease of doing business, and addressing efficiency factors to lower the cost of doing business in the country.”

The Director General also mentioned that aside from the establishment of the new building, PEZA is also gearing to implement the other major projects under her term such as the automation of payments, new Compensation and Position Classification System (CPCS), transformation of public zones together with the new PEZA building to become models of township, green, healthy and smart ecozones as well as the creation of different types of ecozones nationwide to attract various industries through utilizing millions of hectares of idle lands.

Further, on the first half of 2021, the investments made by PEZA amounted to PhP 32.057 Billion which is 8.52% higher compared to last year’s approved investments worth PhP 29.541 Billion.

“We have to be creative and resourceful in creating and attracting investments, jobs, livelihood, bringing in of technology, and develop idles lands to achieve total economic development especially in the countryside,” Plaza added.

At present, the PEZA headquarters is located at the 8th to 10th floors of the DoubleDragon Center West Building in Macapagal Avenue, Pasay City. The balanghai-inspired PEZA building is estimated to finish in 5 years.

PEZA strengthens economic relations with Saudi Arabia for more investment opportunities in the countryside

PEZA strengthens economic relations with Saudi Arabia for more investment opportunities in the countryside
September 10, 2021
PEZA strengthens economic relations with Saudi Arabia for more investment opportunities in the countryside

PEZA strengthens economic relations with Saudi Arabia for more investment opportunities in the countryside
 

10 September 2021 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – With its one-stop and non-stop shop brand of service despite the ongoing pandemic, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza, with H.E. Adnan V. Alonto, Ambassador of the Philippines to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), have invited more Saudi Arabian investors to invest and locate their industries in various economic zones during the recent PEZA’s Global Biz Special Edition: Philippines-Saudi Business Forum last September 6.
 

Director General Plaza said, “We aim to have more investors from Saudi Arabia and widen our reach for industries unique only in the country. At present, there are three (3) PEZA-registered Saudi Arabian enterprises engaged in IT services and contribute PhP 18.61 million of investments in the Philippines.”

Potential economic zones for Saudi Arabian investors

In line with PEZA’s Transformation Road Map which heeds to the goals of Administrative Order No. 18 in spreading the creation of economic zones especially in the countryside, PEZA is actively involving various local government units (LGUs) to transform idle lands in the regions into ecozones.

Director General Plaza stated, “The agro-industrial, agro-forestry, mineral processing, halal hubs, aqua-marine, and renewable energy parks are the most feasible and viable types of economic zones in attracting Saudi Arabian investors.”

She added, “Ecozones will be promoted and expanded to attract foreign and local investors as part of diversification strategy and strengthening value chain resilience.”

“As such, we have identified Agusan del Sur, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Quezon Province, and Tawi-Tawi among all other locations for this move. We also hope to get the proclamation of ecozones in Tawi-Tawi for international seaports which are good for refinery and oil companies of interested investors from KSA,” the PEZA Chief said.

Trade and investment opportunities in the Philippines

Ms. Charmaine Mignon S. Yalong, the Commercial Attaché to the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) – Dubai of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), also believes that the Philippines is still considered as an investment entry hub to Saudi Arabian investors.

According to her, “Even before the pandemic, the Philippines is the third fastest growing economy in Asia with low and stable inflation rates of an average of 3% from 2016 to 2020. This strong growth was supported by the resurgence of the manufacturing sector.”

Yalong also pointed out the report from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) highlighting that “despite the pandemic and its harsh effects, economic growth in the Philippines has accelerated in the second quarter of 2021 to 11.8% compared to -16.9% during the same period last year. Likewise, our nation’s economy is projected to expand by 5.5 in 2021, 6.5% by 2022, and 6.1% by 2023.”

As noted by Ambassador Alonto, “The Philippines already has in place great opportunities for those looking for great returns on investments even during this time of the global pandemic. The Philippine economy has just exited a pandemic-induced recession with its fastest year-on-year growth in more than three decades.”

The PEZA Chief and the PTIC - Dubai Commercial Attaché are positive that the Philippines continues to attract more investment prospects especially with the country’s advantageous demographic spot and a large pool of young, competitive, and skilled workforce.

Building deeper ties with KSA

Expressing his support on deeper liaisons between the KSA and PEZA, the Assistant Secretary-General for The International Affairs Federation of Saudi Chambers, Mr. Waleed H. Alorainan said, “I am delighted to see the participation of His Excellency in this collaboration as it shows the importance of our need to increase and expand our [investment] opportunities in the Philippines.”

DG Plaza and Ambassador Alonto are also looking forward to the official visit of the Saudi Arabian Minister of Labor to Manila to engage with Philippine economic leaders and officials.

“DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez is also scheduled to bring in the Philippines a business delegation to Saudi Arabia before the end of the year,” said Ambassador Alonto.

PEZA invites Filipino-Chinese investors to locate in its Ecozones

PEZA invites Filipino-Chinese investors to locate in its Ecozones
August 27, 2021
PEZA invites Filipino-Chinese investors to locate in its Ecozones

PEZA invites Filipino-Chinese investors to locate in its Ecozones
 

27 August 2021 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has invited the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) to locate and consider PEZA as a potential investment destination, at the recently concluded Global Biz forum where the FFCCCII was featured market.
 

PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza said “Filipino-Chinese businessmen are among the country’s big landowners enticed by PEZA to become economic zone developers and local business partners of foreign investors.”

“We aim to invite more investors to the country and replicate the multiplier effects our enterprises created by locating and even creating more ecozones in the country,” says the Director General.

At present, we have 172 Chinese locators registered under PEZA. These companies contribute PhP 24.093 Billion in investments, 196.374 Million USD in exports, and employ 10,518 workers.

Interests in doing businesses with PEZA

On the part of Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs and enterprises, it was shared that China sees the Philippines as a feasible and a viable location for its young, skilled, English-speaking workforce, and sturdy infrastructure with various land potentials which can be further amplified with the assistance of PEZA.

FFCCCII President Mr. Henry Lim Bon Liong said, “Our federation members and many Chinese investors expressed their interests to explore opportunities to do business in PEZA ecozones especially in export-manufacturing, IT services, tourism, agro-industrial, and logistics. We believe there’s more room for PEZA to expand Chinese and Filipino investors.”

Reviving the economy

Meanwhile, the Philippine Ambassador to China, H.E. Jose Santiago L. Sta. Romana commends PEZA for its initiatives in keeping with the whole of nation’s efforts to restore the vibrancy of the Philippine economy in the aftermath caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ambassador Sta. Romana said, “Promoting investments and trade is an essential function of the Philippine representation in China. Therefore, The Philippine Embassy, the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Beijing as well as representative offices of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) take every opportunity to promote the Philippines as an ideal destination for investments and trade among investment prospects here in China.”

Director General Plaza assured, “PEZA remains true to its mandate of promoting investments, creating employment, and generating exports to be able to transform the Philippines into a self-reliant, self-sustaining, and resource-generating investment haven in Asia.”

The Global Biz with the FFCCCI last August 12 was part of the back-to-back event with a Special Edition Global Biz on economic resurgence and disaster resilience for safer and investor-attractive economic zones, which was done in partnership with the Philippine Red Cross the next day, August 13.

PEZA, Israeli investors pursue cooperation on Defense and Pharmaceutical Ecozones Creation  

PEZA, Israeli investors pursue cooperation on Defense and Pharmaceutical Ecozones Creation  
August 27, 2021
PEZA, Israeli investors pursue cooperation on Defense and Pharmaceutical Ecozones Creation  

PEZA, Israeli investors pursue cooperation on Defense and Pharmaceutical Ecozones Creation  
 

27 August 2021 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – Staying true to its mandate despite the pandemic, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza has invited more Israeli investors to the Philippines and explore more investment opportunities in the economic zones during the Global Biz featuring Israel last Wednesday, August 18.
 

Director General Plaza said, “Ecozones will hasten the development of our regions and achieve a more inclusive growth. This is also the best and fastest economic masterplan that national government must promote to hasten development especially in the countryside and bounce back from this crisis.”

Israeli Investors in PEZA

To date, there are seven (7) Israeli enterprises registered under PEZA. These companies contribute PhP 114.521 Million in investments, 0.255 Million USD in exports, and employ 175 workers.

The PEZA Chief emphasized, “We must attract more Israeli investors to come and bring the industries that are unique only to Israeli especially those venturing into pharmaceutical and defense industries as these are very timely at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We have created different types of economic zones such as the Pharmaceutical Ecozone and the Defense Industrial Complex to make use of our idle lands and cater to your industries that will in turn boost socio-economic progress in the regions,” she added.

This has likewise been supported by H.E. Macairog Alberto, the Ambassador of the Embassy of the Philippines in Israel, who was present during the event. He said, “The Philippines is strategically located in the [Pacific] region where Israeli companies [and investors] can engage in end-to-end operations from training, to manufacturing, assembly, logistics, and sales services at a significantly low-rating costs.”

Advantages of Israeli investors locating in the Philippines

Aside from the opportunities for investors in the economic zones, several stakeholders of PEZA also shared their testimony about the advantages of being registered with PEZA.
AXADRA Ventures, Inc. President Mr. Bernardo San Juan noted, “Working with PEZA is straightforward, transparent, and offers ease of access to decision-makers with minimal bureaucracy. What we love about PEZA is that their values are similar to ours.”

Mr. San Juan also highlighted that, “Because of the incentives that PEZA gives, it allowed us to invest in technology where we were able to automate a lot of our workflow which is a gamechanger for us. It allows us to quadruple our revenue without necessarily adding manpower.”

These statements have likewise been seconded by Mr. Clifford Academia, the AVP for Operations of LIMA Land, Inc., and the Israel Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ICCP) President Mr. Yoray Ofek.

According to Mr. Academia, “The tried and tested formula of PEZA has been instrumental in our decision to invest in our already saturated Southern Luzon industrial zone landscape.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Ofek noted that “PEZA is your [best] partner to locate offices, to recommend to people who comes here from different market segments, and to invest [in the Philippines] by doing it in the right way. There is a place for everyone such as in medical, IT-BPO, and defense complexes.”

More collaborations with PEZA

Furthermore, the Ambassador Designate of Israel to the Philippines, H.E. Ilan Fluss, has shared his support for PEZA’s ventures as he expressed his excitement for long-term collaborations and investment promotions between Israel and PEZA for economic growth on their respective nations.

Ambassador Fluss said, “As the incoming Ambassador, my main goal is to promote business activities and economic relations between our two (2) countries. Israel is the source of innovation, technology, and high-tech entrepreneurship with a lot of experience and expertise. Which is why, Israel would like to share these to the Philippines.”

Director General Plaza has expressed gratitude for the continued support and collaboration between the two countries despite the present challenges. “We will continue to make opportunities out of these difficulties in order to achieve our goal of making the Philippines a self-reliant, self-sustaining, and resource-generating investment haven in Asia,” she noted.

PEZA is also gearing up to hosting a Global Biz forum featuring Malaysian investors in partnership with the Embassy of the Philippines in Malaysia and its counterpart embassy in Manila this September 2021.

PEZA, Red Cross to establish joint efforts on economic resurgence and disaster resilience for safer and investor-attractive ecozones 

PEZA, Red Cross to establish joint efforts on economic resurgence and disaster resilience for safer and investor-attractive ecozones 
August 19, 2021
PEZA, Red Cross to establish joint efforts on economic resurgence and disaster resilience for safer and investor-attractive ecozones 

PEZA, Red Cross to establish joint efforts on economic resurgence and disaster resilience for safer and investor-attractive ecozones 
 

19 August 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza and the Philippine Red Cross Chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish joint efforts on economic resurgence and disaster resilience for safer and investor-attractive economic zones.
 

This comes after PEZA, PRC, and the Office of Senator Gordon conducted an Online Nationwide Forum on Vaccination and Reviving the Economy with over 1,000 participants from ecozone locators and industry stakeholders last Friday, August 13.

The MOU Signing with PEZA and PRC adds to Director General Plaza’s vision of safe and secured ecozones with similar Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) entered with the Armed Forced of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“We are one with Sen. Gordon, the PRC, and the national government’s efforts to obtain herd immunity through COVID-19 vaccination that shall result to the full reopening of businesses and bring back our vibrant and thriving economy,” stated PEZA Chief Plaza.

In keeping ecozones safer against the COVID-19, the Director General further added that PEZA is continuously performing its ‘balancing acts’ in helping registered enterprises. “All PEZA ecozone workers, especially our IT-BPO workers, are now included under the A4 priority group in the government’s COVID-19 free vaccination program,” the PEZA Chief said.

Meanwhile, Gordon emphasized the importance of reviving the country as a whole and strengthening the investment promotion agencies (IPAs) as they are an important tool to attract more investments, generate jobs, exports, and other economic opportunities in the Philippines.

The Senator said, “Lahat tayo ay kailangan magsama-sama and we all need to get vaccinated. The COVID-19 is dangerous which is why being tested, getting vaccinated, and following safety health protocols are important.”

On COVID-19 Delta variant and vaccination updates

With the increasing COVID-19 Delta variant positive cases and the continuous vaccination of the general public, Special Adviser of the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 Dr. Teodoro Herbosa emphasized the four (4) Cs towards gaining more information on the pandemic and the importance of disaster partnering.

Dr. Herbosa said, “Communication, cooperation, coordination, and collaboration are the important Cs that we should all be considering in fighting against the COVID-19.”

He likewise noted that the Philippines is doing well in the world ranking despite the ongoing pandemic.

The NTF Special Adviser highlighted, “As of July 2021, the total positive cases in the Philippines amounted to more than 1.5 million with 47,996 active cases, and 1.8% fatality rate. There are also low positive cases per 100,000 population with only 1,385.”

“Our measures are actually good in preventing transmissions but not so much the same in our economy since many economic industries were affected,” Dr. Herbosa added.

Dr. Herbosa also estimated that around 1.2 million people were saved from the pandemic when strict lockdowns started in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, on Delta variant cases, he explained that Delta is rapidly spreading around the world, is more transmissible, and is taking predominance of the Betta variant [from South Africa].

He said, “Of the new [positive] cases particularly in children, many are from Delta. As such, one vaccine dose is less effective as compared to two doses.”

In support to Dr. Herbosa’s statement of attaining vaccine deployment in the Philippines before 2021 ends, PEZA Chief Plaza said, “With the rollout of vaccines and the implementation of ecozone vaccination program, the ecozone industry can help contribute to the government's attainment of 70% herd immunity within the year and the country's full reopening of the economy and transition to the new normal.”

PEZA - Philippine Red Cross MOU Signing

As part of the online nationwide forum, PEZA Director General Plaza and Philippine Red Cross Chairman and Senator Richard Gordon signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the facilitation of disaster preparedness programs in economic zones.

Under the signed MOU, PEZA and PRC will carry out measures geared towards enhancing the coordination on technical assistance and the capability building in adopting the Disaster Management Services (DMS) core programs in PEZA economic zones.

PEZA Chief Plaza said, “I thank Sen. Gordon and the Philippine Red Cross for this great partnership in making our country better and stronger. This partnership will allow us to explore opportunities for joint cooperation in amplifying disaster risk reduction and become emergency responders to better equip us against manmade and natural disasters.”

The President of Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI) Mr. Danilo Lachica also showed his support to the MOU Signing between PEZA and PRC.

Lachica said, “Thank you Director General Plaza and Sen. Gordon for your undying support especially to the electronics industry. Over the years, SEIPI has been supportive of PEZA and PRC’s initiatives such as in blood-letting and industry CSR donations.”

Likewise, Sen. Gordon described the MOU Signing as “the hallmark of the exercise of humanitarian citizenship.”

Gordon said, “With this signing, all PEZA and PRC staffs, employees, and locators must take to heart that we must live in a world characterized by our love of humanity and our service to our fellowmen.”

Photo taken from Zoom in courtesy of PEZA. PEZA Director General Plaza & Philippine Red Cross Chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon signed the MOU for economic resurgence and disaster preparedness.

Photo taken from Zoom in courtesy of PEZA. PEZA Director General Plaza with Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning Tereso Panga and Philippine Red Cross Chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon were joined and supported by the SEIPI President Danilo Lachica and Special Adviser of National Task Force on COVID-19 Dr. Teodoro Herbosa.

PEZA approved investments surge at 8.52% in the first half of 2021

PEZA approved investments surge at 8.52% in the first half of 2021
August 3, 2021
PEZA approved investments surge at 8.52% in the first half of 2021

PEZA approved investments surge at 8.52% in the first half of 2021
  

03 August 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” B. Plaza has reported last Tuesday an increase of 8.52% in PEZA’s approved investments for the first half of 2021.
 

The PEZA Chief said, “PEZA remains true to its mandate of promoting investments, creating employment, generating exports, and attaining total economic development in our country as we maintain and implement strict COVID-19 protocols and guidelines in our ecozones. We will continue to transform challenges into opportunities so we can ceaselessly serve our Filipino people, our partners, locators, and investors.”

PEZA Performance

Total economic zone investments approved for the period of January 1 to June 30, 2021 amounted to PhP 32.057 Billion which is 8.52% higher compared to last year’s approved investments worth PhP 29.541 Billion. These investments came from 119 new and expansion projects and showcased a considerable growth of 5.31% compared to 113 in 2020.

Meanwhile, the actual exports for the period of January 1 to May 31, 2021 amounted to US$ 24.781 Billion with 1,604,877 generated employment. Compared to the same period in 2020, PEZA showcased a 23.35% growth for exports and an 8.58% increase in employment.

Majority of the investments came from various countries such as Japan, South Korea, India, Hong Kong, and China. Western countries also include Germany, Austria, France, Canada, and the United States of America.

In terms of regions in the Philippines where the investments will be located, the top-performing region is Region IV with PhP 10.010 Billion, followed by Regions VII, XI, and NCR.

PEZA Board approvals for June 2021

For the month of June, DG Plaza highlighted that “The PEZA Board has approved sixty-two (62) new projects.”

Among the 62 recently approved projects, 22 projects fall under IT enterprises, 20 for export manufacturing enterprises, 13 for facilities, and 7 for ecozone development projects.

“These projects are essential especially as we continue to go back to our vibrant and booming economy,” said Plaza.

Optimistic for the remaining months

“As we all move forward towards herd immunity and reopening our economy, PEZA is positive that we can fulfill the last few months of 2021 with flying colors. The COVID-19 pandemic cannot stop us from performing at our best and ensuring that we continuously attract more investments, generate exports, and produce jobs for millions of Filipinos even post-pandemic,” said the PEZA Director General.

PEZA continues its advocacy in promoting the creation of special economic zones particularly in the countryside by identifying and transforming idle lands into ecozones to help accelerate economic and employment development in the Philippines.

 

 

PEZA in closer collaboration with PH Embassy in Saudi Arabia and LGUs for ecozone development

PEZA in closer collaboration with PH Embassy in Saudi Arabia and LGUs for ecozone development
July 2, 2021
PEZA in closer collaboration with PH Embassy in Saudi Arabia and LGUs for ecozone development

PEZA in closer collaboration with PH Embassy in Saudi Arabia and LGUs for ecozone development
 

02 July 2021 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) had its second Global Biz Forum this 2021 with His Excellency Adnan V. Alonto, Ambassador of the Philippines to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), along with the Visayas and Mindanao LGUs on Tuesday, June 29, for closer collaborations towards implementing economic zone development in the countryside.
 

This is part of the Global Biz afternoon forum after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) respectively with the Technological University of the Philippines (TUPV), the University of the Cordilleras (UC), and LGUs in Hinobaan and Sipalay, Negros Occidental.

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza said, “By thinking global and acting local as our worldview in PEZA, we want to make the Philippines as a big contributor to the global supply chain. We created platforms in PEZA such as the Transformation Roadmap so we can explore and build new partnerships with institutions in the government and private sectors locally and abroad. This shall promote and enhance the competitiveness of the Philippine exports and investments.”

His Excellency Adnan V. Alonto virtually attended the Global Biz to express its support to PEZA’s mandate. He stated, “It is high time that we feature the potentials of Visayas and Mindanao local governments to the world as this can help the Philippines invite more investments.”

Adnan also added the importance of attaining herd immunity against the COVID-19 citing, “We hope by the time we reach December 2021, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will have achieved total herd immunity and I also wish the same to the Philippines.”

On potential ecozones in the countryside

In support to PEZA’s efforts in accelerating rural progress in the countryside as provided by the Administrative Order (AO) 18, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is focusing on the development of renewable energy, manufacturing, agro-economic, agro-fishery sectors, and potential economic zones in Mindanao particularly in the Bangsamoro region and Lanao del Sur.

On behalf of Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” F. Piñol, MinDA Executive Director Dr. Janet M. Lopoz said, “We realize the need to strengthen more on the agricultural and food [products] in Mindanao as this remains to be our anchor. Our initiatives on ecozone development is anchored on the Mindanao 2030 Vision that is driven by internationally competitive social and environmentally responsible enterprises built on judicious and sustainable management.”

Likewise, the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Executive Director Mohammad Basher L. Abas stated that “ecozones in BARMM can be established either through private initiatives, LGU initiatives with the Autonomous Regional Government, and Autonomous Regional Initiative.”

“Our goal is to begin and promote jobs and investments in our area and establish at least one economic zone in each of the BARMM provinces: Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lamitan, and Cotabato,” Abas added.

The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Director Saleha P. Sacar said, “The Marawi City LGU headed by Mayor Majul Gandamra is finally initiating the registration of his proposed lands for the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in BARMM, Cotabato, and Davao and are now scheduled for ocular inspection.”

Under the leadership of Director General Plaza, PEZA is in close collaboration with LGU partners in creating more economic zones to establish different industries that shall generate jobs and investments especially in the rural areas of the Philippines.

7% target in the increase of investments

With the anticipation of more interests from local and foreign entities and the recent passage of the CREATE Law, PEZA is confident in reaching the 7% investment growth target for 2021.

During a virtual press conference on Tuesday, Deputy Director General Tereso Panga said, “PEZA’s target is an improvement from our last year’s PhP 95.03 billion. We are looking at an increment of about PhP 6 billion and we have a strong basis for this projection because of the increasing foreign direct investments (FDI).”

According to Panga, “The United Conference on Trade and Development in 2020 has reported that FDIs in the Philippines rose by 29% despite the pandemic, while the trend in other Southeast Asian countries is the opposite.”

PEZA remains positive that it can attract more investments into the Philippines especially with the enactment of CREATE.

PEZA inks MOUs with TUP Visayas, University of the Cordilleras, and various LGUs for ecozone partnerships

PEZA inks MOUs with TUP Visayas, University of the Cordilleras, and various LGUs for ecozone partnerships
July 2, 2021
PEZA inks MOUs with TUP Visayas, University of the Cordilleras, and various LGUs for ecozone partnerships

PEZA inks MOUs with TUP Visayas, University of the Cordilleras, and various LGUs for ecozone partnerships
 

02 July 2021 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – Forging a general framework for collaboration and developing the economic zones in the countryside, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) signed Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) respectively with the Technological University of the Philippines Visayas (TUPV), the University of the Cordilleras (UC), and LGUs of Sipalay and Hinobaan on Tuesday, June 29, 2021.
 

The MOU signings were held during this year’s second Global Biz with PEZA with the theme, “Accelerating Rural Progress through President Rodrigo Roa Duterte Administrative Order (AO) 18: Creation of Special Economic Zones in the Countryside”.

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza stated, “We are witnessing another milestone of our PEZA programs as we sign MOUs with the TUPV and the UC to become a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). This serves as educational and training program of PEZA with the goal of making the Philippines as an investment haven in Asia and embracing our worldview of Thinking Global and Acting Local.”

PEZA-TUPV MOU Signing

TUPV President Dr. Jesus Rodrigo F. Torres physically attended the MOU signing at the PEZA Auditorium together with the TUPV Alumnus and one of PEZA’s Ka-PIPPs partners, Mr. Ramon Boy Espedido, Campus Director Dr. Selfa J. Briones, and Campus Vice President Dr. Maria Leonor F. Validor.

The MOU signing aims TUPV to provide progressive leadership in applied research, developmental studies in technical, industrial, and technological fields and production using indigenous materials and effect technology transfer in the countryside.

Torres expressed that, “Since TUPV has embarked on urban agriculture planning and the greening of the campuses, the term ‘eco’ in ecozones could also mean ecological zones because that is going to be one of the most important concerns of human beings in the near future.”

He further added that TUPV is embarking on this frontier of becoming an economic zone to develop the university’s real estate properties that shall systematically improve people’s standard of living pursuant to their mission to effect technology transfer on the countryside.

Torres believes that the Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST) Park is a brilliant idea and a dream come true for universities towards achieving a higher-quality education. As such, one of TUPV properties which is a three-hectare land area in Talisay City, Negros Occidental is identified as viable and feasible for establishing a KIST Park.

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the TUPV President Dr. Jesus Rodrigo F. Torres at the PEZA Auditorium. (Photo courtesy with PEZA)

PEZA-UC and LGUs virtual MOU signings for economic zone development

In view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the University of the Cordilleras (UC) together with LGUs in Sipalay and Hinobaan simultaneously signed the MOUs virtually in four different locations in the Philippines: Pasay City, Benguet, Sipalay, and Hinobaan, Negros Occidental.

The MOU signing between PEZA and the UC serves as a framework for mutual benefit in creation of ecozones to facilitate, promote, and accelerate economic development in the countryside.

UC President Nancy M. Flores said in her statement, “In the context of knowledge society, educational institutions are to embrace an additional function of the role beyond teaching.” Flores added that the MOU signing is in line with university’s mission as it centers on knowledge transfer and innovation.

“The collaboration of the academia and government industries is a must to meet labor demands and work-based competencies. This aims to increase students’ employability and leverage its positive impact on the community.” Flores noted.

Meanwhile, in pursuit of becoming a recognized economic zone, Hinobaan City Mayor Ernesto Estrao said, “In behalf on the people of Hinobaan, we are very grateful for this historical occasion in our town. This has been our long-awaited dream to become an economic zone through the help of PEZA.”

With becoming an economic zone in the southern part of Negros Occidental, Estrao and PEZA Chief Plaza believe that this will reduce poverty in his town and neighboring areas.

Mayor Gina Lizares of Sipalay City also mentioned, “We must jumpstart our economy especially during this pandemic, therefore, we must strive to a balanced economic development and environmental conservation.”

Estrao and Lizares commended Plaza for her dedication in accelerating rural progress and the creation of SEZ and KIST particularly in the rural areas of the Philippines.

Director General Plaza expressed her gratitude and enthusiasm in the increasing numbers of PEZA partners in promoting investments and transforming the Filipino youth and laborers to become multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, and world-class workers.

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza virtually signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the CU President Nancy M. Flores and LGUs Sipalay and Hinobaan Mayors Ernesto Estrao and Gina Lizares Via Microsoft Teams. (Screenshot courtesy with PEZA)

PEZA, export enterprises appeal for suspension of the implementation of BIR RR No. 9-2021

PEZA, export enterprises appeal for suspension of the implementation of BIR RR No. 9-2021
July 1, 2021
PEZA, export enterprises appeal for suspension of the implementation of BIR RR No. 9-2021

PEZA, export enterprises appeal for suspension of the implementation of BIR RR No. 9-2021
 

01 July 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and its registered export enterprises have appealed for a status quo on the implementation of BIR Revenue Regulation (RR) No. 9-2021, which has taken effect on 27 June 2021, 15th day of its publication.
 

BIR RR No. 9-2021 identified transactions that shall now be subject to the 12% Value Added Tax (VAT) which are previously taxed at zero percent, particularly those considered as export sales under Executive Order No. 226 or the Omnibus Investments Code of 1987 and other special laws.

In a letter to the Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlo Dominguez III, PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza, in behalf of its registered business enterprises (RBEs), has sought for clarification regarding the issued RR in relation to the express provision of the recently passed Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE) Law (RA No. 11534).

“We would like to seek confirmation that local purchases of PEZA export enterprises, whether from an export-oriented or domestic enterprise, shall be taxed at zero percent VAT subject to the condition required under the provisions of Section 295 of RA 11534 and Section 5 of its IRR,” said the PEZA Chief.

The Director General noted, “The inclusion of the RR in the final draft of CREATE’s implementing rules and regulations and the amendment of the definition of ‘export sales’ in the law has created the impression and interpretation that sale to PEZA RBEs shall be automatically subject to 12% VAT.”

Deferment of implementation

Likewise, PEZA has requested for the deferment of the implementation of RR No. 9-2021 or status quo to give its export enterprises the opportunity and sufficient time to study the regulations before its implementation.

Furthermore, the Director General noted that the deferment will “provide the IPAs and concerned government agencies the opportunity to institute mechanisms and procedures to effectively implement the new regulations particularly in ensuring that the condition set forth in the availment of the VAT zero-rating incentive shall be fully complied.”

Effect to PEZA enterprises

PEZA also expressed concern that the implementation of the RR will add to the burden of the RBEs and will in turn affect their overall competitiveness in the world market.

Likewise, Plaza said “The additional VAT is an unnecessary expense that will make the Philippines unattractive to foreign investors.”

“Amidst the pandemic, the PEZA RBEs are the ones who helped keep the PH economy afloat. What we must do is to ensure that existing enterprises should stay and expand their operations instead of driving them away by removing their incentives and imposing another form of taxes,” noted Plaza.

PEZA has requested for a meeting with the DOF Secretary and BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay to discuss the request and the impact of the RR to its registered enterprises.

PEZA signs MOU with PUP Maragondon and STI-Rosario to match and link labor skills to industry-needs

PEZA signs MOU with PUP Maragondon and STI-Rosario to match and link labor skills to industry-needs
June 28, 2021
PEZA signs MOU with PUP Maragondon and STI-Rosario to match and link labor skills to industry-needs

PEZA signs MOU with PUP Maragondon and STI-Rosario to match and link labor skills to industry-needs 
 

28 June 2021 (Monday)
 

Cavite – PEZA Director General Charito Plaza on Thursday led the ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between PEZA and the two colleges, PUP Maragondon and STI-Rosario. This was held at the Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ) in Rosario Cavite last June 24, 2021.
 

Joining the Director General was Atty. Norma B. Tañag, Zone Administrator of CEZ, Dr. Agnes Y. Gonzaga representing PUP Maragondon and Mr. John Michael P. Cells, representing STI Rosario.

Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Institute

The MOU signifies the commitment of these two colleges and PEZA to create a Special Economic Zone Institute (SEZ Institute) in the locality, which is one of the pioneer program of the Authority under its Transformation Roadmap that is being pushed by PEZA under the leadership of Plaza.

In the SEZ Institute Program, PEZA partners with different Universities and Colleges, both public or private, in order to provide the necessary education skills and training for the Filipino people as they prepare to enter the labor force and fulfill the needs of various export-industries in the country.

“PEZA underscores the value of harnessing Filipinos’ skills, talents, and employability by taking steps to provide opportunities for education and training in order to produce world-class workers that are multi-knowledge and multi-skilled and ready to work in industries,” said the PEZA Chief.

“Our Filipino workers are sought after by many foreign investors because they are young, dynamic, intelligent, equipped with global-knowledge and skills and can speak English well. This is one of the reasons why a lot of companies choose to invest in the Philippines because they are confident that the workers we produce are equipped with the necessary skills to match the needs of their business,” Plaza explained.

STI-Rosario is one with the goal of PEZA and is committed to support its SEZ Institute program in order to help provide various educational programs/courses that will help hone the skills of their students.


PEZA Director General Plaza with CEZ Zone Administrator Atty. Norma B. Tañag, PUP Maragondon Director Dr. Agnes Yumon Gonzaga, and Mr. Ronald Flores, Department Manager of Operations- CEZ.

PUP Maragondon likewise shares this vision which is aligned with its mission to provide excellent, equitable and relevant educational opportunities in the arts, sciences and technology, through quality instruction and responsive research and development activities, producing professional, skilled and morally upright individuals for global competitiveness.

STI Rosario Representative Mr. John Michael P. Cells and CEZ ZA Atty. Norma B. Tañag

Director General Plaza shared that “We, at PEZA believes in the power of education and skills training and have thus made learning readily available through various partnerships being done like this. Let us encourage others that they follow suit as well so that we can produce Filipino workers that we will all be proud of.”

PEZA signs MOU with the Benguet State University (BSU) and St. Louis University (SLU) for mutual economic and academic partnership 

PEZA signs MOU with the Benguet State University (BSU) and St. Louis University (SLU) for mutual economic and academic partnership 
June 25, 2021
PEZA signs MOU with the Benguet State University (BSU) and St. Louis University (SLU) for mutual economic and academic partnership 

PEZA signs MOU with the Benguet State University (BSU) and St. Louis University (SLU) for mutual economic and academic partnership 
 

25 June 2021 (Friday)
 

Baguio City – In an effort to generate jobs for Filipinos and thereby match labor needs of various export industries, and produce high-quality workforce and employment in the Philippines, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito Plaza led the signing of  Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with two prominent universities in Baguio City namely the Benguet State University (BSU) and St. Louise University (SLU), and the signing of the Deed of Donation and Acceptance Ceremony to three chosen schools last Tuesday, 22 June 2021.
 

The PEZA-BSU MOU Signing and the Deed of Donation and Acceptance Ceremony were held at the Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ). This was then followed by the PEZA-SLU MOU Signing at the university premises of SLU.

Plaza expressed, “This is indeed a very momentous day since we have just signed the MOU with two of the top universities in the Philippines, the Benguet State University and St. Louis University.”

On PEZA-BSU MOU Signing

The MOU aims to foster and develop a mutual partnership for the establishment of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Institute. The latter aims to serve as their joint organizational body and institutional facility to represent a shared commitment to study and install programs that will establish a locally-positioned promotion strategy for export-based investments in Benguet and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Further, PEZA and BSU aims for possible economic cooperation through research, instruction, production, and extension that shall serve as their platform for strategic goals and policy direction.

BSU President Felipe S. Comila has expressed his gratitude to PEZA stating that, “It is really a great privilege to be signing this MOU with PEZA for the purposes of economic [and academic] development. This is now the beginning; therefore, it is important that we have a vision to have mutual cooperation and be agile in our actions. We must leave a legacy for the Benguet community and CAR.”

Plaza has also encouraged the BSU to become a Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology – Special Economic Zone (KIST-SEZ) Institute.

PEZA Director General Plaza with BSU President Felipe S. Comila during the MOU Signing in BCEZ.

The Deed of Donation and Acceptance Ceremony

The PEZA Chief also signed the Deed of Donation and Acceptance in which desktop sets, other equipment, and furniture are given to three (3) schools: Buyagan Elementary School, Kias Elementary School, and Guisad Valley National Highschool.

This is in line with the PEZA-BCEZ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Project and to contribute a share for the cause of education of Filipino learners through the Adopt-A-School Program of the Department of Education (DepEd). It aims to further nurture the youth’s education in Baguio City to become well-educated and well-trained learners.

PEZA Director General Plaza and OIC-ZA Atty. Ross Vincent Sy with each representative from three (3) schools during the Deed of Donation and Acceptance Ceremony in BCEZ.

On the PEZA-SLU MOU Signing

Representing the academe and a government agency, St. Louis University (SLU) is now in partnership with PEZA that shall recognize the vital role of SLU in helping the government develop and promote the Cordillera as an export-oriented regional economy in the Philippines.

SLU President Father Gilbert B. Sales, CICM, PhD proudly stated that, “the MOU Signing with PEZA is a positive step as the timeliness of this joint endeavor has never been more favorable since we need the right push to recover and to return on track to accomplishing our respective institutional goals in the service of our people.”

Sales also expressed that the SLU recognizes and supports PEZA’s creation of Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST). “Research and development play a crucial role as they are the twin components of applied knowledge that can hugely improve and impact the export industry as well as the spur of national economy process,” he said.

In line with PEZA’ Transformational Roadmap with the goal of making the Philippines as an investment haven in Asia, Director General Plaza stated, “PEZA has developed a new type of economic zone known as SEZ Institute and training centers that shall be built in every region in public ecozones, SEZ, or in KIST Parks (SUCs, private universities) according to the skills and manpower needs of RDC/LGU-identified industries, integrating TESDA, DOST, and other government and private sector skills training programs for ecozone and industry workers.”

Partner schools shall bring their expertise, technology, skills, and degree programs as required by investors in various industries such as in IT/BPO, manufacturing, refinery, tourism, agro-industrial, medical and pharmaceutical. This in turn will transform the Filipino youth into multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, and world-class workers.

PEZA will assist SLU and BSU in exploring its potentials and academic assets into becoming a KIST-SEZ Institute. Plaza along with these universities is positive that continued cooperation is a must to achieve a higher cause.

PEZA Director General Plaza with SLU President Father Gilbert B. Sales, CICM, PhD during the MOU Signing at the university premises of SLU.

PEZA, ecozone workers’ vaccination to begin under A4 priority 

PEZA, ecozone workers’ vaccination to begin under A4 priority 
June 18, 2021
PEZA, ecozone workers’ vaccination to begin under A4 priority 

PEZA, ecozone workers’ vaccination to begin under A4 priority 
 

18 June 2021 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is set to start the vaccination of its employees as well as workers in PEZA-registered enterprises and ecozone based on PEZA directives under Memorandum Circular No. 2021-040, dated 09 June 2021.

PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza explained, “In my earnest efforts to discuss with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), we are pleased to announce that all PEZA ecozone workers have now been included under the A4 priority group (Frontline personnel in essential sectors) in the government’s COVID-19 free vaccination program.”
 

She noted, “This is just one of our ‘balancing acts’ for us to pay back our PEZA locators for giving jobs to their constituents, contributing to the social progress of the area with low poverty and crime incidence.”

A4 Priority Group Vaccination

Pursuant to the Department of Health (DOH) Memorandum No. 2021-0259, Implementing Guidelines for Priority Groups A4 and A5 and Further Clarification of the National Deployment dated 31 May 2021 and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines and the IATF Resolution No. 117 dated 27 May 2021, the following implementing guidelines which provide directions for the inoculation of Priority Group A4 are to be observed:

1. In consideration of the geographical prioritization, vaccine deployment for Priority Group A4 shall be initially focused on the (a) National Capital Region, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao; and (b) Workers from all other areas.
2. Priority Group A4 shall include individuals who are: (a) physically reporting to the workplace or (b) currently deployed or assigned to perform field work in the private and public/government sectors and the informal (including self-employed and working in private households) sector.
3. In situations where there is a limited supply of COVID- 19 vaccines, priority may be given to eligible Priority Group A4 workers within 40-59 years old, then to those 18-39 years old.

As discussed during the Capacity Building on COVID-19 Vaccination conducted by National COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) on 07 June 2021 and in order to facilitate efficient allocation and deployment of the COVID-19 vaccines, all ecozone locators/developers are hereby advised to:

1. Designate a focal person who shall take charge of the profiling and masterlisting of all employees;
2. Submit masterlist of all employees utilizing the provided template form to PEZA Zone Administrators and Zone Managers where the zones are located for consolidation by the PEZA Vaccine Task Force at Head Office and submission to the NVOC/IATF-MEID, subject to compliance with the minimum requirements of Republic Act 10173 (Data Privacy Act of 2012). In conducting the masterlisting, companies must also take into account and indicate those individuals who have already been fully inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine (2 doses), those who have comorbidity and/or allergies, senior citizens, among others.

“Based on the policy for the microplanning of the A4 vaccination rollout, companies are to submit the list to the LGUs. Companies may submit the list to PEZA, but it’s best that LGUs are in the loop so that while PEZA is coordinating at the national level, there’s also coordination at the local level,” noted Director General Plaza.
Furthermore, PEZA/ecozone developers, in coordination with NVOC may utilize any of the following modalities applicable to the needs of the locators within their jurisdiction for vaccination sites:
1. Establish its own vaccination sites and mobilize vaccination teams, compliant with the requirements particularly the Vaccination Workforce (Team and Personnel requirement), Vaccines, Logistics and Cold Chain Inventory and Management, Vaccination Site (including Standard Operational Protocols), Infection Prevention and Control Protocol, AEFI/AESI Surveillance System, Safety Surveillance and Response, among others.
2. NVOC can help in linking with existing vaccination sites with personnel capacities (e.g. AFP health services, national government hospitals such as the Lung Center of the Philippines).
3. Link with the LGUs and utilize the capacity of the LGU’s vaccination sites. The vaccination facilities of the LGUs referred to as the “Bakuna Center” nationwide may be accessed through this link:
https://cbcr.doh.gov.ph/Covid19BakunaCenterRegistryList?start=41

This is in accordance with the National Vaccination and Deployment Plan (NVDP) for the simultaneous and non-sequential vaccination of the A4 priority groups.

Also in compliance with the DOLE Labor Advisory No. 03, all ecozone locators/developers are hereby required to adopt and implement the appropriate vaccination policy in the workplace as part of their Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Program, which may include but not limited to:

a. Dissemination among their workers and personnel information on vaccine deployment activities, procedures, etc. in the LGUs;
b. Provision of proofs of eligibility to their workers such as but not limited to Company ID, contracts or permits, certificates of eligibility (e.g. employment, deployment, assignment) to their specific workers/personnel who belong to these priority subgroups, or any similar proof of occupation;
c. Adoption of a schedule system for their workers taking into consideration possible adverse reactions of vaccines, which may result in workers taking time off from work.
d. Provision of logistics support (including transport) to facilitate vaccination of their workers, and coordinate with LGUs for the vaccination.

Vaccination of Immediate Family Members

Moreover, the PEZA Chief has suggested for PEZA-registered companies who are already in the process of procuring their own vaccines, supplies, and other services for their COVID-19 vaccination to optionally offer these to their workers’ immediate family members. The vaccination facilities or assistance to workers may be included as an integral activity of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects.

“This move is a big help to fast track the vaccination process of the whole country and in turn contribute to nation-building and recovery by attaining herd immunity,” noted Plaza.

The PEZA Chief added, “This is also one way PEZA can contribute in the acceleration of the Philippine economy’s full reopening and transition to the new normal.”

PEZA, DOF, and BOI conducted an online webinar on CREATE law for export-industry stakeholders and locators

PEZA, DOF, and BOI conducted an online webinar on CREATE law for export-industry stakeholders and locators
June 8, 2021
PEZA, DOF, and BOI conducted an online webinar on CREATE law for export-industry stakeholders and locators

PEZA, DOF, and BOI conducted an online webinar on CREATE law for export-industry stakeholders and locators 
 

08 June 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – In line with the recent signing of the Republic Act No. 11534 also known as the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act into law, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) conducted an online webinar for export-industry stakeholders and ecozone locators which was held last 27 May 2021, through Microsoft Teams and YouTube.
 

With more than a thousand viewers from PEZA’s Official YouTube Page, the CREATE Online Dialogue was virtually attended by three respected resource speakers namely the Strategic Economics and Results Group (SERG) Assistant Secretary of the Department of Finance (DOF), Juvy C. Danofrata, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary and Board of Investments (BOI) Managing Head Dr. Ceferino S. Rudolfo, and the BOI Director for the Investments Policy and Planning Service Sandra Marie S. Recolizado.

Recognizing the need to change the national tax system specifically to the reduction of the corporate income tax (CIT), PEZA Director General Plaza said, “We have constantly lobbied with our legislators and fought until the end for the interest of our registered business enterprises who are efficiency-seekers and global market-driven.”

Plaza also added, “CREATE, just like other laws, is not perfect, but we can correct and enhance the implementation in its implementing rules and regulations (IRR).”

CREATE Law and its IRR

DOF Asec. & FIRB Head of Secretariat Danofrata stated that, “Under the CREATE Law, additional income tax holiday (ITH) of 3 years will be granted to registered enterprises and its activities that shall relocate from National Capital Region (NCR) and additional ITH of 2 years for registered enterprises located in areas recovering from disaster or conflict.”

Meanwhile, for the period of availment of incentives, Danofrata noted that it shall depend on two factors: First is where the activity or industry is located and second, in which category and activity it belongs to (or the tiers).

She explained, “For export enterprises, areas outside NCR and metropolitan areas have the maximum period of 17 years and for domestic market enterprise, maximum of 12 years.”

Further, DOF Danofrata mentioned that the functions of the FIRB have further been enhanced under the CREATE Law with roles such as systematically collecting and storing all tax incentives and benefit data, as well as evaluating and assessing the processes, outcomes and impacts of incentives to granted firms, conduct periodic performance review and maintain a masterlist of registered products and services for export or domestic consumption.

She also said, “Under the CREATE Law, there will be a publication annually of the data on amount of tax incentives and payments and other relative information and the FIRB is mandated to submit an impact evaluation results to the Office of the President and the Congress on an annual basis.”

Salient Features of IPP 2020 and SIPP

DTI Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Dr. Rudolfo explained, “The FIRB resolves that Memorandum No. 50 referring to the 2020 IPP as approved by the President Rodrigo Duterte on November 18, 2020, which took effect on December 6, 2020, and its general policies and specific guidelines to implement that the IPP shall serve as the transitional SIPP pending the issuance of the newly formulated SIPP under the CREATE.”

Rudolfo also noted the issuance of SIPP will be towards the end of this year or early part of 2022. Projects or activities that will qualify under the transitional SIPP (2020 IPP) at the minimum will be registered under Tier I.

Further, Rudolfo expounded on the relevance of 2020 IPP to PEZA and to its stakeholders explaining that, “With the FIRB resolution, PEZA’s stakeholders can take the listing of preferred activities under the 2020 IPP and locators who fall within the priorities under the 2020 IPP can continue to register its projects.”

The 2020 IPP is also aligned with PEZA threshold on the production and manufacture of export products stating that at least 50% of production shall be exported for domestic companies and at least 70% for foreign companies.

A one overriding objective

PEZA Deputy Director General for Operations Harriet O. Abordo noted that certain issues in implementations [IRR] are anticipated since the IRR are now more restrictive on the coverage of tax and duty-free importations of capital equipment, raw materials, supply, and VAT-zero rating which is applied to a more restrictive scope of goods and services.

Nonethelss, Abordo remains on the brighter side highlighting that, “Now that the CREATE is here, we have to move forward, thereby, it is very imperative for us to make this work. Afterall, we have one overriding objective: To generate investments so we can create jobs for our countrymen and looking forward that one day, no Filipino will go hungry and our OFWs can finally return to a more vibrant economy in the Philippines.”

PEZA is enthusiastic and positive to a fruitful and lively collaboration with the FIRB and the BOI in terms of SIPP to effectively implement CREATE in economic zones.

PEZA, PACC tie up for good governance in line with Duterte’s call to combat corruption

PEZA, PACC tie up for good governance in line with Duterte’s call to combat corruption
June 1, 2021
PEZA, PACC tie up for good governance in line with Duterte’s call to combat corruption

PEZA, PACC tie up for good governance in line with Duterte’s call to combat corruption

01 June 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), the top export-oriented investment promotion agency, has vowed to fight corruption during the launching of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission’s (PACC) Project KASANGGA: Tokhang Laban sa Korapsyon on 28 May 2021, Friday.
 

PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza along with other PEZA officials and employees have signed the “Anti-Corruption Manifesto”, a campaign led by PACC to participate in working for a more efficient government free from corruption, in line with the Duterte administration’s call to weed out corruption plaguing bureaucracy and other government agencies. 


PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza and other PEZA Officials making the pledge of cooperation in line with the Anti-Corruption Manifesto signing.

According to Plaza, “PEZA’s regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy and one-stop shop services have been widely recognized by our Filipino and foreign investors and various national and local institutions such as the IFC World Bank, the US Department of State, and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).”

Plaza noted that “Partnerships and programs such as this is crucial to maintain the trust and confidence of our economic zones developers and locator companies, which we’ve gained through the years.”

Project KASANGGA: Tokhang Laban sa Korapsyon

PACC Chairman Greco Belgica explained that Project KASANGGA: Tokhang Laban sa Korapsyon aims to simplify and even ensure fast coordination of PACC with institutions and agencies of the government and enhance and strengthen the campaign of the Duterte Administration against corruption.

With the said partnership, PEZA allows PACC to establish command centers to monitor, report, and resolve corruption cases within the Authority and to designate an acting PACC Deputy to man this center. PEZA will also be required anti-corruption advocacy learning instructions among personnel in coordination with PACC.


PEZA Director General Charito‘Ching’ Plaza and PACC Chairman Greco Belgica after the signing of the Anti-Corruption Manifesto.

PEZA’s Anti-corruption Measures & Practices

For her part, Plaza said “Various measures are being done under my leadership such as digitalization of payment transactions, stronger structure of our Internal Control Group, stricter ISO compliances, among others.”

She noted, “Ang isang ahensya ay magiging epektibo lamang kung ito ay nagpapakita ng efficiency, effectiveness, and credibility.”

“We believe that these efforts would not just help us pursue good governance and public accountability but will also help attract more foreign investors in the country and attain our goal of making the Philippines an investment haven in Asia,” she added.

President Duterte and Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go have expressed their support for the project which is in line with the administration’s vision for good governance and public accountability.

“Let me express my full support to this project which is consistent with my administration’s goal of ensuring transparency and accountability in Government. I hope this project will encourage all of us in government to set aside our personal interest so that we may instill a culture of decency, integrity, and honesty in public service,” said President Duterte.

“Naniniwala kaming hindi uusad ang bansa hanggat laganap ang korapsyon. Dapat linisin na natin ito para naman maibsan ang problema ng ating bansa at matutukan na natin ang ating pag-unlad,” added Senator Go.

PEZA ties up with Lapu-Lapu City to make it as Island Paradise of Investment Opportunities in PH amidst COVID Challenges

PEZA ties up with Lapu-Lapu City to make it as Island Paradise of Investment Opportunities in PH amidst COVID Challenges
June 1, 2021
PEZA ties up with Lapu-Lapu City to make it as Island Paradise of Investment Opportunities in PH amidst COVID Challenges

PEZA ties up with Lapu-Lapu City to make it as Island Paradise of Investment Opportunities in PH amidst COVID Challenges

01 June 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Lapu-Lapu City – Upholding a disease-free and security-dynamic Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and Export Industries in Lapu-Lapu City, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the City Government of Lapu-Lapu (CGL) has sealed the initiative to provide for free vaccine against COVID-19 for the economic zone administration personnel and the workforce of the various export industries at the Mactan Economic Zones (MEZ). 
 

PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza has emphasized the significance of attaining a COVID-free workforce of the export industries as an integral component in preparing the post-pandemic economic recovery platform for Lapu-Lapu, Cebu and the Visayas.

“The vaccination of our ecozone employees is one best way PEZA can contribute to the attainment of herd immunity, which will accelerate the country's full reopening of the economy and transition to the new normal,” noted Plaza.

With this, the Lapu-Lapu City LGU, under the stewardship of Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan, has pledged to provide and host for free inoculation of vaccine against COVID-19 for the said workforce and sector are said to be the most socially relevant cause during this period.

Both Director General Plaza and City Mayor Chan describe the workforce of export industries as the “economic frontliners”. It means the latter are maintaining their call of duty to continue to work for export-earning enterprises, despite that many local industries suspended their operations. Economic frontliners strive to foster business resiliency and continue promoting the city and the province as haven of export-based investments.


PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza with Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard ‘Ahong’ Chan during the DG’s visit to Cebu.

Furthermore, Director General Plaza, being a soldier and a public servant, in partnership with Mayor Chan, takes advantage of the current pandemic as an opportunity to train leaders and managers in the export industry sector to become crisis-oriented as key elements in building institutional machinery for economic resiliency for a better normal.

“As we continue to live under this new normal setting, let us unite in creating avenues to retain and even attract more investors to locate in the country, specifically in the countryside, and help the country bounce back to its vibrant economy once again while protecting both the health of our people and the businesses,” said Plaza.

PEZA fortifies partnership with the US-ASEAN Business Council to attract more investors to the Philippines

PEZA fortifies partnership with the US-ASEAN Business Council to attract more investors to the Philippines
May 26, 2021
PEZA fortifies partnership with the US-ASEAN Business Council to attract more investors to the Philippines

PEZA fortifies partnership with the US-ASEAN Business Council to attract more investors to the Philippines 
 

26 May 2021
 

Pasay City – To continue performing as the top export-oriented investment promotion agency (IPA) in the Philippines, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Plaza virtually graced the US-ASEAN Business Council held on May 19, 2021, via Zoom.

The US-ASEAN Business Council was also attended virtually by government officials namely: The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez; the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba, and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) Director General Rowel Barba.

 

The goal of the said council was to tackle where the U.S private sectors can support the Philippine Government in attaining its economic recovery goals, ensure sustainability, and inclusions all while bracing up for the challenges of the new normal.

Plaza expressed that, “Now more than ever, this US-ASEAN Business Council comes with great significance as we continue to promote the ease of doing business, enhance digital transformation and at the same time, continuously support the government’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to further strengthen the US-Philippines bilateral ties for regional peace and prosperity.”

As part of PEZA’s Balancing Acts, the agency continues to prioritize its economic mission, its mandate, and assisting registered companies in ensuring continual operations amidst the global pandemic.

Support to the national government

“PEZA is in full support to the national government’s efforts towards digitalization and participates in national projects such as the TradeNet (for import/export transactions), Central Business Portal (for business registration), and is embarking on our own digitalization efforts including digital payment solution and data integration of various data sources for easy monitoring and generation of management reports, as well as automation of client facing processes,” said the PEZA Chief.

Further, PEZA, in line with its initiative of DOLLAR Program launched last July 2020, is in partnership with WorkBank Philippines in conducting a virtual job fair making job vacancies and opportunities easily accessible to Filipinos seeking employment with PEZA-registered companies.

On COVID Vaccine Procurement

Aside from facilitating the purchase and administration of vaccines for ecozone locators and their workers on a per ecozone basis for ease of administration, Plaza said, “PEZA has recently brought in an Israeli investor that will manufacture COVID oral vaccines in the country which will be located in Angeles, Pampanga.”

Likewise, Plaza also added that, “Another ecozone developer has put up a Pharma Park to attract investors into manufacture of vaccines, medicines and vitamin supplements, hospital equipment for COVID and other medical purposes.”

In support with this and to encourage local production of vaccines, DTI Secretary Lopez said, “It’s in getting the vaccination roll out that is critical as well as the discoveries of new medicines. Manufacturing of vaccines in the country and its rollout will help us sustain the reopening of the economy.”

PEZA's role in the regional economic development

“In line with the AO 18, we hope to scatter and spread more ecozones nationwide especially in the countryside so that we can attract different types of industries,” the PEZA Chief said.

According to Plaza, PEZA aims to establish more Pharma ecozones, more Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST) parks, creating Defense Industrial Ecozones, Aqua-marine and Renewable Energy Park, mineral processing ecozones, and Halal hubs and production.

In addition, the recent collaboration with the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the Southern Philippine Development Authority (SPDA), the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and other cabinet members and executives from Mindanao led to identify 21 more proposed economic zones in support to the AO No. 18 signed by President Duterte in 2019 and EO 114 Balik-Probinsya Program.

Because of PEZA’s best practices in the ease of doing business and efforts to relentlessly attract more investors in the Philippines, PEZA has received various recognitions such as from the US Department of State. Stated in their official 2020 Investment Climate Statements, it says that “the business environment is notably better within the special economic zones, particularly those available for export businesses operated by PEZA, known for its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors.”

PEZA’s great balancing acts has also been recognized and was awarded the ‘Special Citation to Government Agencies amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic’ in the recent Freedom of Information (FOI) Awards.

PEZA deepens alliance with the American Chamber in securing more investors and stakeholders in PH

PEZA deepens alliance with the American Chamber in securing more investors and stakeholders in PH
May 26, 2021
PEZA deepens alliance with the American Chamber in securing more investors and stakeholders in PH

PEZA deepens alliance with the American Chamber in securing more investors and stakeholders in PH 
 

26 May 2021 (Wednesday)
 

Pasay City – In a bid to further strengthen ties with international investors, Philippine Director Charito “Ching” Plaza attended a Virtual General Membership Meeting spearheaded by the American Chamber (AmCham) of Commerce of the Philippines on May 19, 2021 via Zoom.

The said meeting of AmCham is done monthly as a way of providing a platform for discussion among key public and private stakeholders thereby expanding their networks and collaborate with a wide range of industry leaders.”

 

According to Plaza, “At present and in terms of nationality, the Americans are the third biggest investors in PEZA (15.20%) with about 976 American enterprises employing 294,137 workers in economic zones.”

Among the top industries of American investors in the Philippines are the call centers, business process outsourcing, software development, engineering, architectural and other design services, as well as radio, television, and communication equipment and apparatus.

Plaza is also proud to share the PEZA’s recent investment performance in the first quarter of 2021 as exports from ecozones increased 15.63% growth which is equivalent to $14.93 billion exports compared to last year covering the same period.

COVID-19 vaccinations on board

A COVID-19 survivor herself, PEZA Chief Plaza has mentioned in the AmCham’s General Membership meeting that just recently, economic zone workers in Lapu-Lapu City of Cebu will receive free COVID-19 vaccines under A4 priority as economic frontliners. Further, according to Plaza, PEZA is in talks with an Israeli investor that will manufacture oral COVID vaccines in PEZA’s ecozone located in Angeles, Pampanga.

“The vaccination program is one of the best ways PEZA can contribute to the attainment of herd immunity which will accelerate the country's full reopening of the economy and transition to the new normal.” Plaza added.
In line with this, AmCham Executive Director Ebb Hinchliffe said, “I am happy that we are now seeing a large influx of vaccines into the Philippines. By the end of May 2021, we will now have around 11 million vaccination doses and another 3 million doses by the end of June 2021.”

The PEZA Chief and Hinchliffe are positive that the Philippines [and the United States of America] will have a merrier Christmas for this year as compared to last year’s now that the country is starting its vaccinations specifically in the National Capital Region (NCR) and its surrounding provinces namely the Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, and Rizal to attain herd immunity.

The Transformational Roadmap

Despite that Philippines has abundant human and natural resources strategically located at the center of Asia and the Pacific, Plaza stressed out that, “We [the Philippines] still lack efficiency factors such as the supply chain, more logistics, and transportation hubs, credit facilities, and a very competitive tax and incentives regime.”

As such, Plaza developed a medium and long-term development plan for the next 25 years known as the “Transformational Roadmap” to unlock the potentials of the Philippine industries, further address the efficiency factors in economic zone development, build new partnerships, and enhance the competitiveness of Philippine exports, human capital, and investments.

PEZA and AmCham’s deepened partnership

The American Chamber also expressed their ceaseless and dynamic support, trust, and confidence to PEZA and is looking forward to the continuous leadership of Director General Plaza.

“Thank you, PEZA Director General Plaza, for the never-ending list of projects especially for all your assistance and addressing the concerns and issues of our locators,” said the AmCham Executive Director Ebb Hinchliffe.

Despite the uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, PEZA remains aggressive in keeping and even attracting more investors in the country to further protect both the economy and the Filipino workers. As such, this move has been recognized by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

The US Department of State stated in its official 2020 Investment Climate Statements that “the business environment is notably better within the special economic zones, particularly those available for export businesses operated by PEZA, known for its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors.”

With all these investment initiatives and recognitions of PEZA, Plaza is actively and continuously inviting American and other foreign and national investors/stakeholders as well as public and private landowners, LGUs, the military reservation lands, and indigenous people to become a registered economic zone.

PEZA holds dialogue with MEZ locator companies

PEZA holds dialogue with MEZ locator companies
May 20, 2021
PEZA holds dialogue with MEZ locator companies

PEZA holds dialogue with MEZ locator companies

20 May 2021 (Thursday)
 

Lapu-Lapu City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has hosted a dialogue for the locator companies of the Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ) at Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark on Monday, 17 May 2021, to discuss their concerns on various pressing issues including the recent passage of Republic Act No. 11534 or the CREATE Law.
 

The event follows after PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan officially inaugurated the new MEZ Admin Building, which will be the temporary home of PEZA MEZ while its building undergoes transformation.


PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza along with Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard ‘Ahong’ Chan and Mactan Economic Zone Administrator Atty. Abdullah Adel-Khan Alug during the inauguration of the MEZ Admin Building.

Plaza expressed, “It is crucial for us to hear the concerns of our registered locator companies and determine ways for us to support their ventures especially during this time of pandemic as they are the ones who are keeping our economy afloat.”

She added, “These companies play a vital role in contributing to the total development of the province, allowing us to attain our goal of fully industrializing the Philippines and making it an investment haven in Asia.”

On CREATE

Addressing the concerns of companies after the sunset period provision, the PEZA Chief said that companies may apply for incentives once the sunset period is finished. However, this will now be subject to the tier classifications of CREATE and the SIPP.

Plaza noted that “new applications and expansion of projects will already be covered by the provisions under the CREATE Law, but the PEZA Board is still awaiting the final Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the legislation for the efficient execution of the changes.”

“We’re still hoping that all those we recommended in the IRR, which aims to protect the interest of our registered business enterprises, will be considered,” added Plaza.


PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza delivers her speech following the ribbon cutting that marked the official opening of the new MEZ Admin Building.

COVID-19 vaccine

Likewise, the Cebu City LGU, through Atty. Eugene Espedido, also announced that PEZA and the ecozone workers in Lapu-Lapu City will get a free COVID-19 vaccine under A4 priority as economic frontliners.

Atty. Espedido said that he will be coordinating with the City Health Office for the scheduling of the vaccination. “Maybe at this early what I could suggest is for each company to come up with a roster of employees [for the vaccination] and to come up with groupings, with comorbidities as priority, in order to avoid disruption of services,” he explained.

According to Atty. Espedido, “The only way to revive the economy is to prevent COVID and the only way to prevent COVID is to have ourselves vaccinated.”


PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza along with Mactan Economic Zone Administrator Atty. Abdullah Adel-Khan Alug, and representatives from MEPZCEM and the Lapu-Lapu City LGU during the dialogue with MEZ locator companies

‘Balikatan Sagip Negosyo’ program

Aside from the vaccination, PEZA Director General Plaza also introduced the ‘Balikatan Sagip Negosyo’ program which aims to help registered business enterprises to altogether rise from the present crisis.

According to Plaza, the PEZA Board said that “sales of goods by a PEZA enterprise to other PEZA enterprises may be considered indirect export even if the goods are not directly related to the registered activity of the PEZA enterprise-buyer, provided that the transaction is between two PEZA-registered enterprises.”

Plaza likewise noted that PEZA may consider the extension of the allowance for work-from-home arrangements particularly for IT companies depending on the President’s decision to extend the placement of the country under State of Calamity after 12 September 2021.

“These are just ways for us to pay back our PEZA locators for giving jobs to their constituents, contributing to the social progress of the area with low poverty and crime incidence,” noted the PEZA Chief.

Accordingly, Director General Plaza is gearing towards having a series of dialogues with other LGU hosts of its 413 economic zones nationwide in order to hear their concerns and reciprocate the investors’ contribution to the local economy.

PEZA economic zones’ exports boost 15.63% growth in the first quarter of 2021

PEZA economic zones’ exports boost 15.63% growth in the first quarter of 2021
May 12, 2021
PEZA economic zones’ exports boost 15.63% growth in the first quarter of 2021

PEZA economic zones’ exports boost 15.63% growth in the first quarter of 2021
 

12 May 2021 (Wednesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza on Monday reported the top investment promotion agency’s performance in the first quarter of 2021 amidst the ongoing Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and its four surrounding provinces namely, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan.
 

With the continuous and perilous global effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the recent surge of COVID cases in the country, it poses continuous challenges to PEZA’s investment performance. However, PEZA remains confident as exports from economic zones soared 15.63% growth in the first quarter.

From $12.91 billion last year to $14.93 billion exports covering the same period, employment in ecozones has also increased to 2.94% which is equivalent to 1.58 million workers compared to 1.53 million workers a year ago.

The investments made in the first quarter of 2021 are also higher than last year with 53.87% increase amounting to PhP 25.382 billion with 57 PEZA Board-approved projects generating a total of 5,601 employment.

Among the 57 newly approved projects, 43 will be located in Luzon while 10 will be located in Visayas, and 4 in Mindanao.

For the 57 projects of registered business enterprises, 22 are for export projects, 15 are for IT projects, 7 are for facilities, 3 for logistics and 1 for utilities, and 1 tourism enterprise. Meanwhile, the other 8 are for ecozone development projects which sums to 57 projects in total.

Further, despite the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) period from April 12 to 16, 2021, PEZA zones have reported that 90% or 2,701 companies are operating nationwide with 1.193 million employees both working in skeletal force and work-from-home arrangements. Per sector, the manufacturing sector is 94% operational while the IT-BPO industry is 84% operational.

Director General Plaza proudly recognize and give thanks to locator companies for their ceaseless support and for trusting PEZA despite the current global pandemic crisis. She added, “Philippines is still indeed an investment haven and PEZA’s brand of excellence, its one-stop non-stop shop as well as becoming part of the solution during these challenging times, and continued operations all while observing strict health and safety protocols is chosen by many investors.”

“With the approval of new projects and increase in the investments and exports in the first quarter of 2021, this proves that PEZA is unfaltering in keeping the Philippine economy afloat and being on top of its game in performing its mandate, mobilizing the country’s investment competitiveness, and creating employment opportunities for many Filipinos.” Plaza noted.
 

 

PEZA launches University of Perpetual Help System – Molino, Cavite as new special ecozone for Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST)

PEZA launches University of Perpetual Help System – Molino, Cavite as new special ecozone for Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST)
May 12, 2021
PEZA launches University of Perpetual Help System – Molino, Cavite as new special ecozone for Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST)

PEZA launches University of Perpetual Help System – Molino, Cavite as new special ecozone for Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST) 

12 May 2021 (Wednesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine of Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza together with University of the Perpetual Help System (UPHS) Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board Dalta and Jonelta Group, Dr. BGen Antonio L. Tamayo signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on May 5, 2021, at the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta - Las Piñas Campus, thereby making it as the first Private Higher Educational Institution (HEIS) to be recognized by PEZA  as a Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST) - Special Economic Zone Institute (KIST-SEZ Institute) in the Philippines.
 

Plaza expressed her warmest gratitude to the successful MOA Signing. She said, “I am delighted to launch UPHSD-Molino as the first Private Higher Education Institution to be recognized as a Knowledge Innovation Science and Technology (KIST) – Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Institute called the ALTAHUB.”
“It is high time that we continue finding and establishing innovative ways of uplifting our society, starting from our youth and even working Filipinos to attain better education amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The 21st century skills are needed to succeed in a working environment that is becoming increasingly competitive.” PEZA Chief Plaza added.

The making of the UPHS Dalta-Molino Campus as KIST-SEZ Institute is in line with the strategies for accelerating the development of human capital as provided in Chapter 10 of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2020.
This aims to develop lifelong learning opportunities and improve income-earning abilities to enable Filipinos to respond to the economic challenges of the 21st century and nation-building.

LGU support to host KIST

Bacoor City Mayor Lani M. Revilla also graced the event virtually as the Keynote Speaker. Revilla emphasized the strong partnership between the local government of the city of Bacoor and the University of Perpetual Help System (UPHS) Dalta over the years as their ever-dependable champion in providing high-quality and affordable education.

Mayor Revilla said that “the Philippine Economic Zone Authority made the best choice in tapping the UPHS as their partner for the promotion and creation of Philippine startup ecozones that support organizations aiming to develop an innovative product, process or business including startup enablers.”
According to Revilla, UPHS-Molino Campus opened its doors for the first time in May 1995 and has only 700 enrollees. At present, its enrollment boosts more than 6,000 students catering not only to people residing in Bacoor but to nearby cities and towns as well.

UPHS Founder, Dr. BGen Antonio L. Tamayo alongside with the University President Dr. Anthony Jose M. Tamayo spearheaded the creation of the AltaHub facility in the UPHS-Molino Campus to create a more robust tie-up between the academe, the hospital, and the industry with the goal to become PEZA-accredited private higher education institution and be recognized as KIST-SEZ Institute. Thus, the creation of the AltaHub Innovation Institute will have three (3) major flagship programs at the forefront of nation-building namely health, business, and technology.

Further, the AltaHub shall become the bridge between the educational institution and the needs of various industries in the country as they will serve as a research and development facility not only for the University but also for the neighboring towns and areas within the proximity of the locations or investors to be assigned by the UPHS through the assistance of PEZA.

UPHS lauds PEZA’s SEZ Institute program

Meanwhile, Dr. BGen Antonio L. Tamayo has also expressed his appreciation to Director General Plaza for her support not only for the UPHS, but for the entire socio-economic community of the Philippines through its programs like the SEZ Institute program.

Under PEZA’s Transformational Roadmap to make the Philippines an investment haven in Asia, SEZ Institute and training centers shall be built in every region in public ecozones, SEZs, or in KIST parks (SUCs, private universities) according to the skills and manpower needs of RDC/LGU-identified industries, integrating TESDA, DOST, and other government and private sector skills training programs for ecozone and industry workers.

He said, “Education is the core competency of the university. The dynamics of teaching and learning experience in our university have always held the importance of academic excellence, community service, and research. With the blessing of the local government of Bacoor and PEZA, the formation of AltaHub brings together three vital ingredients which will benefit both the community and our country, in general: education, employment, and economic growth.”

The AltaHub Council Officers also took their oath of office last Wednesday to formalize their roles and responsibilities in establishing a resilient facility such as the AltaHub KIST-SEZ Institute.
 


PEZA Director General Plaza and  UPHS Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board Dalta and Jonelta Group, Dr. BGen Antonio L. Tamayo signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on May 5, 2021, at the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta - Las Piñas Campus


Live screenshot of PEZA-UPHS MOA Signing from UPHS Dalta-Las Piñas Official Facebook Page

PEZA seeks inclusion of PEZA locators, ecozone and industry workers in the A4 category for COVID vaccines

PEZA seeks inclusion of PEZA locators, ecozone and industry workers in the A4 category for COVID vaccines
May 4, 2021
PEZA seeks inclusion of PEZA locators, ecozone and industry workers in the A4 category for COVID vaccines

PEZA seeks inclusion of PEZA locators, ecozone and industry workers in the A4 category for COVID vaccines
 

04 May 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to include economic frontline workers to be included in the A4 priority group for COVID-19 vaccination.
 

In a letter to IATF Head Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. dated 23 April 2021, PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza explained, “PEZA-registered companies, ecozone and industry workers are considered frontline workers as they have continued working to ensure the unhampered service to contribute to the global supply chain.”

“In phases of Community Quarantine (CQ), from ECQ to GCQ ECQ, the IATF has always managed to strike a balance between the need to aggressively respond to COVID-19 and the need to allow essential business sectors to operate and keep the economy afloat. Hence, the BPO and export-oriented sectors were allowed to operate as a measure to cushion the adverse impact of COVID-19 to the economy, subject to strict compliance with health and quarantine protocols,” she stated.

During MECQ period in 12-16 April 2021, PEZA zones have reported that 90% or 2,701 companies are operating nationwide with 1,193,813 employees working under various work schemes. Per sector, the IT-BPO industry is 84% operational while the manufacturing sector is 94% operational.

Referring to PEZA’s ‘balancing acts’ and relief measures during the pandemic, the PEZA Chief said that “PEZA has been hitting two birds in one stone since the beginning of this health crisis. As we give assistance and reprieves to our locator companies who play a big role in keeping our economy afloat, we are protecting the jobs and livelihood of our 1.5 million workers.”

PEZA also cited in its letter to the National Task Force (NTF) Chief Implementer various memoranda released by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which further emphasized the importance of locators and ecozone workers during this pandemic and to better prepare the country for post-COVID economic rebound.

Under the government’s vaccination program priority list, the A4 category is the group of frontline personnel in essential sectors, which has now been expanded to include additional sectors like the transportation workers, market vendors, religious leaders, overseas Filipino workers, and members of the press.

Vaccine Procurement

Regarding the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines by PEZA-registered companies, PEZA is helping in the facilitation of the locators’ purchase of vaccines on a per ecozone basis for ease of administration and subject to strict compliance with COVID vaccination protocols. To date, PEZA manages a total of 410 economic zones across the Philippines and has registered about 4,643 locator companies.

According to Plaza, “The ecozone vaccination program is one best way PEZA can contribute to the attainment of herd immunity, which will accelerate the country's full reopening of the economy and transition to the new normal.”

PEZA conducts dialogue on COVID-19 vaccine procurement to guide PEZA-registered companies 

PEZA conducts dialogue on COVID-19 vaccine procurement to guide PEZA-registered companies 
April 22, 2021
PEZA conducts dialogue on COVID-19 vaccine procurement to guide PEZA-registered companies 

PEZA conducts dialogue on COVID-19 vaccine procurement to guide PEZA-registered companies 
 

22 April 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has hosted on Tuesday an online forum for its export-oriented registered companies with experts from the national government, primarily from the Department of Health (DOH), and potential suppliers from the private sector to educate them regarding the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and ensure the protection of its workers and the safety of the ecozones.

 

According to PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, “the PEZA management initiated this dialogue upon the request of our ecozone locators for PEZA to take the lead in getting the right resource persons to educate us about the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and their safety.”

“It is essential to understand why it is important to achieve herd immunity or that majority of our population is vaccinated. The lesson is we all share each other’s safety and health,” Plaza noted.

The dialogue attended by around 1,200 online participants was participated by resource persons namely Dr. Nikka Hao, Head of the DOH Disease Prevention and Control Bureau and Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, Special Adviser of the National Task Force (NTF) who discussed the Government COVID vaccination program.

For the private sector COVID vaccination management, former DOH Secretary Dr. Paulyn Rosell-Ubial, now the Head of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Molecular Laboratory, Ms. Josephine Romero of GoNegosyo, the Senior Adviser of the ASEAN-BAC Philippines and the Program Lead of A DOSE OF HOPE, and Mr. Carlo Garrucho, the Chief Operating Officer of IP Biotech, Inc. shared their insights on the benefits of COVID vaccination especially for ecozone export-oriented locators and their workers being economic frontliners.

Government Vaccine Procurement

On the vaccine procurement of the government, Dr. Hao of DOH explained, “We’re implementing one national program across the country regardless if it’s bought by the national government, the private sector, and all others that will be procuring. That means, all of the process has to take place across all of the different procurement method and that includes passing through the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] … and will also encompass following the [government’s] prioritization list.”

Dr. Herbosa added, “All procurement will have to follow the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan and all of the processes and must report to the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC), which controls all of these operations.”

Tripartite Agreement

On the tripartite agreement, Dr. Herbosa of NTF emphasized that “The private sector is best partnering with the government because it is the bulk purchase of the government that lowers the price. With your additional orders, what happens is we are able to get the best price for the bulk order for the vaccines.”

Dr. Herbosa, who is also the Executive Vice President of the University of the Philippines (UP), likewise noted that, “All the vaccines have not been approved by the FDA for sale. It has only been given an emergency use authorization (EUA) to the government.” So far, the vaccines with EUA from the FDA are the Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Gamaleya’s Sputnik V, and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccines according to its website.

“You cannot buy on your own. And even if you buy on your own, I doubt if any of the companies will sell to you especially if you have small order … You’ll really have to partner with the government on this one. It’s not that we’re forcing you [but] that’s the way it is all over the world,” Dr. Herbosa further explained.

He added, “Another thing in the tripartite [agreement] is that none must profit … the private sector is allowed to buy, but the private sector is not allowed to profit from this vaccine program.”

Ms. Romero and Dr. Ubiall have likewise noted that the government will be the one to cover any expenses that will result from any adverse effects after vaccination. As Dr. Herbosa explained, the indemnity clause of the agreement only pays the government.

Private Sector Agreement

Meanwhile, Ms. Romero of GoNegosyo explained that, in the case of the private sector procurement, “the purchase agreement and the term sheet that [the company] will be signing with the manufacturer or the consolidator for the Philippines, which is IP Biotech and Ambitech [for example], will mirror the relevant clauses in the tripartite agreement that they will be signing with the NTF and DOH.”

She added, “When you do indicate your interest to purchase a particular brand of vaccine, they will be very transparent with you and give you a clear idea of what will be the terms covered in the tripartite agreement that they are currently negotiating or have signed with the Government.”

“DOH is set to release the IRR for private sector acquisition of vaccines. Private sector was asked in consultative meetings to give inputs. You can be assured that the IRR is since practical,” noted Ms. Romero.

Further, Ms. Romero said that the vaccination is not mandatory, but based on the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) Labor Advisory No. 03-21, the employee should not shoulder any cost should the company decide to vaccinate its workers.

On the other hand, Dr. Ubial explained that “[PRC’s] agreement is not to supply the vaccines to the company but to deliver the doses to the employees. I think that’s also what the DOH and the other companies are doing because you cannot establish bakuna centers left and right. It has to be accredited and must follow a very stringent accreditation process by the DOH.”

“What we are doing at Red Cross is we’re getting as many bakuna centers accredited by DOH so that when vaccines arrive, we will deliver the doses … I don’t think that the companies are actually allowed to do their own vaccination unless they become bakuna center accredited,” noted the former DOH Secretary.

With vaccine suppliers not anymore accepting orders for AstraZeneca and Moderna due to the threshold limit, Mr. Garrucho of IP Biotech shared that they are to offer Bharat-IP Biotech's Covaxin, which was recently given a green light by FDA, starting May.

“The initial batch commitment of Bharat-Biotech worth 8 million doses [of Covaxin] deliveries will start to enter the Philippines in May of 2021. We hope that all tranche deliveries will conclude in November of this year,” said Mr. Garrucho.

He added, “Designated representative of IP Biotech are waiting for cases in India to go down because a party is to fly out to India to request/negotiate for a second and much larger set of deliveries for the Philippines and for private market access.”

PEZA Assistance on Vaccine Procurement

“PEZA’s role in this exercise of vaccine procurement [by PEZA-registered companies] is more of an enabler. We can help facilitate the locators’ purchase of vaccines on a per ecozone basis for ease of administration and subject to strict compliance with COVID vaccination protocols. We freely give the decision to our locators to choose their own supplier and administrator of vaccines,” noted the PEZA Chief.

She added that, “PEZA is not in a position to subsidize the cost or advance payment of vaccines for and on behalf of the locators.”

Meanwhile, PEZA Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning Mr. Tereso Panga stated that another assistance PEZA can give to its locators is “the allowance of tax and duty-free importation [for COVID vaccines] subject to the lifting of the EUA,” citing the same reprieve approved by the PEZA Board last year on the importation of PPEs and COVID-related equipment for locators' direct use for the protection of their workers.

“The best COVID vaccine is the one that is readily available. Either you get infected or vaccinated, the choice is yours,” noted Panga as he closed the forum.

As of today, PEZA manages a total of 410 economic zones across the Philippines and has registered about 4,643 locator companies. The ecozone vaccination program is one best way PEZA can contribute to the attainment of herd immunity, which will accelerate the country's full reopening of the economy and transition to the new normal.

 

PEZA online job fair (DOLLAR program) continues amid pandemic

PEZA online job fair (DOLLAR program) continues amid pandemic
April 8, 2021
PEZA online job fair (DOLLAR program) continues amid pandemic

PEZA online job fair (DOLLAR program) continues amid pandemic
 

08 April 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – To fulfill its mandate of generating jobs and other economic opportunities, PEZA partnered with WorkBank Philippines Inc. to make job vacancies easily accessible to Filipinos seeking employment with PEZA-registered companies.

The CREATE Law aims to gradually lower the corporate income tax from 30% to 25% and streamline the government’s fiscal incentives for investments both covering foreign and domestic enterprises.

 

This initiative is in line with the Development Outreach for Labor, Livelihood, and Advancement (DOLLAR) program which was launched by the PEZA Director General Charito Plaza last July 29, 2020, with the support of government agencies namely: Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Office of Senator Bong Go.

Even with the recent surge of COVID cases and the resulting community quarantine, DG Plaza reiterates that “PEZA is strongly committed and unrelenting in its efforts to promote investment and employment that will benefit Filipinos despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic."

PEZA's DOLLAR program initiative of conducting a virtual job fair aims to inform the public of thousands of jobs available in different types of industries in various ecozones.

The DOLLAR Program is also in support of the Administrative Order No. 18, otherwise known as “Accelerating Rural Progress Through Robust Development of Special Economic Zones in the Countryside” and Executive Order No. 114, also known as the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program”.

DOLLAR program update in 2021

The DOLLAR Program’s Job Expo online job search platform is powered by WorkBank which was established on November 28, 2018, by virtue of “malasakit” or compassion and care program, bridging businesses with qualified and primed talents. It is an online job site that primarily helps job seekers connect to various job opportunities locally and abroad.

WorkBank reported a total of 17,500 job vacancies with 60 companies tagged under the special category for PEZA, 16 of which are currently active with jobs posted online. Of these 16 active companies, 62% are BPO and call center companies followed by IT (12%), manufacturing (12%), and transport and logistics (12%).

In terms of applicants for PEZA-related companies, there are over 22,500 applicants in the first 3 months of 2021, and from August 2020 up to the present, WorkBank recorded over 40,000 applicants.
However, WorkBank stated that it is quite challenging to obtain accurate data in determining how many of these applicants were hired since only a few companies are reporting back to their system regarding the number of their newly hired employees.

Meanwhile, PEZA was also recently added to WorkBank’s “Live Programs” section. This section serves as an additional promotional field on the job search category to essentially highlight the ongoing job opportunities in various PEZA-registered companies.

Likewise, WorkBank offered its discount to companies under PEZA at 65% to further boost the agency’s initiatives in generating employment in the Philippines.

Of the 17,500 job vacancies, active companies under PEZA are Alorica, Teleperformance, Wells Fargo Philippines, VXI, iOPEX Technologies Philippines, Synchrony Global Services Philippines Inc., and Wideout Workforces Inc. There are also new companies that joined the said online job search platform namely: Optum, Sykes, Accenture, Honda Philippines, Inc., HGS, and Ayala Land Premier.

Repatriated OFWs, fresh graduates, unemployed Filipinos, those who are looking for work-from-home arrangements, and any interested applicants can access the online job portal 24/7 and create their own account for free through this link: www.workbank.com/peza.
 

PEZA welcomes signing of CREATE into law 

PEZA welcomes signing of CREATE into law 
April 7, 2021
PEZA welcomes signing of CREATE into law 

PEZA welcomes signing of CREATE into law 

07 April 2021 (Wednesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority has welcomed the signing of a new law Republic Act. No. 11534, or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, by President Rodrigo Duterte last March 26, 2021.

The CREATE Law aims to gradually lower the corporate income tax from 30% to 25% and streamline the government’s fiscal incentives for investments both covering foreign and domestic enterprises.

 

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has expressed gratitude to the President and the Congress for considering most of the concerns and suggestions from the industry associations and PEZA-registered export industries that had been expressed and submitted to the House of Representatives and the Senate since the deliberations began as TRAIN 2, to CITIRA, and now the CREATE Law.

“We are happy with the final CREATE Act after all those years of struggle. We recognize the need to gradually change and reform national tax or revenue system yet at the same time address the need to maintain and attract investors’ confidence in the Philippines, especially during this time of pandemic,” said Plaza.

The PEZA Chief added, “Although CREATE may offer 'win some, lose some' opportunities for the different industries, we are glad that CREATE sustained our argument and has placed a high premium on export-oriented enterprises with their availment of superior fiscal incentives particularly for new projects that will be applied with the IPAs like PEZA.”

“Now that the passage of CREATE law is done, it creates stability in taxation regime and PEZA as the top export-oriented investment promotion agency can aggressively pursue marketing and promotion of our economic zones to global investors,” she added.

The PEZA Chief said that there’s a need to communicate to existing and new investors the impact of the CREATE law to export-oriented industries while pushing the momentum and efforts to attract investments through marketing and promotion activities.

Extension of availment of incentives for existing RBEs

One of the items vetoed by the President which may have a big effect to the country’s existing foreign direct investors is the removal of the extension of availment of tax incentives by existing registered business enterprises (RBEs) given that the "extension of incentives for existing projects is unfair to ordinary taxpayers / unincentivized enterprises and further, only new activities and projects deserve fresh incentives."

Under CREATE, RBEs have no choice but to make do with the 10-year sunset period (after the lapse of ITH) and thereafter, graduate to the regular 25% CIT rate.

As explained by Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning Mr. Tereso Panga, “This scenario could be a make or break for the Philippines as the affected ecozone locators, for example, might decide to retain their facilities and invest in new projects to be entitled to a longer ITH and SCIT period (total of 14- 17 years) or worse, they might just pack up and transfer to a more willing host-country that can offer better incentives for their investments as their availment of more advantageous incentives for sunk projects with the IPAs prior to CREATE were cut short by the mandatory sunset period for RBEs.”

Nevertheless, Plaza remains hopeful that the locator companies will be able to cope with the new conditions and the Philippine economy will be able to bounce back with a much inclusive growth for the country.

“We believe that effective governance will be pivotal in our resolve to retain, expand and attract investments into the ecozones under the CREATE regime and in due time, our existing locators will be able to adjust to CREATE and continue to secure their investments in the Philippines,” she said.

PEZA is currently preparing its inputs to the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the RA 11534 and will soon conduct series of dialogue with its locator companies to further discuss the impact or benefits of the CREATE Law to PEZA and its registered enterprises.

PhP 13.19 Billion investments okayed by the PEZA Board in March 2021 

PhP 13.19 Billion investments okayed by the PEZA Board in March 2021 
March 18, 2021
PhP 13.19 Billion investments okayed by the PEZA Board in March 2021 

PhP 13.19 Billion investments okayed by the PEZA Board in March 2021 

18 March 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Board has approved on March 11, 2021 a total of 33 projects, which will bring about PhP 13.19 Billion investments and generate 2,447 employment in host areas of the ecozones. 
 

Among the total 33 Board-approved projects, 29 will be located in Luzon while the remaining four will be located in Visayas and in Mindanao.

For the 30 projects of registered business enterprises, 12 are for export projects, 11 are for IT projects, five (5) are for facilities, one (1) for logistics and one (1) for utilities Meanwhile, the other three (3) projects are for ecozone development projects which sums to 33 projects in total.

The 33 projects cover the February to March 2021 applications to PEZA and approval by the Board. According to PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, “We thank our locator companies for continuously trusting PEZA and for believing the potentials that the Philippines have despite the onslaught of this current pandemic crisis. PEZA indeed continues to implement its brand of excellence, one-stop-shop and continued operations albeit observing strict health and safety protocols for the safety of all”

“The approval of new projects and investments is the agency’s positive action to continuously support the Philippine economy in our endeavor to maintain our competitiveness for investments despite the impact of COVID-19,” noted Plaza.

“We at PEZA are doing our best to become part of the solution during these trying times. We will continue to turn the threats into opportunities and help the Philippines achieve its goal of becoming an investment haven in Asia and around the globe,” noted Plaza.
 

PEZA builds partnership with the new Philippine Army Head for defense ecozone plan 

PEZA builds partnership with the new Philippine Army Head for defense ecozone plan 
March 17, 2021
PEZA builds partnership with the new Philippine Army Head for defense ecozone plan 

PEZA builds partnership with the new Philippine Army Head for defense ecozone plan 

17 March 2021 (Wednesday)
 

Pasay City – The Director General Charito Plaza welcomed the newly appointed Commanding General of the Philippine Army (CGPA) Lt. Gen Jose C. Faustino Jr. PA at the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Head Office yesterday 16 March 2021.
 

PEZA Chief Plaza expressed her excitement to start the Defense Industrial Complexes with the Philippine Army. She said, “Under your [Lt. Gen. Faustino] watch, we will hopefully start the creation of the first ever Defense Industrial Complexes from among the Philippine Army reservation areas.”
According to her, “PEZA aims to establish different types of economic zones and spread development to the countryside based on the land potential of the region. This includes the proposed creation of Defense Industrial Complexes in the Philippines.”

With only a month since he assumed the position, Philippine Army Lt Gen Faustino noted that he has seen the needs of the Army when it comes to modernization. He said, “With PEZA’s expertise in promoting investments and facilitating business operations, the Philippine Army can easily determine the necessary actions to maximize the revenue potential of its military reservations to support its modernization program.”

The CGPA said that creating a Defense Industrial Complex on economic zones is in line with the Philippine Army Transformation Roadmap which aims to pursue genuine transformation founded on good governance and excellence to better serve the Filipino people and secure the Philippines.

“The Philippine Army is privileged to have established a strong foundation of partnership with PEZA who similarly aspires for the betterment not just of both organizations, but also for the whole country,” Faustino added.

Overview of Defense Industrial Complex
The Defense Industrial Complex refers to a tract of land with defined boundaries located physically and/or administratively outside the customs territory and predominantly oriented to export production. This will produce world-class defense products to meet both domestic and world market requirements, thus, maximizing the utilization of economic zones to generate maximum revenues for the government and support to the modernization program as well create employment opportunities in the Philippines, particularly in and around the complex.

PEZA and AFP continued talks on military reserve land utilization to become ecozones
Meanwhile, the AFP showed their full support to PEZA’s plans and programs for establishing a Defense Industrial Ecozone in military reserves during PEZA’s 26th Anniversary Celebration last 24 February 2021.

Director General Plaza said that it is in AFP Chief Sobejana’s stewardship of the Philippine Army (PA) when they started discussing the Defense Industrial Complex as the newest type of economic zone. She said, “The PA is managing almost 20,000 hectares of military reservation areas and we are now planning to make this the first Defense Industrial Complex in the country.”

“At present, we are currently exploring the idea of establishing a Defense Industrial Complexes in selected military reservation [areas] across the country. We really need to produce locally our defense requirements and reduce our dependency to foreign suppliers,” AFP Chief Sobejana explained.

Plaza hopes to invite investors and defense industries who will manufacture military equipment, software, hardware, and uniforms among others that the military and police will be needing.

PEZA strengthens partnership with India, attracts more investors to PH

PEZA strengthens partnership with India, attracts more investors to PH
March 7, 2021
PEZA strengthens partnership with India, attracts more investors to PH

PEZA strengthens partnership with India, attracts more investors to PH

07 March 2020 (Sunday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has strengthened ties with India in attracting more investors to invest in the Philippines following the courtesy visit of the Indian Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Mr. Shambhu Kumaran and First Secretary Mr. Nishi Singh to the PEZA Head Office last 01 March 2021.
 

The visit of the Ambassador is to discuss with PEZA the business opportunities in the Philippines for Indian investors. To date, there are around 28 Indian companies registered in PEZA – 21 of which are registered as IT-BPO, five (5) as manufacturing, and two (2) under various enterprises.

According to H.E. Kumaran, “The past year has been a bit of a setback to everyone but I feel that fundamental trends indicate that the Philippine economy continue to grow positively and energetically into the future.”

“The 21st century is really the century of digital economy… and there, both India and the Philippines are very well in place to derive maximum benefit,” noted the Ambassador.

Upskilling and reskilling of workforce

Like Plaza, H.E. Kumaran cited the importance of training and transforming our workforce and the cooperation between the countries in order to meet the needs of the global market when it comes to skills. “The demographic dividends can only be realized if we do what is required – that is to train and equip [those entering the job market] to meet the challenges of the new economy,” said the Ambassador.

He explained that through upskilling and reskilling, “We will be able to work together in areas of core strengths and bring in our skills in the global job market.”

Defense and Pharmaceutical Industries

Further, the Ambassador assured support in attracting defense industries and pharmaceutical companies in the country as these are two areas where there are good possibilities.

“It’s something that we would want to get some of our Indian companies who have connected suppliers to look at. We will be engaged with you and your team [regarding this] because this is a very interesting area that you highlighted for us,” noted H.E. Kumaran.

Global Biz

Likewise, PEZA and the Indian Embassy will be partnering for a session under the Global Biz monthly forum to cater to Indian companies, briefing them about investment opportunities in the Philippines and attracting investors to the country.

Aside from India, PEZA is also closely coordinating with the Malaysian Embassy to host a Global Biz session solely dedicated to the Malaysian companies wanting to invest in the Philippines. This comes as the Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Norman Bin Muhamad made his courtesy visit to PEZA early in February.

PEZA to dialogue with BIR-BOC-DOF to strengthen integration of BIR-BOC monitoring and compliance requirements in PEZA systems in ecozones

PEZA to dialogue with BIR-BOC-DOF to strengthen integration of BIR-BOC monitoring and compliance requirements in PEZA systems in ecozones
March 7, 2021
PEZA to dialogue with BIR-BOC-DOF to strengthen integration of BIR-BOC monitoring and compliance requirements in PEZA systems in ecozones

PEZA to dialogue with BIR-BOC-DOF to strengthen integration of BIR-BOC monitoring and compliance requirements in PEZA systems in ecozones

07 March 2021 (Sunday)
 

Pasay City – In order to protect government interests and ensure PEZA ecozone locators’ compliance, cooperation, trust and confidence in government, PEZA is set to hold talks this week with Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay, together with the representative of the Department of Finance (DOF) in the PEZA Board, DOF Undersecretary Antonette C. Tionko, to strengthen PEZA’s assistance to BIR in its monitoring and compliance requirements by further integrating into PEZA systems BIR requirements that are not yet part of PEZA’s processes, including those pertaining to PEZA-registered export enterprises manufacturing cigarettes and tobacco products that are exporting 100% of their production.
 

As explained by PEZA Director General Charito "Ching” Plaza, this collaboration is in line with the brand of service PEZA is known for – transparency, no corruption, no red tape.

PEZA has also initiated talks with Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero to also strengthen collaboration between PEZA and Bureau of Customs and to resolve other PEZA and BOC concerns in relation to the movement of goods of PEZA enterprises and other BOC requirements.

“Along with BIR and BOC, PEZA vow to strengthen, integrate monitoring, compliance systems and processes in our economic zones to prevent smuggling, promote efficient tax collection, preserve investors’ cooperation, and maintain their trust and confidence in the government’s policies and processes,” noted the PEZA Chief.

At present, PEZA already assists BIR in ensuring that all PEZA enterprises file their Income Tax Returns by way of PEZA’s requirement for all its registered enterprises to submit to PEZA annually copies of their annual Income Tax Returns and Audited Financial Statements, with proof of receipt thereof by the BIR, including proof of their payment of applicable taxes to the BIR.

In case certain enterprises fail to submit these documents within the period prescribed by PEZA, PEZA withholds issuance to the non-compliant enterprise of their Annual Certification of Entitlement to Incentives and entitlement to VAT zero-rating on their local purchases. This is in addition to PEZA’s imposing penalties of fine per day of delay in their submission of these documents and, in case of continued failure to submit these documents to PEZA, PEZA withholds the issuance of Import Permits and Export Declaration to the erring PEZA enterprise.

As to the collection of excise tax on cigarettes manufactured by PEZA enterprises and sold locally, PEZA, in 2017, had an extensive dialogue with the BIR’s excise tax officers for the purpose of PEZA’s enforcement of BIR’s requirements for excise tax on local sales of cigarettes manufactured by PEZA enterprises. PEZA has since been implementing these requirements for local sales of cigarettes manufactured by PEZA enterprises. Under the PEZA Law (R.A. No. 7916, as amended) which provides incentives to PEZA enterprises contained in the Omnibus Investments Code of 1987, PEZA export enterprises are allowed to sell locally their manufactured products to the extent of 30% of their annual total revenues if foreign-owned, and up to 50% of total revenues if Filipino-owned, subject to payment of duties and taxes to the Bureau of Customs. Payment of duties and taxes is made to the Customs office stationed in every PEZA zone where PEZA-registered export manufacturing enterprises are located. Likewise, a PEZA office is stationed in every PEZA ecozone with PEZA-registered export manufacturing enterprises.

These duties and taxes, and in the case of cigarettes, including excise taxes, are required by PEZA to be paid to the Bureau of Customs (the deputized BIR collection agent for internal revenue taxes inside the PEZA ecozones) by the PEZA enterprise before their goods for local sale are allowed by PEZA and the Bureau of Customs stationed in the PEZA zone, to leave the PEZA ecozone where the manufacturing facility of the PEZA enterprise is located.

PEZA has also been collaborating with the BIR on the VAT zero-rating entitlement of PEZA enterprises on their local purchases related to their registered activities. PEZA regularly submits to BIR a list of PEZA enterprises entitled to the VAT zero-rating incentive, for which PEZA issues annually a Certification of Entitlement to each PEZA enterprise to this incentive after checking their compliance with PEZA’s reportorial requirements and other compliance requirements of PEZA. PEZA has also equipped these Certifications with a QR Code so that BIR can check the authenticity of these Certifications when presented to BIR by local suppliers of PEZA enterprises.

PEZA also submits to BIR all PEZA approvals and evaluation reports on income tax holiday extension years granted to qualified PEZA enterprises in accordance with criteria prescribed in the Omnibus Investments Code of 1987. In addition, pursuant to Republic Act No. 10708, the Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act (TIMTA), PEZA religiously submits to BIR, since this law was enacted in 2015, an annual report on PEZA enterprises’ availment of tax incentives.

As to the movement of import and export shipments and other goods of PEZA enterprises, PEZA Director General Charito Plaza explains that PEZA has in place rigid measures to ensure that imports and exports and all movement of goods of PEZA-registered enterprises are controlled and monitored. PEZA, she explains further, has a long history of collaboration with the Bureau of Customs via a series of Memoranda of Agreement to jointly control and monitor the movement of import and export shipments and other movement of goods of PEZA enterprises.

Among these are the presence of Bureau of Customs offices in all of the PEZA economic zones supervised by PEZA where PEZA-registered export manufacturing enterprises are located. The Customs officers in the PEZA zones jointly inspect with PEZA officers in the PEZA offices also stationed in all PEZA zones where manufacturing enterprises are located, the incoming and outgoing goods of PEZA enterprises. Import Permits, Export Declarations and all other Permits issued by PEZA for all types of movement of goods of PEZA enterprises into and out of the PEZA economic zones are provided to and are accessible to the Customs officers at the PEZA zone.

In accordance with a Memorandum of Agreement between PEZA and the Bureau of Customs, PEZA offices are stationed at the international ports of entry such as the Manila International Container Port. Port of Manila (South Harbor), NAIA, Cebu International Seaport, Mactan International Airport, particularly to double check all Import Permits issued to PEZA enterprises before these are endorsed by the PEZA office to the Bureau of Customs at the Port for processing of the corresponding Bureau of Customs Transshipment Permit for the import shipment. Import Permits issued by PEZA to its registered enterprises are equipped with bar codes so that even BOC can check on their authenticity. More recently, BOC has implemented its E-TRACC (Electronic Tracking of Containerized Cargo) System on containerized import shipments of PEZA enterprises. The E-TRACC system utilizes an electronic lock equipped with GPS attached to the container.

BIR and PEZA are currently investigating two PEZA-registered enterprises engaged in manufacturing cigarettes for 100% export, which were found to be deficient in compliance with BIR registration requirements for cigarette manufacturers. PEZA continues with its own investigation into this matter and had earlier withheld import shipments of these enterprises until a Writ of Preliminary Injunction was issued by the Court. PEZA will apply its own rules and regulations on penalties applicable to these enterprises based on PEZA’s own investigation. This is distinct and different from whatever penalties BIR may impose upon these enterprises. Other cigarette manufacturers registered with PEZA engage best practices, such as JT International Asia Manufacturing Corp.

Director General Plaza adds that in order to enhance PEZA’s smuggling prevention efforts, PEZA is strengthening its intelligence capability and will continue to coordinate and collaborate with BOC and BIR to protect government revenues. PEZA will also closely coordinate with the PNP, AFP, LGUs and other agencies of government not only to protect government revenues but also to ensure trust and confidence of investors in our processes, and their safety inside the PEZA ecozones. PEZA, she says further, is now in the process also of enhancing its automated systems to include monitoring and compliance requirements.

PEZA investigates non-compliant companies within ecozones, to dialogue with BIR-BOC-DOF to strengthen integration of BIR-BOC monitoring and compliance requirements

PEZA investigates non-compliant companies within ecozones, to dialogue with BIR-BOC-DOF to strengthen integration of BIR-BOC monitoring and compliance requirements
March 7, 2021
PEZA investigates non-compliant companies within ecozones, to dialogue with BIR-BOC-DOF to strengthen integration of BIR-BOC monitoring and compliance requirements

PEZA investigates non-compliant companies within ecozones, to dialogue with BIR-BOC-DOF to strengthen integration of BIR-BOC monitoring and compliance requirements 

07 March 2021 (Sunday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is currently investigating two PEZA-registered enterprises engaged in manufacturing cigarettes for 100% export, which were found to be deficient in compliance with Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) requirements for cigarette manufacturers. 
 

GB-BEM and GB Global, both PEZA locators, were recently the subject of raids conducted by the BIR for operating without the requisite BIR registration and other permits required in cigarette manufacturing. The matter is also the subject of parallel investigations by the BIR as well as the House Committee on Ways and Means.

PEZA had earlier withheld import shipments of these enterprises until a Writ of Preliminary Injunction was issued by the courts. PEZA will apply its own rules and regulations on penalties applicable to these enterprises based on the results of its own investigation. This is distinct and different from whatever penalties BIR may impose upon these enterprises.

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza said that in order to protect government interests and ensure PEZA ecozone locators’ compliance, the agency will be holding talks this week with BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay, together with the representative of the Department of Finance (DOF) in the PEZA Board, DOF Undersecretary Antonette C. Tionko. The talks are aimed at strengthening PEZA’s assistance to BIR in its monitoring and compliance requirements by further integrating into PEZA systems BIR requirements that are not yet part of PEZA’s processes, including those pertaining to PEZA-registered export enterprises manufacturing cigarettes and tobacco products that are exporting 100% of their production.

PEZA has also initiated talks with Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero to strengthen collaboration between PEZA and BOC and to resolve other PEZA and BOC concerns in relation to the movement of goods of PEZA enterprises and other BOC requirements.

Plaza noted that PEZA already has existing systems in place in collaboration with both BIR and the BOC, which have been proven effective in regulating other locators. She cited the example of JT International Asia Manufacturing Corp, which engages in so-called “best practices” and fully compliant with PEZA, BIR, NTA and BOC requirements. Nevertheless, she said the agency will look further to plug remaining gaps in the system.
The Director General adds that in order to enhance PEZA’s smuggling prevention efforts, PEZA is strengthening its intelligence capability and will continue to coordinate and collaborate with BOC and BIR to protect government revenues. PEZA will also closely coordinate with the PNP, AFP, LGUs and other agencies of government not only to protect government revenues but also to ensure trust and confidence of investors in our processes, and their safety inside the PEZA ecozones. PEZA, she says further, is now in the process also of enhancing its automated systems to include monitoring and compliance requirements.

Director General Plaza adds that in order to enhance PEZA’s smuggling prevention efforts, PEZA is strengthening its intelligence capability and will continue to coordinate and collaborate with BOC and BIR to protect government revenues. PEZA will also closely coordinate with the PNP, AFP, LGUs and other agencies of government not only to protect government revenues but also to ensure trust and confidence of investors in our processes, and their safety inside the PEZA ecozones. PEZA, she says further, is now in the process also of enhancing its automated systems to include monitoring and compliance requirements.

PEZA celebrates 26th Anniversary with the Galing Pinas Ecozone Investment Partnership Award 2021

PEZA celebrates 26th Anniversary with the Galing Pinas Ecozone Investment Partnership Award 2021
March 4, 2021
PEZA celebrates 26th Anniversary with the Galing Pinas Ecozone Investment Partnership Award 2021

PEZA celebrates 26th Anniversary with the Galing Pinas Ecozone Investment Partnership Award 2021

04 March 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) awarded its partners composed of government agencies, industry leaders, and civil society groups local under the “Galing Pinas Ecozone Investment Partnership Award 2021” in line with the celebration of PEZA’s 26th Anniversary last February 24, 2021, which was attended by AFP Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana and DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
 

After the PEZA Chief delivered the State of PEZA Address (SOPA), the said awarding was conferred to PEZA’s government partners, Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs), the PEZA Board, Industry Associations, Foreign Chambers various stakeholders, and selected Ka-PIPPs partners for their relentless assistance, contribution, and support to PEZA’s programs. These include in the areas of economic zone development, investments promotion, community projects, policy, and legislative actions or advocacies that are aimed to the overall goal to fully industrialize and promote the Philippines as an investments haven in Asia.

#GalingPinas represents PEZA’s slogan that meant "Made in the Philippines is the best! and the Philippines is best to invest in!”

List of Awardees

The list of awardees was divided into seven categories namely, government partners and Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs). IPAs are government entities in charge of promoting investments, administering tax and non-tax incentives, as well as overseeing the operations of the different economic and Freeport zones in accordance with their respective charters.

PEZA Board Members are also awarded for their continuous formulation and implementation of policies, plans, and programs of the Authority, including the establishment and enforcement of rules, regulations, and standards governing the establishment and operation of economic zones.

Further, Industry Associations, various stakeholders, and Foreign Chambers of Commerce were recognized for their unceasing efforts as PEZA’s outstanding PEZA partners and locator companies. Chambers of Commerce plays a vital role in linking, associating, and growing businesses in the Philippines by providing useful information practical assistance to companies that are planning on outsourcing to the Philippines.

Lastly, in line with the 10-point programs and special projects of PEZA that seek to build partnerships with international and domestic business chambers and industries’ associations, PEZA recognized various agencies and institutions, also known as Ka-PIPPs. With this partnership, PEZA hopes to continue connecting and attracting global investors into the Philippines, despite the challenges of a global pandemic.


PEZA Board Members Awardees

PEZA adapts automated systems and processes to enhance the ease of doing business in economic zones

PEZA adapts automated systems and processes to enhance the ease of doing business in economic zones
March 3, 2021
PEZA adapts automated systems and processes to enhance the ease of doing business in economic zones

PEZA adapts automated systems and processes to enhance the ease of doing business in economic zones

03 March 2021 (Wednesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza announced on her State of PEZA Address (SOPA) last Wednesday, February 24, 2021, that the agency will begin to use and implement automated systems and processes including an online payment method accessible to applicant investors or current locators in ecozones.
 

“Now in its 26th year, it is high time that PEZA’s governance adapt technology and innovations and explore digital platforms to improve good governance, transparency, ease of doing business, and accountability,” said Plaza.
In line with this, PEZA Director General Plaza and I-PAY MYEG PH (IPMPI) Chief Executive Officer Ann Margaret Saldana signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on February 18, 2021, at PEZA Head Office in Pasay. IPMPI is an online payment gateway provider that operates and maintains an Electronic Payment Collection System (EPCS) and has the capability to integrate with PEZA’s online portal.

MOA for the online payment platform

The signing of MOA between the PEZA and IPMPI is in line with the Republic Act No. 11032, also known as the “Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Services Delivery Act of 2019” that aims to improve transaction systems and procedures. As such, the use of electronic payment and collection system by PEZA will enhance and promote more efficient services to the general public.
PEZA Chief Plaza said in her SOPA speech last Wednesday, “This will improve transparency, accountability, and good governance in PEZA’s brand of service.”
According to her, the EPCS will roll out in 30 to 45 days following the recent MOA signing with IPMPI. The EPCS enables clients to remit payments through various channels such as ATM accounts, credit cards, mobile wallets, and over-the-counter facilities.

IPMPI has offered its EPCS and related services to PEZA at no cost, and has also passed the PEZA accreditation process for online payment gateway providers.


Director General Charito "Ching" Plaza and I-PAY MYEG PH (IPMPI) Chief Executive Officer Ann Margaret Saldana together with MYEG Business Development Head Clemente Antonio Sarte signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the EPCS and related services, on February 18, 2021.

Other automation efforts

Further, the Office of the Board Secretary and the Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ) have started the Digitization and Document Management System (DMS) allowing a more efficient, secure, and organized document management for PEZA. “Economic zones in Mactan and Baguio City will begin using the system in the next few weeks with the scanners recently deployed”, Plaza noted.
The Electronic Letter of Authority (eLOA) for four types of LOAs is currently undergoing pilot implementation. Electronic filing of other types of LOAs and the eLOA’s integration to the payment gateway system is targeted on April 2021.

Automating engineering permits and visa

Meanwhile, the Engineering Permits Assessment Monitoring System (EPAMS) is now being redeveloped to update system functionalities and secure a more efficient interconnection with the Billing and Collection System. EPAMs automates the filing and monitoring of engineering permits.

Also, the procurement process and development of the online VISA for foreign investors will start this year. It is a web-based system that will manage and monitor the submission of visa applications of foreign nationals, expatriates, and their dependents working for PEZA-registered enterprise.
TIMTA reports for submission via online

Lastly, PEZA Chief conveyed that TIMTA report submissions, required by law to be submitted to PEZA by locators receiving tax incentives, will adapt an online system developed by NEDA. The Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act System or TIMTA System under R.A. 10708 allows for the submission of online documents of annual reports which will also reduce the tedium or organizing and extracting voluminous data required by the TIMTA.

These adaptations showcase a continuous improvement of the ease of doing business in the Philippines and particularly in PEZA which manages 401 ecozones and more than 4,000 locator companies.

PEZA turns 26: remains atop performing Investment Promotion Agency amidst the pandemic

PEZA turns 26: remains atop performing Investment Promotion Agency amidst the pandemic
March 2, 2021
PEZA turns 26: remains atop performing Investment Promotion Agency amidst the pandemic

PEZA turns 26: remains atop performing Investment Promotion Agency amidst the pandemic

02 March 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza delivered her State of the PEZA Address (SOPA) in celebration of the agency’s 26th Anniversary last week, 24 February 2021, at the PEZA Auditorium.
 

The PEZA Chief delivered her second SOPA speech which focused on the agency’s performance, vision, programs, the current and future directions of PEZA. The SOPA speech served as an avenue for Director General Plaza to report to all PEZA officials and its employees, its partners, and stakeholders the performance, updates, and accomplishments of PEZA during the previous year as well as the agency’s new projects and programs.

Plaza proudly stated that PEZA didn't slow down amidst the COVID-19 crisis, but took the challenge and threats into opportunities. She also thanked PEZA’s locator companies for choosing the Philippines and the PEZA ecozones for expanding their businesses in 2020 despite the pandemic.

The Director General noted that “PEZA had generated PHP 95 billion of investments with 300 projects registered for the period of January-December 2020. As of October 2020, PEZA also generated US$ 45.085 billion of exports and created 1,541,259 jobs. This also allowed PEZA to remit to the national government an accumulated amount of PHP 24.097 billion from 1995 to 2020.”

Support for creating more ecozones

Hon. Presbitero Velasco, Jr, Chairman of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), applauded PEZA for its dynamic and continuous effort to perform its mandate at its best despite the current difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Like PEZA, ULAP envisions to attain total development of the Philippines by accelerating growth in our Local Government Units in every region, particularly in the countryside. It is high time for our regions to enjoy social progress and achieve inclusive growth that brings development and livelihood outside Metro Manila.” He said.

From the Central Bank of the Philippines, Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier also commended PEZA and underlined that “the Philippine Peso remains market-driven supported by sound macro-economic fundamentals and is considered as one of the strongest currencies in the region.” She also noted that BSP aims to fuel the country’s economic recovery with a more responsive and sufficient banking system heeding to the nationwide call for more productive activities in critical sectors of the economy.

Further, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen Cirilito Sobejana highlighted that the Philippines should be the best place for investment. He also added that the AFP will continue to provide full support to PEZA and all its endeavors with hopes that their partnership will continue to prosper.

Lt. Gen Sobejana said, “I urge PEZA to continue being true with the agency’s primary objective of providing a globally competitive environment for investments.” Likewise, the AFP vows to protect the investment of our country’s investors assuring peace and security on economic zones.

Finally, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III has graced the event and delivered his Congratulatory Message. Bello agreed with Lt. Gen Sobejana’s statements on peace. “Truly, you don’t achieve peace by just signing the Peace Agreement. You achieve peace by addressing the root causes and the outcome.” Bello said.

According to him, DOLE fully supports PEZA’s efforts for industrial peace and harmony in ecozones as it is caring for Filipino workers’ welfare. “DOLE shares PEZA’s value for labor and environment ensuring that statutory rights of workers in economic and freeport zones are upheld and protected,” the DOLE Secretary noted.

PEZA Performance

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported in the last quarter of 2020 that, “Only PEZA [among the IPAs] registered year-on-year growth in foreign investment commitments during the July-to-September period with P20.3 billion, up to 97 percent from P10.3 billion last year.”

Plaza noted that “PEZA had generated PHP 95 billion of investments with 300 projects registered for the period of January-December 2020.”

Just this January 2021, the PEZA Board approved a total of 24 projects, which are seen to employ 5,601 workers and bring PHP 11.308 billion of investments. “This is a 139% increase from the PHP 4.726 billion investments PEZA generated last year in January 2020.” PEZA Chief added.

The continued attraction of investments showcase that the Philippines is indeed an investment haven and PEZA’s brand of excellence is chosen by many investors. To date, among the total 2,571 companies registered in PEZA, 2,229 companies in Luzon are continuously operating, 393 companies out of 409 companies are operating in Visayas, and 46 of 47 companies are operating in Mindanao.

Recognitions and Citations

PEZA is also known for its best practices among economic zones worldwide. Various organizations and government institutions locally and abroad have recognized these practices that contributed to the ease of doing business in the Philippines.

The US Department of State lauded the Authority in its 2020 Investment Climate Statements saying, “The business environment is notably better within the special economic zones, particularly those available for export businesses operated by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), known for its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop-shop services for investors.

Likewise, the PCOO awarded PEZA during the 2020 Freedom of Information or FOI Awards with a Special Citation conferred to government agencies who have exemplified an untiring dedication and commitment to the FOI program during the COVID-19 pandemic by keeping its channels of information open and active to the public.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) conducted the cost benefit analysis (CBA) from 2016 to 2018 last year. Based on NEDA’s initial CBA study, an average of 94.5% of all exports were made by registered business enterprises (RBEs) under PEZA and these RBEs also acquired most imports (92.7 to 97.0%).

PEZA Chief said, “The findings in the preliminary study proves the importance and effectiveness of the tax incentives being given to investors and their presence in the country.”

PEZA’s Transformation Roadmap

Last December 2020, the PEZA Board approved the adoption of the new 10-point programs and special projects which shall be called “PEZA’s Transformational Roadmap” in the next 25 years.

Director General highlighted the new Transformation Roadmap as “a blueprint that is a legacy and continued guideline to unlock the potentials of Philippine industries, of enhancing human capital and natural resources of our country towards full, sustainable, and green industrialization.”

PEZA will collaborate with other government bodies to address the efficiency factors that expanding multinational companies are considering in making their investment decisions. This is in line with the signing of Administrative Order No. 18 in 2019 by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte which mandates various government agencies to develop and support ecozone creations in the countryside.

“PEZA has lived 26 wonderful years. And as we proceed to the next years of growing, improving, and developing together, we pray that we will all keep the same indomitable spirit and culture of excellence that set us apart from the rest.” said the PEZA Chief.

PEZA begins partnerships with local and foreign banks for credit facilities for ecozone development, facilities, utilities, and supply chain

PEZA begins partnerships with local and foreign banks for credit facilities for ecozone development, facilities, utilities, and supply chain
March 2, 2021
PEZA begins partnerships with local and foreign banks for credit facilities for ecozone development, facilities, utilities, and supply chain

PEZA begins partnerships with local and foreign banks for credit facilities for ecozone development, facilities, utilities, and supply chain  

02 March 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – Last Wednesday, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) had its first of its monthly-forum called “Global Biz” for 2021 as part of its PEZA’s 26th Anniversary held on 24 February 2021 at the PEZA Auditorium.
 

PEZA started the year 2021 with Global Biz that hosted its foreign and local banks such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Philippines National Bank (PNB). The said forum also included Japanese banks namely, the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mizuho Bank, MUFG Bank, and the Singaporean financial institution, the Passion Venture Capital.

With the theme, “Creating Credit Facilities for Ecozone Developer, Export Enterprise, Suppliers, Logistics, Transportation Hubs, Utilities Facilities, Public Works, IT Infrastructures, and Everyone Doing Business in the Philippine Zone”, the Global Biz forum aims to achieve PEZA’s worldview, “Thinking Global, Acting Local” as outlined in its 10-Point Program to fully industrialize, enhance the efficiency, and competitiveness of the Philippines as an investment haven in Asia.

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza said, “It is our goal that through this month’s Global Biz, local and international banks will be encouraged to put up credit facilities in our economic zones to address the efficiency factors like logistics, transportation hubs, public works, and infrastructures as well as to enhance the ease of doing business in the Philippines.”

Islamic Financing Opportunities in the Philippines

The BSP Executive Vice President, Attorney Noel P. Tianela delivered his Keynote Address. He discussed the opportunities of developing Islamic Banking and Finance in the Philippines. Tianela said, “Big populations can be tapped and be included in banking systems if there are robust and expanded Islamic Banking System as this can promote inclusive finance and address the demand of Muslims for Shariah-compliant financial products.”

According to Tianela, “Islamic Banking Systems should be anchored on principles that would lead the economy to greater financial stability.”

The BSP is anticipating more domestic banks to open their own Islamic banking units and foreign banks applying for their own Islamic banking license. He added, “We are now starting to provide a comprehensive regulatory framework conducive with a level-playing field for Islamic banking product and services, vis-à-vis, or that could operate alongside the conventional banking system.”

Credit Facilities of the DBP and PNB

The DBP Vice President and Head of the Program Development Management I, Mr. Noli Cruz graced the event as one of the resource speakers. Cruz highlighted that DBP’s core support to PEZA’s locator companies will be on infrastructure development. “This includes power, water, transport, logistics, housing, solid and hazardous wastes, and sanitations. DBP can also support the entire value chain of locator companies especially the small and medium enterprises and other areas needing development interventions.” Cruz said.

According to him, “DBP adheres to sustainable development thus, supporting projects that advance environmental protection believing that sustainable growth is purely hinged on total human development.” Cruz also pointed out that DBP is a strong advocate that promotes the well-being of Filipinos across the nation.

In a statement by the PNB Senior Vice President Jean Marie Baruelo, she said, “We intend to provide you comprehensive financial solutions spanning from your investments as you set up your operations in the Philippines all the way to your growth and development as we aim to partner with you as your financial partner of choice.”

Similar to the DBP, PNB also offers corporate or institutional loans, launching their sustainable finance network that aims to further support and promote such as renewable energy, clean transportation, energy efficiency, pollution prevention control, climate change adaptation, and terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity conservation.

Further, PNB can assist in investment banking solutions, global trade services, cash management solutions, and electronic payment solutions. Baruelo also encouraged foreign investors in the event that the PNB can assist them in queries on setting up establishment operations in the country and finding partners for joint ventures for local expansion.

PEZA, AFP partners for creating Defense Industrial Ecozones, transforming investors and workers as Reservists and disaster and emergency responders

PEZA, AFP partners for creating Defense Industrial Ecozones, transforming investors and workers as Reservists and disaster and emergency responders
March 2, 2021
PEZA, AFP partners for creating Defense Industrial Ecozones, transforming investors and workers as Reservists and disaster and emergency responders

PEZA, AFP partners for creating Defense Industrial Ecozones, transforming investors and workers as Reservists and disaster and emergency responders

02 March 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has assured the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), headed by Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, its full support to its plans and programs particularly for establishing a Defense Industrial Ecozone in military reserves during PEZA’s 26th year anniversary celebration on 24 February 2021 at the PEZA Auditorium.
 

AFP Chief of Staff Lt Gen Cirilito Sobejana has congratulated PEZA for “persistently promoting sound and balanced industrial, economic, and social development that continuously empower our people to become productive partners and integral catalysts for progress and nation building.”

“I urge PEZA to continue being true with the agency’s primary objective of providing a globally competitive environment for investments. On our part, we will continue to commit ourselves and provide our full support to PEZA and all its endeavors,” noted Lt Gen Sobejana.

He added, “The partnership between PEZA and the AFP has just started. We have to journey together towards building a stronger relationship in as far as growth and progress of our nation is concerned. We hope that this partnership will continue to prosper.”

Defense Industrial Complex

Meanwhile, PEZA and the AFP have already continued talks regarding the utilization of military reserve lands to become economic zones.

Under the leadership of Plaza, PEZA has established different types of economic zones based on the land potential of the region. This includes the proposed creation of Defense Industrial Complexes in the Philippines.

The PEZA Chief explained, “It is in [Lt Gen Sobejana’s] stewardship of the Philippine Army (PA) when we started to discuss the newest [type of] economic zone, which is the Defense Industrial Complex. The PA is managing almost 20,000 hectares of military reservation areas and we are now planning to make this the first Defense Industrial Complex in the country.”

“We hope to invite investors and defense industries who will manufacture military aircraft, seacraft, weapons, equipment, software, hardware, uniforms, and all those that the military and police will be needing,” she noted.

For his part, the AFP Chief explained that “At present, we are currently exploring the idea of establishing a Defense Industrial Complexes in selected military reservation [areas] across the country. We really need to produce locally our defense requirements and reduce our dependency to foreign suppliers. Of course, we need the technology that other countries have for us to establish [defense industries] here in our country for various.”

‘Not Militarizing PEZA’

Director General Plaza noted that the partnership of the AFP and the Authority is much needed especially in ensuring the safety and welfare of the Filipino people especially those in our economic zones.

“We are not militarizing PEZA. We are just making our employees and the industry workers in the ecozone as military reservists. And we are trained by the military, soon the police will join in the trainings, so that we will make our ecozone workers and PEZA employees as disaster and calamity responders. They can assure our investors that investing in our economic zones will be very safe and secured,” explained the PEZA Chief.

She added that, “PEZA cannot do it alone. We need the help of our forces to better equip us against manmade and natural disasters.”

Supporting the call, Lt Gen Sobejana noted, “We are just wanted to give assurance to the investors that your huge amount of investment is secured, wherever it is across the Philippine archipelago.”

In fact, Sobejana explained, “The program between the AFP and PEZA enabled us to effectively perform other roles and functions such as disaster response and other various community services as an affiliated reserve unit.”

“PEZA made a huge contribution through relief operations during the eruptions of Taal Volcano, the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysees and other typhoons, and in our fight against the spread of COVID-19,” noted the AFP Chief.

Galing Pinas

The AFP has likewise assured PEZA that they share the same goal of ensuring a much inclusive peace and progress for the whole country, attaining the full industrialization of the Philippines.

“We could all agree that partnerships and collaborations are extremely necessary in addressing the myriad of challenges that our nation is currently facing… We can effectively fight all [the present] threats and challenges if we effectively converge all our efforts. We really wanted to achieve that objective that the Philippines should be the best place for investment. Galing Pinas, Galing Pilipinas,” said Sobejana.

The AFP Chief explained, “I do believe that it would be an operation than of war that would offer a more sustainable solution to our problem and that is more on economic development. We have a lot of potentials; we have a very rich nation with a lot of human and natural resources… With so many resources around us, I define progress as a patriotic response to opportunities geared to reinvigorate an economic sustainable society.”

Sobejana and Plaza have unitedly called for other agencies as well to be part of the cause especially this time of pandemic.

“Let us be a light and a symbol of hope for the country and for our fellow Filipinos especially in the coming years. Let us altogether promote Galing Pinas, Galing Pinas! – made in the Philippines is best, the Philippines is best to invest in,” noted the PEZA Chief.

PEZA Chief welcomes the Inauguration of the Manufacturing Plant Expansion Project of Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc. at Lima Technology Center, Special Economic Zone, Batangas 

PEZA Chief welcomes the Inauguration of the Manufacturing Plant Expansion Project of Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc. at Lima Technology Center, Special Economic Zone, Batangas 
February 23, 2021
PEZA Chief welcomes the Inauguration of the Manufacturing Plant Expansion Project of Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc. at Lima Technology Center, Special Economic Zone, Batangas 

PEZA Chief welcomes the Inauguration of the Manufacturing Plant Expansion Project of Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc. at Lima Technology Center, Special Economic Zone, Batangas 

23 February 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza attended the Inauguration of the Manufacturing Plant Expansion Project of Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc., (YMPH) yesterday, February 22, 2021, at the Lima Technology Center, Malvar, Batangas. The PEZA Chief attended the said Inauguration on Monday.
 

The Inauguration formally marks the start of operation of the PEZA approved plant expansion with Supplemental Agreement last January 15, 2020. This is also Yamaha’s testament to their commitment to further business operations in the Philippines.

Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc. has been with PEZA since its registration on September 5, 2007. This is part of PEZA’s aim to attract Japanese companies to locate and invest here in the Philippines.

Director General Plaza expressed her appreciation and gratitude to locator companies’ continued operations such as the YMPH for keeping the Philippines afloat and protected amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, thus preserving the welfare of our countrymen, our country’s economy, and the jobs of Filipinos.

“PEZA welcomes YAMAHA’s Expansion Project especially during this time that we are reeling from the uncertainties at hand,” Plaza said. The PEZA Chief also emphasized that PEZA has always been supportive of these relative projects as it aims to encourage locators not to leave nor transfer but to expand and continue operations in economic zones amidst the pandemic.

This is also a significant event for the YMPH President Hiroshi Koike as this is his first time setting up a new factory in the Philippines in his 34 years working in Yamaha Motor. According to Koike, with the pandemic shifting the mode of public transportation from commuting to personal use of mobility, there is an increase in the demand for automatic models. “Generating a huge number of products will result to creation of more jobs roughly about 1500 employees for old factory and additional recruitment of 1300 workforce for this newly-built factory. This is in line with our corporate social responsibility in contributing to the enhancement of the Philippine economy,” Koike said.

YMPH aims to continuously cooperate with PEZA in expanding their business in order to also fulfill the mission of Yamaha Motor Philippines which is having the highest

growth in the motorcycle industry among ASEAN countries and to take pride in impressing the Filipino people by creating products that are beyond expectations.

As PEZA continues to do its best in promoting the creation of economic zones especially in the countryside, Plaza encourages locator companies to retain this in the entire nation and attain much inclusive growth for the Philippines. “We look forward to strengthening our partnership with you to achieve our goal of transforming the Philippines to become an investment haven in Asia.” PEZA Chief said

PEZA to celebrate 26th Anniversary with State of PEZA Address, to build partnerships with BSP and banks for credit facilities for ecozones

PEZA to celebrate 26th Anniversary with State of PEZA Address, to build partnerships with BSP and banks for credit facilities for ecozones
February 18, 2021
PEZA to celebrate 26th Anniversary with State of PEZA Address, to build partnerships with BSP and banks for credit facilities for ecozones

PEZA to celebrate 26th Anniversary with State of PEZA Address, to build partnerships with BSP and banks for credit facilities for ecozones 

18 February 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – Continuing to be the top investment promotion agency in the country that manages more than 4,605 registered companies and 410 operating ecozones nationwide amidst the new normal, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is preparing to celebrate its 26th anniversary on February 24, 2021 at its new office location in Pasay.
 

For the second time, the PEZA Director General will deliver a State of PEZA Address (SOPA) and also jumpstart its monthly Global Biz News with the topic on building partnerships with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and other local and foreign banks to create credit facilities for ecozone developments. Plaza delivered her first State of PEZA Address during the Investor’s Recognition Day last year, December 10, 2020.

“Indeed, PEZA is unstoppable and unrelenting amidst the pandemic. We continue to deliver our mandate for investments, jobs, and exports and see opportunities amidst the challenges for the Filipino people. We share the celebration of PEZA’s 26th anniversary with all the agency’s stakeholders and partners in the export-industry who help to keep our economy afloat and remain competitive in the global market,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza on Wednesday.

A series of programs are being prepared on February 24th. In the morning from 9:00AM is the “Global Biz with PEZA” which will be forum to discuss creating credit facilities for export-driven enterprises and ecozone developers both in public and private sectors. Meanwhile, in the afternoon from 3:00pm is the “State of PEZA Address” (SOPA) where the Director General shall deliver a message on the performance, vision, programs, and directions of PEZA in the present and coming years.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) are just some of the attendees for the upcoming Global Biz.

“We urge all concerned and interested public to join us in the livestreaming of the PEZA’s 26th Anniversary. It is a platform to learn and enlighten us on PEZA and the Philippine investment climate’s competitive edge, opportunities, and collaborations needed to further propel us to the vision of establishing the Philippines as investment haven in Asia,” said the PEZA Chief.

Galing Pinas Award by PEZA

Meanwhile, part of the program in the afternoon on February 24th after the SOPA is awarding of the recognition to PEZA’s partners in promoting the country's ecozones, competitiveness and making it as a premier investment hub. The “Galing Pinas Ecozone Investment Partnership Award 2021” are going to be conferred in honor of those contributions to PEZA’s programs and mandate.

“Under PEZA’s Galing Pinas Awards, we have selected Ka-PIPPs partners which meant members of PEZA Investment Promotion Partners, industry associations, companies and personalities who had worked with PEZA as the top investment promotion agency in the Philippines along with the citations from the World Bank, IFC, and US Department of State among others,” said the Plaza.

#GalingPinas represents PEZA’s slogan that meant "Made in the Philippines is the best! and the Philippines is best to invest in!”

Leaving Legacy

Meanwhile, the PEZA Chief underlined that in the current political context, “In basketball terms, we are in the last two minutes of our first Mindanaoan President’s term and we need to do our best to deliver for our fellow Filipinos and the Philippines.”

From Plaza’s appointment as the head of PEZA in 2016, PEZA has achieved many milestones and she has proven again her leadership prowess in her more than four years leading PEZA amidst the pandemic and implementing great balancing acts in managing the top investment promotion agency in the country.

Plaza is the second presidential appointee to the position of Director General since PEZA’s creation in 1995 by virtue of Republic Act No. 7916. Duterte appointed Plaza as PEZA Chief and she assumed the role beginning October 4, 2016. She is the co-author of Republic Act No. 7916 also known as “The Special Economic Zone Act of 1995” during her time as Congresswoman.

Since 2016 from the time of Plaza’s appointment to the present, PEZA recorded a total of 680.8 billion pesos of investments, a very significant portion of which comes from the development of new economic zones all over the country.

Under Plaza’s leadership, “PEZA is going beyond the traditional perception that ecozones are primarily or merely just the manufacturing or assembling type. In fact, there are different types of ecozones that can be established in idle lands depending on the viability and apt to the natural resources available in the area.”

Plaza explained that “PEZA can do more in partnership with private developers or public ecozones into developing smart cities or townships within cities. We are helping to build metropolitan areas with the presence of economic zones as the key driver for economic development.”

PEZA strengthens partnership with Mindanao leaders, pushes for more ecozones in the countryside 

PEZA strengthens partnership with Mindanao leaders, pushes for more ecozones in the countryside 
November 16, 2021
PEZA strengthens partnership with Mindanao leaders, pushes for more ecozones in the countryside 

PEZA strengthens partnership with Mindanao leaders, pushes for more ecozones in the countryside 

16 February 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Davao City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has come together with Mindanaoan leaders and national government officials to strengthen its partnership and further develop Mindanao during the Mindanao Speaks Up summit, which was held on Wednesday, 10 February in Ritz Hotel, Davao City.
 

Initiated by PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA) Administrator Abdulghani Ajul Salapuddin, the Mindanao Speaks Up forum seeks to address the long-delayed and other vital infrastructure projects especially for Mindanao as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte comes to his last 18 months in office.

“It is our dream to attain a stronger inclusive growth for the Philippines; to transform the country into a self-reliant, self-sustaining, and resource-generating investment haven. In order to achieve that, no one must be left behind. Thus, we need to help our President to fulfill his dreams and promises and make Mindanao the ‘Land of Fulfillment’,” said Plaza.

Creation of more ecozones in Mindanao

As MinDA Secretary Piñol and SPDA Administrator Salapuddin push for increased budget allocation for Mindanao in the 2022 budget, the PEZA Chief urged Mindanaon leaders in LGUs and national offices as well as those in Congress to file a resolution asking the President to declare idle public lands in the country’s south as areas for the development of special economic zones.

“The Mindanaoan leaders will be passing a resolution to the President so we could have the opportunity to trigger economic growth, creation of jobs, develop the countryside. Let’s proclaim public lands in every region to become public economic zones so we can contribute to the total development, in peace and prosperity of the country,” said Director General Plaza.

This urge is in line with the President’s Administrative Order (AO) No. 18 which seeks to promote rural development, ensure inclusive growth in the countryside, and create robust economic activity and wealth generation in areas outside of Metro Manila.

The PEZA Chief believes that the creation of more economic zones is the best and fastest economic masterplan that national government must promote.

“Ecozones will be drivers for economic recovery and growth in every region, which will help create jobs for the locals, complete the supply needs in the area, and make enterprises participate in the global supply chain. This will in turn spur socio-economic progress as well as reduce crime and poverty incidence in our regions,” explained the Plaza.

There are currently 37 ecozones in Mindanao, with 17 in Davao, 10 in Northern Mindanao, eight in Soccsksargen, and one each in Zamboanga and Caraga. Of these, 12 are agro-industrial, 15 IT parks, eight manufacturing, and one tourism.

The PEZA Chief added, “We are determined to help leave a legacy for our people in Mindanao and help realize the plans and programs of our beloved President especially in Mindanao that is full of potentials in human capital, natural resources, and available idle lands.”

Hearing the concerns of all parties, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri had assured legislative support for next year’s budget and other resolutions put forward at the multi-stakeholder gathering.

“We still have time for these projects to be inserted to our General Appropriations Act so let’s work together to make sure that these projects don’t remain promises or blueprints… Just tell us what you need, my dear friends in MinDA, from the national budget, so we can push these initiatives and move this forward,” said Senator Zubiri.

He added, “We have a few Mindanaoans in the Senate: Senator [Aquilino] Pimentel, Senator [Christopher Lawrence] Go, Senator [Ronald] Dela Rosa, Senator [Emmanuel] Pacquiao as well as yours truly. We are all open to hearing from you and are always ready and willing to help our beloved Mindanao.”

PEZA, PNP sign Implementing Rules and Regulations of Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO) at Camp Crame for safe ecozones, industrial peace

PEZA, PNP sign Implementing Rules and Regulations of Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO) at Camp Crame for safe ecozones, industrial peace
February 16, 2021
PEZA, PNP sign Implementing Rules and Regulations of Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO) at Camp Crame for safe ecozones, industrial peace

PEZA, PNP sign Implementing Rules and Regulations of Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO) at Camp Crame for safe ecozones, industrial peace

16 February 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza together with PNP Chief PGen Debold M. Sinas spearheaded the signing of PEZA – PNP Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO) yesterday, February 15, 2021, at the National Headquarters, Camp Crame, Quezon City.
 

The signing of the JIPCO IRR between the PEZA and PNP coincided with the Monday Flag Raising Ceremony, Conferment of Award, and the Memorandum of Agreement Signing between PNP and Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

The signing of the IRR between the PEZA and PNP aim to contribute to providing a safe and globally competitive business environment in economic and freeport zones.

Plaza expressed her gratitude to the PNP. She said, “As we aim to sign the IRR, on our part in PEZA, we are grateful to PNP’s leadership in sharing with us our cherished mandate and value to uphold the rights of Filipino workers or labor and uphold environmental laws – two of which are the non-negotiables in PEZA’s regulation of industries.”

The PEZA Chief said, “I am confident that investments in the economic zones will be secured and maintained as it continues to prosper, thus, producing more jobs and generating investments, and economic growth for Filipinos.”

Police Brigadier General Julius Lagiwid thanked PNP Chief Debold Sinas for building alliances between industry players and workers’ communities in partnership based on encouragement and empowerment. Lagiwid said, “Finally, we can collaboratively protect the investment integrity of this country making the Philippines an ideal investment destination in Southeast Asia.”

PEZA-PNP's IRR for MOA on JIPCO

On March 26, 2018, the PEZA and PNP signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the aims to strengthen their partnership for change and development through the creation of the PEZA-PNP JIPCO.

Under the IRR of the MOA between the PEZA and PNP, their partnership is also designed to compose the teams to be assigned, including female police officers to address security issues and cater to complaints, queries, and other concerns in the workplace with the end in view of promoting industrial peace and respect for the rights of labor and management towards achieving a more conducive business environment in the ecozones.

According to the IRR, the PNP is tasked to strictly observe police operational procedures (POP) and respect for human rights shall be paramount at all times.

Likewise, the PEZA Police Force and the PNP will now bring the services of the PNP closer to investors and workers. “We hope to make a more equipped PNP and our workers by undergoing training seminars that are different from the program of instruction adopted by the PNP,” Plaza noted. Such trainings will focus more on police relations, crisis resiliency, civilian resistance, and seminars on IED Awareness, Bomb Threats Management, and other related life-saving techniques. Likewise, the IRR signing will enable the PEZA Police Force to craft and implement crime prevention measures, crisis control, and contingency plans in public and private economic zones.

Plaza also emphasized peace and security as important factors of investment in partnership with PNP. “Through the JIPCO and its IRR, we believe this will harness the ease of doing business (EODB) and help provide a safe and secure ecozone environment for all of the Filipino and foreign workers, locators, and investors in ecozones,” said the PEZA Chief.

Meanwhile, Sinas expressed his gratitude and appreciation to PEZA saying that the signing of the IRR best describes their further efforts in protecting the country particularly to the security of economic zones. “With this IRR, the PNP and PEZA will work together towards sustaining a competitive Philippine export industry and integrated without compromising public safety,” Sinas said.

The PNP Chief also added that the IRR is crafted fair and square for the Filipino people which also possess a strong message to investors most especially abroad that the Philippines is serious in its objectives which PEZA has always upheld through its “one-stop nonstop shop policy”.

With the successful implementation of the JIPCO IRR, PEZA and PNP can fulfill the slogan of JIPCO, “Together, we drive the force of our country’s global competitiveness and foreign preference as an investment destination.”

PEZA opens first Pharma Ecozone in PH to be located in Bulacan

PEZA opens first Pharma Ecozone in PH to be located in Bulacan
February 2, 2021
PEZA opens first Pharma Ecozone in PH to be located in Bulacan

PEZA opens first Pharma Ecozone in PH to be located in Bulacan 

02 February 2020 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has officially granted Philstar Marketing Development, Inc. its registration as a developer/operator of First Bulacan Business Park (FBBP) in Malolos, Bulacan, the first mixed use ecozone in the province following the signing of its Registration Agreement on 27 January 2021, under Certificate of Registration No. EZ-21-01.
 

This comes after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued Proclamation No. 1070 granting FBBP the status of a “special economic zone.”

“We thank President Duterte for the proclamation of the First Bulacan Business Park, which is the first pharmaceutical ecozone registered under PEZA,” said Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza.

First Bulacan Business Park

Envisioned to be the premier ecozone in the country that will host pharmaceutical and support IT companies and export-oriented industries, FBBP plans to adopt smart technologies and renewable source of power inside the ecozone to meet locator companies’ demand for a sustainable business environment.

Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando likewise manifested his full support to the proclamation of the ecozone dubbed as “The Pharma Park of the North.”

Plaza said, “The proclamation of FBBP will surely spur pharma-related research, manufacturing, and tourism in the country especially with the COVID-19 global pandemic.”

More Pharma Ecozones in PH

Citing the importance of the ecozone as an effective strategy to bounce back from the present crisis and to prevent it from happening again, the PEZA Chief noted that “PEZA will continue to do its best to attract investors that will create more pharmaceutical economic zones in the Philippines, making the country self-reliant, self-sustaining, and resource-generating in terms of producing our own medicines, medical equipment and supplies.”

In December 2020, Senator Francis Tolentino appealed to the government to speed up the establishment of pharmaceutical manufacturing zones to ensure the public’s access to cheaper medicines and help boost the country’s economic growth. Tolentino proposed Senate Resolution No. 580 urging PEZA and the Board of Investments (BOI) to fast-track its creation of pharmaceutical zones.

The COVID-19 outbreak has reaffirmed the need for investment in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. As such PEZA, in addition to the existing medical tourism guidelines, is looking to explore adding to its new types of ecozones “Biomedical Innovative Center” to host leading Biotechnology Companies and Philippine startups (under Innovative Startup Act), including pharmaceuticals. This will be in the mold of Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster (KBIC), which offers a platform for networking businesses and institutes in their pursuit of innovative collaboration and groundbreaking discoveries in a wide spectrum of medical, pharmaceutical, and biological fields, including medical device and regenerative medical fields.

In support of the business continuity objective of the global pharma companies which are mostly located in Metro Manila, FBBP provides a redundant site outside NCR and in the countryside. FBBP is also in close proximity to the proposed Bulacan International Airport.

PEZA 10-point programs

According to Plaza, “The creation of pharmaceutical economic zones in the country will also be officially included as one of the types of economic zones to be created by PEZA.”

“We aim to promote the creation and development of more world-class economic zones in every province in the country in line with the President’s Administrative Order (AO) No. 18. We are partnering up with the different local government units in harnessing use of lands in their respective jurisdictions by utilizing the overall millions of hectares of idle lands in the country and turning them into green, healthy, and sustainable economic zones,” explained Plaza.

The creation of different types of economic zones is part of PEZA’s 10-point program and special projects which has been adapted by PEZA as its transformational roadmap for the next 25 years.

The transformational roadmap aims to fully industrialize the country and make it an investment haven in Asia. This roadmap seeks not only to promote investments in the economic zones, but more importantly to address, in collaboration with other government bodies, the efficiency factors that expanding multinational companies are considering in making their investment decisions.

PEZA Chief thanks BOC for timely apprehension of smuggled cigarettes NOT allowed among PEZA Importations

PEZA Chief thanks BOC for timely apprehension of smuggled cigarettes NOT allowed among PEZA Importations
January 26, 2021
PEZA Chief thanks BOC for timely apprehension of smuggled cigarettes NOT allowed among PEZA Importations

PEZA Chief thanks BOC for timely apprehension of smuggled cigarettes NOT allowed among PEZA Importations 

26 January 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Taguig City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has lauded on Tuesday the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for the immediate apprehension of shipment containing smuggled cigarettes, which is allegedly bound to a PEZA-registered enterprise in Cavite.
 

On 18 January 2021, the Manila International Container Port (MICP) apprehended two-by-forty-foot (2x40’) containers containing undeclared cigarettes allegedly bound to the First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE) Special Economic Zone.

The subject shipment was verified to originate from China consigned to YJC International Corporation, a PEZA-registered export enterprise. Based on the Alert Order on the shipments issued by BOC, the shipments were found to contain, among others, 1,599 cartons of cigarettes. As a matter of PEZA procedure, PEZA does not interfere with BOC on actions it may take on shipments of PEZA enterprises that have been issued an Alert Order.

“We thank BOC for their immediate action on their discovery. We at PEZA do not tolerate violations by a PEZA-registered enterprise to custom rules and regulations. PEZA has already issued a show cause order to the said company and is conducting its own investigation on the incident,” said the PEZA Chief.

She added, “We’re now trying to identify how and where these smuggled items not included in the locators’ importation permit were inserted in their containers. We’re also tracing the owner of the vessel and its route where insertions could have occurred.”

“PEZA has been recognized by both the local and international organizations like the US Department of State, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and the Presidential Communications Operations Office for its best practices and performance during the pandemic. We do not want this ‘bad apple’ to taint the integrity of other PEZA enterprises and obliterate the gains and brand of excellence and in the regulatory role of PEZA over the past 25 years,” noted Plaza.

The Director General has already requested for a meeting with BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero to tackle the matter and to strengthen cooperation to prevent the occurrence of any further incident similar to this.

Likewise, PEZA is continuously collaborating with BOC for the effective implementation of the Electronic Tracking of Containerized Cargo (E-TRACC) system for containerized shipments bound to PEZA zones using a risk-based approach.

Under the PEZA law, "Export Processing Zone (EPZ)" is a specialized industrial estate located physically and/or administratively outside customs territory, predominantly oriented to export production. Enterprises located in export processing zones are allowed to import capital equipment and raw materials free from duties, taxes and other import restrictions. Notwithstanding, PEZA and BOC have existing partnerships and cooperation to properly monitor entry of imported products. This collaboration has been proven effective in the long years of PEZA’s existence.

PEZA welcomes 2021 with positive investments, performance lauded for maintaining a globally competitive business climate   

PEZA welcomes 2021 with positive investments, performance lauded for maintaining a globally competitive business climate   
January 14, 2021
PEZA welcomes 2021 with positive investments, performance lauded for maintaining a globally competitive business climate   

PEZA welcomes 2021 with positive investments, performance lauded for maintaining a globally competitive business climate   

14 January 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has pledged that “As we start a new year amidst the new normal, we will continue to serve our mandate and turn challenges into opportunities for the Filipino people and Philippine export-industry this 2021 and the years to come.” 
 

This comes as PEZA approved in December 2020 a total of 26 projects expected to bring in PhP 6.69 Billion of investments. The approvals bring PEZA’s overall total to PhP 95.03 Billion of investments with 326 projects registered in from January to December 2020 – 109 of which came from the IT-BPO sector and 217 from the manufacturing sector.

In terms of location, 146 of the projects will be created in Region IV, 74 in the National Capital Region (NCR), 39 in Region VII, 34 in Region III, and 33 in other regions.

Compared to 2019, PEZA registered 540 new and expansion projects that was expected to bring in PhP 117.5 Billion of investments.

Plaza explained that “Despite the pandemic that began in 2020 and affected global economy and trade, PEZA remains to perform at its best with the help of its registered business enterprises.”

In fact, PEZA received recognitions in 2020 from the US Department of State for its best practices that made business environment in ecozones’ better, and a Special Citation conferred to government agencies who have exemplified an untiring dedication and commitment to the FOI program during the COVID-19 pandemic in the recent FOI Awards.

Breakdown of performance

Foreign investments were up in 2020 by 21.26% to PhP 59.73 Billion from 2019’s PhP 49.26 Billion. Despite this, there has been a decline in local investments from PhP 68.29 Billion in 2019 to PhP 35.30 Billion in 2020. The decline can be attributed to various causes including the perilous effect of the COVID-19 imposed lockdowns beginning March 2020.

Nevertheless, PEZA remained at the top of the game compared to other IPAs. In fact, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported in the last quarter of 2020 that, “Only PEZA registered year-on-year growth in foreign investment commitments during the July-to-September period with P20.3 billion, up 97 percent from P10.3 billion last year.” The report further mentioned that other IPAs like the Board of Investments (BOI) indicated a decline in generated foreign investments.

In terms of sector, the manufacturing industry has generated a total of PhP 34.44 Billion of investments, which is 13.43% up from the sector’s PhP 30.35 Billion investment in 2019.

The IT-BPO industry, on the other hand, is seen to bring in PhP 17.41 Billion of investments. This is 0.93% lower than the PhP 17.58 Billion investments recorded in 2019.

Majority of the investments came from various nationalities including that of America, European countries like United Kingdom, Belgium, Ireland, and Spain, and Asian countries such as China, South Korea, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan.

In terms of regions where the investments were located, the top performing in 2020 are Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Regions 1, 3, 5, 6, 11 and 12.

The PEZA Chief said “PEZA is grateful for the continued trust and confidence of our investors despite the difficulties we faced in 2020. This shows that PEZA is strong and actively pursuing its mandate, harnessing Philippine investment competitiveness, and creating opportunities for many Filipinos.”

Hopeful for 2021

“As we continue to cope with the new normal, we remain committed and steadfast to attract investments, generate exports, and create employment for our country and the Filipino people,” noted Plaza.

Further, the Director General said “We hope that coming 2021, we will be able to attract more foreign direct investments in the country, keep the PEZA brand of service renowned worldwide, and help the Philippine economy bounce back and even become a self-reliant, self-sustaining, and resource-generating investment haven in Asia.”

PEZA records good performance in investments in 2020 despite pandemic  

PEZA records good performance in investments in 2020 despite pandemic  
December 24, 2020
PEZA records good performance in investments in 2020 despite pandemic  

PEZA records good performance in investments in 2020 despite pandemic  

24 December 2020 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – A top performing Investment Promotion Agency in the country, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) closes the year 2020 on a good note with a continued streak of good performance and with the approvals of new and expansion projects despite the COVID-19 crisis.
 

“Indeed, PEZA is unstoppable by COVID-19. While implementing COVID-19 protocols and guidelines, we continue to serve our mandate and turned challenges into opportunities for the Filipino people and Philippine export-industry,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza. “Amidst the new normal, we will continue to do so in the years to come,” she added.

PEZA Board approvals

For the year 2020, the PEZA board approved 318 applications for new and expansion projects which are projected to generate employment of about 70,000. These applications prove that many investors are still looking to invest in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) recently reported that, “Only PEZA [among other IPAs] registered year-on-year growth in foreign investment commitments during the July-to-September period with P20.3 billion, up 97 percent from P10.3 billion last year.”

PEZA also continues to receive positive impressions from local and international organizations like the IFC World Bank and the US Department of State about its best practices on ecozone management and in its performance. The US Department of State noted that “while the Philippine bureaucracy can be slow and opaque in its processes, the business environment is notably better within the special economic zones, particularly those available for export businesses operated by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), known for its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors. Noteworthy advantages of the Philippine investment landscape include free trade zones, including economic zones, and a large, educated, English-speaking Filipino workforce.”

Performance indicators in 2020

Moreover, showing a silver lining amidst the crisis, PEZA has generated PhP 88.341 Billion of investments with 300 projects registered as of November 2020. PEZA also generated US$ 45.085 Billion of exports and created 1,541,259 jobs as of October 2020. Compared last year, PEZA recorded PhP 109.194 Billion of investments and US$ 45.340 Billion exports, with 496 projects registered and 1,572,510 jobs generated for the same periods.

PEZA Chief said, “While PEZA, like other investment promotion agencies (IPAs), may have experienced a decline in investment applications this 2020 which can be attributed the global pandemic and the localized lockdowns, and also the uncertainties brought by the pending CREATE legislation, PEZA remained on top of its mandate and think out of the box and doing great balancing acts.”

“We continue to be positive about opportunities for the Philippines to attract trust and confidence of investors and business groups whether in terms of new or expansion projects. We at PEZA continue to do our best to attract investors and help our economy bounce back,” noted the PEZA Chief.

Status of Operations

Also with the great balancing acts and business assistance programs implemented by PEZA for its locators to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, PEZA registered companies are nearing to get back to its 100% operations by the end of 2020.

For the period of December 7-12, about 2,645 companies or 88% are currently operating with 1,107,826 or 75% of the work force working under various work schemes. By sector, the IT-BPO companies are 84% operational whereas the manufacturing industry is operating at 91%.

For the last two years of the Duterte Administration, PEZA is also gearing to fully adopt its “Transformational Roadmap” containing 10-point programs, which seek to eradicate the country’s import and consumption dependence in order to attain industrialization and total development of the Philippines. The programs also complement Administrative Order (AO) No. 18, which seeks to accelerate rural progress through the creation of economic zones in the countryside, and Executive Order (EO) No. 114 or the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa” Program.

In his speech during the PEZA 25th Anniversary and Investors’ Recognition 2020, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that “Particularly under the leadership of DG Ching Plaza, we laud PEZA for its great balancing acts during this pandemic, which helped export-oriented enterprises to continue participating in the supply and demand in the global market while protecting the safety and welfare of the Filipino employees. With this, our valued enterprises immensely helped to keep the Philippine economy afloat and let thousands of our Filipino workforce retain their jobs.”

“Let us be one in making a competitive and positive business environment, enhance Filipino human capital and natural resources, and attract investors in the country and thereby create jobs and promote economic growth,” said the PEZA Chief.

Outstanding ecozone locators and developers awarded at PEZA Investors’ Recognition Day 2020

Outstanding ecozone locators and developers awarded at PEZA Investors’ Recognition Day 2020
December 14, 2020
Outstanding ecozone locators and developers awarded at PEZA Investors’ Recognition Day 2020

Outstanding ecozone locators and developers awarded at PEZA Investors’ Recognition Day 2020

14 December 2020 (Monday)
 

Pasay City – In line with its 25th Silver Anniversary celebration this year, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has awarded its outstanding registered economic zone locators and developers during the Investors’ Recognition Day last December 10, which was attended by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque as representative of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
 

Roque emphasized the “Duterte administration’s commitment and efforts in shaping a conducive and attractive business and investment environment for our foreign as well as domestic investors.”

“Particularly under the leadership of PEZA Director General Ching Plaza, we laud PEZA for its great balancing acts during this pandemic, which helped export-oriented enterprises to continue participating in the supply and demand in the global market while protecting the safety and welfare of the Filipino employees. With this, our valued enterprises immensely helped to keep the Philippine economy afloat and let thousands of our Filipino workforce retain their jobs,” said Roque.

The Investors' Recognition Day is the biggest annual event in PEZA, that is often celebrated with PEZA's Anniversary. Here, PEZA acknowledges the enormous and very considerable benefits that economic zones with its developers, economic zone locator enterprises, and other stakeholders contribute to the country's socio-economic growth and development.

“This is our way to appreciate our registered business enterprises for their relentless efforts and to boost their confidence in doing business in the Philippines. We thank our registered business enterprises for your continuous help to transform the Philippine economy into a thriving and vibrant one despite the challenges we are facing. PEZA would not be what it is today without all of you,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza.

Also present in the PEZA Investors’ Day were Deputy Speaker Wes Gatchalian, CGPA Lt Gen Cirilito Sobejana, and virtually sending message of greeting were Vice President Leni Robredo and Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

Under the Special Awards category, PEZA also opened three new recognitions for our registered business enterprises. The COVID-19 Response Award is given to PEZA-registered enterprises and economic zone developer – operators who were able to successfully establish policies and programs to avert the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the workplace.

The Green, Healthy, Smart, and Sustainable Ecozone Award on the other hand is given to company for their notable commitment to promoting healthy industrialization and sustainably-designed, smart, and green economic zone.

In recognition of PEZA enterprises’ patronage of locally manufactured/produced raw materials, and support to local suppliers, PEZA shall be giving the Galing Pinas! Award to PEZA-registered Ecozone Export Enterprises that are substantially utilizing locally manufactured/produced and/or grown raw materials in their export product.

List of Awardees

A total of 35 companies and developer-operators have been recognized for the major categories in the PEZA Excellence Awards, while 21 have been awarded under the special awards category.

Below is the list of PEZA’s ecozone locator companies and developer-operators who have showed exemplary performance in 2019 and were recognized during the event:

FOR OUTSTANDING EXPORTER
1. Dyson Electronics Pte. Ltd. – Philippine Branch
2. STMicroelectronics, Inc.
3. B/E Aerospace B.V. – Phil Branch
4. Continental Temic Electronics (Philippines), Inc.
5. Wu Kong (S) Pte., Ltd. (Phil Branch)
6. Sutherland Global Services Philippines, Inc.
7. Concentrix Daksh Services Philippine Corporation

FOR OUTSTANDING EMPLOYER
1. Concentrix Daksh Services Philippine Corporation (2nd Award)
2. Concentrix CVG Philippines, Inc.
3. EMS Components Assembly, Inc.
4. Brother Industries (Philippines), Inc.
5. ING Business Shared Services B.V. Branch Office

FOR OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY PROJECT
1. ING Business Shared Services B.V. Branch Office (2nd Award)
2. Reed Elsevier Shared Services (Philippines), Inc.
3. ON Semiconductor Philippines, Inc.
4. Denso Philippines Corporation
5. Telus International Philippines, Inc.
6. WeServ Systems International, Inc.
7. EY GDS (CS) Philippines, Inc.
8. Philippine Sinter Corporation
9. Alliance Mansols, Inc.

FOR OUTSTANDING ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE
1. Brother Industries (Philippines), Inc. (2nd Award)
2. Canon Business Machines (Philippines) Inc.
3. Analog Devices Gen. Trias, Inc.
4. Samsung Electro-Mechanics Philippines, Corp.
5. Denso Ten Philippines Corporation

ELEVATION TO THE HALL OF FAME
1. JAE Philippines, Inc.
2014, 2017, and 2019 Outstanding Employer Award
2. PetroSolar Corporation
2017, 2018, 2019 Outstanding Community Projects Award
3. Techlog Center Philippines
2017, 2018, 2019 Outstanding Community Projects Award
4. Ibiden Philippines, Inc.
2016, 2017, and 2019 Outstanding Community Projects Award
5. Epson Precision (Philippines), Inc.
2008, 2011, and 2019 Outstanding Environmental Performance Award
6. Astec Power Philippines
2014, 2017, and 2019 Outstanding Environmental Performance Award
7. Laguna Auto-Parts Manufacturing Corporation
2007, 2011, and 2019 Outstanding Environmental Performance Award

BILLIONAIRES AWARD
1. TI (Philippines), Inc.
2. Toshiba Information Equipment (Phils.), Inc.

SPECIAL CATEGORY
A. GREEN, HEALTHY, SMART, SUSTAINABLE ECOZONE AWARD
1. First Philippine Industrial Park
2. Science Park of the Philippines, Inc.

B. GALING PINAS! SPECIAL CITATION FOR LOCAL PURCHASES
1. Cargill Oil Mills Philippines, Inc.
2. House Technology Industries Pte. Ltd.
3. Nidec Philippines Corporation
4. Pilipinas Kao, Inc.
5. Canon Business Machines (Philippines), Inc.
6. EPSON Precision Philippines, Inc.
7. Wu Kong (S) Pte., Ltd. (Phil Branch)

C. COVID-19 RESPONSE AWARD
1. Analog Devices Gen. Trias, Inc.
2. Enomoto Philippine Manufacturing Incorporated
3. Knowles Electronics Philippines Corporation
4. Lexmark Research and Development Corporation
5. Maxim Philippines Operating Corporation
6. Philippine Manufacturing Co. of Murata Inc.
7. Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation
8. Taiyo Yuden (Philippines), Inc.
9. Brother Industries Philippines
10. EMS Group
11. EPSON Precision Philippines, Inc
12. Techlog Center Philippines

“I thank our investors for your continued trust and support for the local businesses that fuel our economy. May your confidence in the country never cease despite all the uncertainties surrounding us,” expressed Senate President Vicente Sotto III during his video message.

PEZA performance

Aside from the awarding, Director General Plaza also delivered her State of PEZA Address (SOPA) wherein she reported the Authority’s performance in the last 25 years and during this time of pandemic.

“Truly, the uncertainties brought about by the pandemic and the changes in the legislation affected us in the last years. Nevertheless, we continue our streak of good performance little-by-little,” remarked the PEZA Chief.

According to Plaza, “PEZA now manages 410 economic zones with a total of 4,605 locator companies being housed in the zones. The investments of these 4,605 locator companies in the zones have accumulated a whopping total of PhP 3.9 trillion during the last 25 years. Also, the export revenues of locator companies in the zones have reached US$ 839 billion and counting.”

The recent study of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) also revealed that “Only PEZA registered year-on-year growth in foreign investment commitments during the July-to-September period with P20.3 billion, up 97 percent from P10.3 billion last year.”

As noted by Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo in her video message, “PEZA has done such a good job in taking care of our industry associations and foreign chambers that many of our partners are still investing here in our country and our people. Your contributions to the economy are undeniable.”

PEZA Balancing Acts

The PEZA Chief also reported PEZA’s great balancing acts which helped protect the health and welfare of our Filipino employees and the Philippine economy as a whole.

According to Plaza, “Our registered companies helped to keep the Philippine economy afloat and let thousands of our Filipino workforce retain their jobs. Without them, we might have been in a graver situation than we are now.”

Senator Sotto likewise applauded PEZA for its balancing acts. “With your efforts, our economy will be able to hurdle the challenges brought about by [the COVID-19] pandemic,” said Sotto.

“PEZA has lived 25 wonderful years. And as we proceed to the next 25 years of growing, improving, and fighting together, I pray that we all keep the same indomitable spirit and culture of excellence that set us apart from the rest (…) we also pray that amidst seeming difficult circumstances, PEZA can be a light and a symbol of hope for the country and for our fellow Filipinos,” stated Plaza.

The December 10 celebration also marked the official inauguration of the new PEZA office at 8th, 9th, and 10th floors of the Double Dragon Meridian Park, Corner Macapagal Avenue & EDSA Extension, Bay Area, Pasay.

PEZA’s performance under Duterte administration

Secretary Harry Roque also discussed in his keynote speech that “Under the Duterte administration, PEZA recorded a total of PhP 680.8 billion investments, a very significant portion of which comes from the development of new economic zones all over the country. PEZA was also able to create a total of 248,399 direct jobs and generate a total of US$ 157.858 Billion exports from July 2016 to June 2019 for the first three years of the Duterte administration.”

“We thank you for your continuous efforts to help the Government keep and attract foreign investments in the country and in promoting the creation of special economic zones especially in the countryside that will become economic drivers in every region,” he said.

He conveyed that this will greatly support Administrative Order No. 18, “Accelerating Rural Progress Through Robust Development of Special Economic Zones in the Countryside,” and Executive No. 114 or the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program.

Saying that COVID cannot stop us from doing our best for our country and our fellowmen, Roque assured investor that the Government, with the help of PEZA and other agencies, are doing everything revive and maintain an enabling and most conducive environment for investment in the years to come.

“We will bounce back from this crisis stronger than ever. At this point, on behalf of the Philippine government, let me reiterate our full and abiding support to you, our valued investors and to PEZA management and programs that promote ‘Galing Pinas, Galing Pinas’ – Made in the Philippines are the best, the Philippines is best to invest in,” he said.

State of PEZA Address and awarding of top ecozone developer-operators and locator companies to be held on Investors’ Recognition Day 2020

State of PEZA Address and awarding of top ecozone developer-operators and locator companies to be held on Investors’ Recognition Day 2020
December 4, 2020
State of PEZA Address and awarding of top ecozone developer-operators and locator companies to be held on Investors’ Recognition Day 2020

State of PEZA Address and awarding of top ecozone developer-operators and locator companies to be held on Investors’ Recognition Day 2020 

04 December 2020 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – As the top export-oriented investment promotion agency (IPA) in the country continues its 25th Anniversary celebration this 2020, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is preparing to conduct the Investors’ Recognition Day to recognize the outstanding economic zone locator companies and developer operators in the annual PEZA Excellence Awards this coming December 10.
 

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza said, “Aside from the State of PEZA Address (SOPA) that I will deliver on the Investors’ Day, I am pleased to share that PEZA continues to give award and recognition to registered business enterprises in economic zones. They bring to the country investments that generate export-income for the country, that create jobs for thousands of Filipinos, and that help improve the living conditions of our fellowmen and attain the total development of the country.”

"This is our way to appreciate their relentless efforts and to boost their confidence in doing business in the Philippines,” added Plaza.

A total of 35 export-oriented companies will be given under the following award categories: Outstanding Exporter Award; Outstanding Employer Award; Outstanding Community Project; Outstanding Environmental Performers Award; Hall of Fame; and the Billionaires Award.

Recognitions

The Outstanding Exporter Award is given to locators that accomplished outstanding performance in exports and is a good corporate citizen while the Outstanding Employer Award is given to those companies that generated the most number of jobs, held high regard for the welfare of its workers, and maintained harmony between labor and management.

For the Outstanding Community Project Award, locators or developers that has strengthened its relationship with the community through meaningful corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects like scholarship programs, free medical and dental services, tree planting, gift giving, or similar pro-community projects will be recognized.

The Outstanding Environmental Performers Award is given to a locator that has institutionalized its environmental management system, complied with environmental regulations, and fostered partnership between the government and the industry in caring for the environment while simultaneously sustaining economic growth.

Meanwhile, the Hall of Fame Award is awarded to three-time winners of the Outstanding Exporter, Outstanding Employer, Outstanding Community Project and Outstanding Environmental Performer Awards.

Further, the Billionaires Award is given to a company that exports at least US$2.5 Billion in any given year.

New PEZA Award categories in 2020

Aside from these awards, PEZA also recently opened this year three new awards under the Special Awards category for its registered companies to vie for.

Open to all locators and ecozone developers-operators, the COVID-19 Response Award seeks to recognize registered business enterprises who were able to successfully establish policies and programs to avert the spread of the virus in the workplace.

“It is a must that we recognize the efforts of our registered companies to combat the effect of this pandemic while they strive maintain operations and comply to the global supply and demand,” noted the PEZA Chief.

These companies must be able to provide proof of collaboration between employers, supervisors and workers in the workplace safety and health committees to promote and improve response and preparedness for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, PEZA has come up with the Green, Healthy, Smart and Sustainable Ecozones Award which will be given to ecozone developers who are committed to and are qualified on the following:

1) the promotion of healthy industrialization through designing ecozones and townships that are geared towards sustainability and a decarbonized future;

2) adoption of technologies and methodologies which make ecozone operations more efficient; and

3) fostering partnership between government and the industry in making ecozones more attractive to global leaders in the manufacturing and IT sector, thereby enabling PEZA to achieve its vision as primary catalyst for sound and balanced development.

This award is in line with PEZA’s new policy to transform its ecozones into green, healthy, sustainable, safe, and smart ecozones.

In recognition of PEZA enterprises’ patronage of locally manufactured/produced raw materials, and support to local suppliers, PEZA shall be giving the Galing Pinas! Award to PEZA-registered Ecozone Export Enterprises that are substantially utilizing locally manufactured/produced and/or grown raw materials in their export product.

Under its criteria, Deputy Director General for Operations Ms. Mary Harriet Abordo explained that “Sourcing products locally is an important step towards sustainable business practices. It supports the local economy and foster community development. Local sourcing can boost economic growth while providing opportunities to reduce negative environmental impact. By sourcing locally, companies create linkages with domestic suppliers upstream in their value chain.”

The awarding ceremony will be held on 10 December 2020, 2:00 PM at the PEZA Auditorium with only limited honorees and guests present in line with the COVID-19 guidelines on mass gathering.

The Investors’ Recognition Day 2020 will also be streamed live on PEZA’s official social media accounts through this link: bit.ly/PEZAAwards2020

PEZA’s great balancing acts on COVID-19 recognized in the 2020 FOI Awards 

PEZA’s great balancing acts on COVID-19 recognized in the 2020 FOI Awards 
December 1, 2020
PEZA’s great balancing acts on COVID-19 recognized in the 2020 FOI Awards 

PEZA’s great balancing acts on COVID-19 recognized in the 2020 FOI Awards 

01 December 2020 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s (PEZA) has recently been awarded the ‘Special Citation to Government Agencies amidst the COVID-19 pandemic’ in the recent Freedom of Information (FOI) Awards for its great ‘balancing acts’.
 

“Launched in 2017 following President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of Executive Order No. 2 or the Freedom of Information Act in 2016, the FOI Awards is an annual event being facilitated by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO). The awards being given by the Philippine Government aims to recognize those government agencies and organizations who have helped in promoting open, transparent, and accountable governance.

Special Citation to Government Agencies amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

The Special Citation is conferred to government agencies for its untiring dedication and commitment to the Freedom of Information Program during the COVID-19 pandemic by keeping their channels of information open and active to the public.

According to PCOO, its criteria for awarding PEZA is that “despite the advisories they issued, PEZA continuously responded to the FOI requests lodged during the ECQ [period].”

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has expressed gratitude for the award, saying “We thank the PCOO for the recognition of PEZA’s hard work, diligence, and industriousness in serving and quality of responsiveness to our clients, investors, and the general public during this pandemic.”

“PEZA registered enterprises immensely contribute to the economy that is why it is essential to implement great balancing acts to protect the health, welfare, and jobs of workers and assist the continuous operations of its economic zones and export companies especially this time of pandemic,” noted the PEZA Chief.

Plaza described that PEZA has improved its promotions and public relations efforts to ensure sharing of relevant information on ecozone operations in traditional and social media and that the investment promotion through online platforms continue amidst the pandemic.

Assisting enterprises amidst pandemic

For the period of November 2-6, 2020, PEZA has reported that 2,627 registered companies have continued operating with 1,048,749 employees working under various work arrangements. The IT-BPO and Manufacturing sectors are operating at 84% and 89% respectively.

Plaza said, “PEZA is thankful for its locator companies and ecozone operators for their cooperation and compliance to health and safety measures and protocols that allowed the Philippine economy stay afloat.”

“We will continue to do our best to perform our mandate, keep and even attract more investors to the country, and assist and contribute to our economy. Let us work together to bounce back from this crisis stronger than ever,” quipped the Director General.
For three consecutive years, PEZA has been a recipient of the FOI Awards. Aside from this recognition, the Authority has also been recognized as the ‘Agency with Most Number of Requests’ in the 2018 and 2019 FOI Awards.

PEZA to launch TIGER Course on taxation and incentives for export-oriented companies and ecozone developers

PEZA to launch TIGER Course on taxation and incentives for export-oriented companies and ecozone developers
November 26, 2021
PEZA to launch TIGER Course on taxation and incentives for export-oriented companies and ecozone developers

PEZA to launch TIGER Course on taxation and incentives for export-oriented companies and ecozone developers

25 November 2020 (Wednesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is set to kick-off a free webinar course dubbed as “Taxation and Governance for Exporters Review” (TIGER) Course that is dedicated for existing and even interested PEZA locator companies and ecozone developers on Thursday, November 26.
 

“Amidst COVID-19 pandemic, PEZA continue to take initiatives to assist existing and even future enterprises in ecozones nationwide in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. As we approach yearend of 2020, we believe it is still crucial to conduct training on webinar platforms so that education and learning about PEZA’s tax incentives and corporate taxation continue and help businesses,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza on Wednesday.

The PEZA Chief announced that beginning November 26, “The TIGER Course is a free webinar course that will tackle tax incentives and taxation for ecozone locators and exporters and will be launched as one of the programs of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Institute.”

The TIGER Course seeks to refresh our locator companies and economic zone developers of essential information about the ongoing fiscal policy reform initiated by the government for the export-oriented industries in the Philippines and the status quo rules and regulations on taxes and incentives.

“As we aim for TIGER Course to be an annual webinar course provided by PEZA, we envision this as a platform for various government agency partners of PEZA like the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to be able to brief investors of the different processes, existing policies, and various requirements for export-oriented industries and enterprises,” said Plaza.

TIGER Course Webinar Schedule

The launching on November 26 will be graced by Makati Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Emelita Apostol Alvarez, PMA Accounting Services and Taxation Consulting Co. President Gina R. Mandigma, Ms. Cheryl Edline C. Ong, Partner, Business Tax Services of SGV & Co. Head Cebu Office, Mr. Santhanakrishnan Vaidiswaran, President and General Manager of TMX Philippines Inc and President MEPZCEM Chamber Inc., and Mr. Felix Taguliam, the President of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Afterwards, the TIGER Course is scheduled to have three (3) sessions and will run from November 27 until December 09, 2020.

For the first session on November 27, Taxation Law and Tax Risk Assessment will be discussed and it will give the general overview/background on taxation as well as the digital solutions in financial management and tax risk management processes.

The second session, which will be held on December 3-4, the topic would revolve around Fiscal Incentives and Risk Control. Here, the rules of the BIR and BOC on Freeport shipments will be discussed as well as the updates on the BOC issuances on importations. In addition to this, the tax rules and requirements for foreign expatriates and the Tax Amnesty Law.

Further, Financial Reporting Standards Review will be the topic for the third and final session on December 9 wherein PEZA officials will discuss including the reportorial requirements.

Plaza said, “While we promote ease of doing business, we in PEZA also urge responsible entrepreneurship in a way that businesses and proprietors must keep up with and be diligent about rules and regulations including on taxation and incentives. TIGER Course is part of our services to assist our locators and help Philippine government in its efforts for fiscal governance.”

“We hope the TIGER Course will be able to help our investors become more aware regarding our taxation laws, the risks to manage, and possible improvements that will best attract more investors to the country,” posited by the Director General.

PEZA extends COVID-19 assistance and reprieves to its registered enterprises, BIR approves the move 

PEZA extends COVID-19 assistance and reprieves to its registered enterprises, BIR approves the move 
November 17, 2020
PEZA extends COVID-19 assistance and reprieves to its registered enterprises, BIR approves the move 

PEZA extends COVID-19 assistance and reprieves to its registered enterprises, BIR approves the move 

17 November 2020 (Monday)
 

Pasay City – While COVID-19 pandemic continues towards the end of year 2020, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has extended its assistance and reprieves to its registered business enterprises (RBEs) cushion the perilous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

PEZA Director General Plaza said on Monday, “This is a great way to help our RBEs who, despite being hit by the pandemic, they are the ones keeping our economy afloat. With sound economic and legal policies, we must continue to do our best to keep these companies in our country despite the present uncertainties.”

“Since the start of the lockdown in March in the country, PEZA’s registered companies have implemented strict COVID-19 measures to protect the health and safety of the Filipino workforce while continuing to contribute in the global supply and demand,” Plaza noted.

Assistance and Reprieves

PEZA Memorandum Circular no. 2020-011 titled “PEZA assistance to Ecozone IT Enterprises in Responding to COVID-19”, which was extended under MC No. 2020-040 dated 31 July 2020, has been further extended until 31 December 2020, subject to guidelines and requirements that PEZA will issue for WFH and other work arrangements outside PEZA-registered IT Centers.

The said memo circular aims to further assist PEZA Ecozone IT Enterprises in their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic and to facilitate the continued ease in movement of their IT equipment and other assets for the purpose of setting up work-from-home (WFH) operations and other work arrangements outside their PEZA-registered IT Center facilities.

The PEZA Board has also approved on October 2 the extension of the effectivity of the 90% limit on the WFH arrangement until 12 September 2021.

Moreover, the PEZA Board approved the consideration of the following as direct costs for RBEs entitled to the 5% GIT incentive:

1. Cost of temporary (near-site) housing/accommodations to employees of the enterprise, including accommodations inside the facility of the enterprise for stay-in employees;
2. Cost for shuttle services for the employees;
3. Port charges in MICP, Port of Manila, and NAIA arising from delays in the release of shipments at the said ports immediately after the implementation of the ECQ in NCR;
4. Costs for disinfecting conducted by the company to its work area/facility/premises, and cost of PPEs and sanitation requirements; and
5. COVID tests for their employees.

However, this assistance or consideration is only applicable for the COVID-19 quarantine period of ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ and it is without prejudice to the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) inherent power to audit the expenses.

BIR response to PEZA

In support of the move, the BIR has okayed PEZA’s assistance to the RBEs that are enjoying the 5% gross income tax (GIT) incentive.

In BIR’s letter response to PEZA dated 27 October 2020, it has noted that “If the enumerated expense can be directly attributed in providing the PEZA-registered services, then it should be treated as direct cost, otherwise, it is non-deductible.”

For the cost of temporary housing/accommodation to PEZA RBEs’ employees as well as the shuttle services, BIR said “only the cost of temporary accommodation [and for shuttle services] for Operations and Maintenance personnel may be considered as direct cost, as they are the employees whose work can directly be attributed to the PEZA-registered services.”

BIR also noted that the port charges may be considered direct costs pursuant to Section 27 (a) of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997. They have stated that “Port charges arising from delays in the release of shipments only for finished goods or raw materials used in providing the PEZA-registered services.”

Further, the “cost for disinfecting and cost for PPEs and sanitation requirements, for as long as incurred for Operations and Maintenance personnel and the work area/facility/premises which such personnel work in, may be considered direct costs.”

As for the COVID tests however, BIR has found that “It is not directly related to the rendition of its registered service, since the enterprise can still carry on its PEZA-registered services without having to incur cost for the COVID-19. Hence, unless it can be proven that such COVID tests are directly related to the registered services, then they should be classified as operating expenses and must be disallowed as a direct cost.”

On her part, PEZA Director General expressed gratitude to the BIR for supporting PEZA’s initiative to assist its locator companies that help to keep the Philippine economy afloat and keep jobs of thousands of Filipinos in various ecozone industries.

“Let us do our best to keep and even attract foreign direct investors to our country. Let us be one in making a competitive and positive business environment in order to attain our goal of making the Philippines an investment haven in Asia,” Plaza noted.

House Speaker Velasco lauds PEZA's balancing acts, listens to concerns of investors

House Speaker Velasco lauds PEZA's balancing acts, listens to concerns of investors
October 22, 2021
House Speaker Velasco lauds PEZA's balancing acts, listens to concerns of investors

House Speaker Velasco lauds PEZA's balancing acts, listens to concerns of investors

22 October 2020 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – The new House Speaker Congressman Lord Allan Jay Velasco has lauded and expressed support to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s (PEZA) programs and efforts to keep and attract investors to the Philippines amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

On Tuesday, PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has welcomed House Speaker Velasco with Bataan Province Representative Jose Enrique “Joet” Garcia III to the agency’s new office at Double Dragon Center WEST Bldg. in Pasay.

“PEZA is grateful that the very humble and esteemed new House Speaker himself visited PEZA’s new office to dialogue with us and listen to stakeholders about the export-industry which have been adversely hit by the COVID-imposed lockdowns and global crisis the halted exports and investments, thus affecting jobs,” said Plaza.

“He is such a humble, hands on, and down-to-earth House Speaker who even went out of his way to visit us in PEZA to discuss with us how we can assist and support our investors during these trying times and to even continue to attract new investors to the country,” said Plaza.

Velasco lauds PEZA's balancing acts

During the dialogue, the PEZA Chief presented PEZA’s performance under the Duterte administration, the great balancing acts during the pandemic where PEZA is able to continue operations of majority of ecozones, and the export-industry continue to give jobs to thousands of Filipinos.

“COVID-19 cannot stop us in PEZA to act locally and think globally, to give jobs and hope to many Filipinos, and keep the competitiveness of Philippine investments. We are glad for the support we receive on this mission to help our economy survive and keep jobs, investments, and export incomes,” said Plaza.

“PEZA and its registered-enterprises or companies immensely contribute to the economy with majority of its companies operational and its employees working amidst the COVID-19 crisis. We are glad that our esteemed lawmakers like the House Speaker show openness to listen to the concerns and role of our export-industry and ecozones” she said.

Based on the latest report from PEZA ecozones about its locator companies’ operations for the period of September 21-26, 2020, 87% of the total PEZA registered companies in different types of ecozones are operational. Such 87% is constituted by 2,620 of companies nationwide regulated by PEZA. Breaking down this numbers, PEZA recorded that IT/BPO sector is 83% operational, while manufacturing is 90% operational.

Velasco supports role of PEZA in AO No. 18 to spread development

Plaza also discussed with the House Speaker PEZA’s new concept in creating different types of economic zones to fully implement President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Administrative Order No. 18, which mandates the creation of special economic zones in the countryside.

According to the Director General, “PEZA’s economic zones have modeled to bring peace, prosperity, lowered poverty and crime incidence with LGU hosts’ increase their income and classification and their constituents provided with jobs and better lives.”

The largest export-oriented Investment Promotion Agency in the country that regulates ecozones, PEZA is renowned for its best practices for providing a better business environment due to its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors.

PEZA’s outstanding performance over the years has likewise been continuously recognized globally including the IFC World Bank as having the “best practice among the economic zones worldwide.”

Meanwhile, the recent US Department of State 2020 Investment Climate Statement made the specific statement that the “While the Philippine bureaucracy can be slow and opaque in its processes, the business environment is notably better within the special economic zones, particularly those available for export businesses operated by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), known for its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors.”

It further said that, “PEZA administrators have earned a reputation for maintaining a clear and predictable investment environment within the zones of their authority.”

Moreover, the cost and benefit analysis (CBA) study conducted by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has vindicated PEZA’s globally-competitive, tried and tested tax incentives that it indeed generates more investments and contribution to the economy.

Velasco and Garcia both supported PEZA’s plans and programs and pledged to extend help in ways they can.

PEZA will soon conduct another roundtable discussion with House Speaker Velasco together with the industry associations, foreign chambers, and other PEZA stakeholders to come up with a contingency plan for the future of foreign direct investments in the country and the spreading of special ecozones to the countryside, jobs, and technologies to attain the total development of the country and make the Philippines as an investment haven in Asia.

“We need to fully industrialize the country to realize President Duterte’s Ambisyon Natin 2024, that every Filipino will have jobs, and Filipinos will be in the middle state of our society,” noted Plaza.

PEZA, industries call for two separate regimes of tax incentive for export and for domestic businesses amidst pandemic and CREATE bill passage

PEZA, industries call for two separate regimes of tax incentive for export and for domestic businesses amidst pandemic and CREATE bill passage
October 12, 2020
PEZA, industries call for two separate regimes of tax incentive for export and for domestic businesses amidst pandemic and CREATE bill passage

PEZA, industries call for two separate regimes of tax incentive for export and for domestic businesses amidst pandemic and CREATE bill passage

12 October 2020 (Monday)
 

Pasay City – As the Philippines ranked first in ASEAN in most COVID-19 cases since August despite seven months of lockdowns and the economy grapples with job losses and tough competition for investments in the pandemic, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority calls on the Senate to consider instead two separate regimes of tax incentives for export and for domestic market enterprises.
 

“The Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill which aims to rationalize fiscal incentives for both export and domestic companies should instead be focused on applying only to domestic market,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza on Monday as Senate deliberates the bill as a top agenda.

Plaza said that “We are still in the state of calamity. Philippine economy is suffering with uncertainties that are created by the COVID-19 global crisis and the uncertainties of the CREATE bill. Passage of CREATE bill is in bad timing. Its passage is insensitive with the companies struggling to operate, keep jobs, and that contribute to keep the economy afloat. Also it will badly affect competition for new investments in our export industry.”

The PEZA Chief explained that “It is detrimental strategy to apply new tax incentives regime to export-based companies when in fact PEZA’s tax incentives is globally-competitive, tried, and tested for attracting investments that other countries try to compete with.”

“Moreover, as shown in the recent NEDA’s initial key findings from cost benefit analysis (CBA) on tax incentives from 2016 to 2018, PEZA is vindicated with the finding that its tax incentives indeed generate more investments and contribution to the economy,” she added.

CREATE bill aims to rationalize fiscal incentives uniformly both to export and domestic markets. Meanwhile, aggressively competing ASEAN neighbors had been adjusting both their fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to attract transferring companies and keep existing investors amidst the pandemic where operations of companies are volatile.

Why CREATE bill must apply only to domestic market

The PEZA Chief underlined that “Exporters should not be equated with domestic companies that only produce for the local market. The two are different in context. The exporters compete in a global market and face tougher competition from international competitors, while domestic market only focus on local consumers and few competitor.”

“In terms of tax incentives, it is a crucial factor for export-based investors as part of ease and cost of doing business. Investors compare tax incentives in different countries. However, PEZA’s incentives and brand of service in one-stop-shop and non-stop shop are internationally renowned already and globally-competitive. Hence, there is no need to tinker with it. When we tinker with PEZA’s tried and tested incentives that keep our investors, it threatens companies that can opt to transfer their investments abroad. They can leave and it means job losses for Filipinos,” said Plaza.

“On the other hand, domestic market is the one that needs to experience tax incentives and be incentivized with their market. In addition, establishing or changing their tax incentives won’t be large threat to the economy because they don’t necessarily leave the country and transfer capital,” explained Plaza.

The country needs export income as part of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and to generate investments and jobs.

Exporters need separate fiscal incentives

Further explaining the special context for ecozones, the PEZA Chief said that “Ecozone investors under PEZA, Subic, Clark, AFAB and other IPAs are export-oriented and therefore must be provided special fiscal and investment incentives as they compete in the international market.”

“As efficiency-seeking investors, they consider incentives as compelling factor in their decision to locate in a certain country including cost of doing business and labor productivity. Ecozone locators in particular rely on fiscal incentives to compensate for high cost of doing business and weak supply chain in the Philippines, and so they can be viable with their export operations in the country,” she added.

“CREATE bill is more advantageous to domestic enterprises with their market or resource-seeking investments, but the bill will be detrimental to export enterprises given their efficiency-seeking investments,” Plaza said.

At the global context, ecozones and freeports worldwide compete to offer the best fiscal incentives to be able to attract FDI and generate export revenues for their government. “We are not the only game in town as we vie for FDI against our ASEAN neighbors, and where ecozones as a development strategy continue to be the trend worldwide particularly in Asia,” the PEZA Chief said.

In terms of Income Tax Holiday (ITH) alone as a common fiscal incentive for FDI attraction, the Philippines has the shortest term of 4- 8 years ITH compared to the 5- 15 years ITH among ASEAN top five countries. Vietnam can offer up to 40 years of ITH, while Dubai's ITH period ranges from 15- 50 years.

“We have more developed ASEAN neighbors that have better quality of infrastructure, ease of doing business and overall competitiveness than the Philippines. While our incentives still keep our investors, we must realize that it becomes imperative that the government provides for a different and even enhanced incentives for export-oriented FDI in order for the country to be competitive as an investment destination in the region,” Plaza remarked.

Status quo tax incentives for exporters

The PEZA Chief also appealed that keeping the status quo of tax incentives for exporting companies is being sensitive to both investors and to Filipinos’ need for jobs and livelihood.

Meanwhile, the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) in their letter dated 28 May 2020 to Senator Pia Cayetano, head of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, requested that existing investors and locators in economic zones be given “a five (5) year deferment of any changes to current incentives to counterbalance serious uncertainties brought about by the health crisis and give ample time to recoup losses.”

IBPAP President Rey Untal described it as a much-needed deferment and after which the IT and BPO industry is open to proceed with the sunset provisions.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto also pointed out that even when the passage of the bill will end the agonizing uncertainty for investors, they must be very careful with its negative implications. “If we make a mistake and pass a bad law on rationalizing fiscal incentives, we will miss the boat … We might be killing the goose that lays the golden eggs as well in the process,” said Recto.

Likewise, Senator Richard Gordon called for caution in tinkering around with something that is not broken especially on rationalizing incentives given by IPAs. “It may not be the right time to do this. Let us take a step back and look at our situation because COVID is going to exacerbate it. Let us not tinker around too much with what is working because we might end up in a bigger abyss,” he said.

Export companies retain jobs amidst job losses in pandemic

According to DOLE report, close to 100,000 workers in the country were laid off in the first semester of 2020 due to the pandemic. The figure is a fraction of the 4.9 million who lost their jobs in April.

“Despite the difficult times in COVID-19 pandemic, PEZA has maintained its operations of registered-companies through its ‘balancing acts.’ We should be sensitive and support also export-companies that keep the jobs of Filipinos,” said Plaza.

“PEZA has implemented an effective ‘balancing acts’ to address both the dangers and opportunities brought by the COVID-19 crisis. Now, 80%-90% of its 4,587 locator companies in its 408 ecozones continue to operate with implementation of strict health and safety protocols, ensuring the welfare of more than one million employees still working.”

Bringing pride and hope amidst the pandemic, the PEZA Chief thanked the US Department of State for recognizing PEZA that regulates and operates special economic zones as providing a better business environment due to its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors.

In its official 2020 Investment Climate Statements communicated through the Philippine Embassy in the US and to the Department of Trade and Industry, the US Department of State made the specific statement that the “While the Philippine bureaucracy can be slow and opaque in its processes, the business environment is notably better within the special economic zones, particularly those available for export businesses operated by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), known for its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors.”

PEZA Chief’s fourth year leadership of PH ecozones marked with milestones, great balancing acts in COVID-19 pandemic 

PEZA Chief’s fourth year leadership of PH ecozones marked with milestones, great balancing acts in COVID-19 pandemic 
October 12, 2021
PEZA Chief’s fourth year leadership of PH ecozones marked with milestones, great balancing acts in COVID-19 pandemic 

PEZA Chief’s fourth year leadership of PH ecozones marked with milestones, great balancing acts in COVID-19 pandemic 

12 October 2020 (Monday)
 

Pasay City – A seasoned leader with experiences in Congress, military, and local government amongst others, BGen Charito “Ching” B Plaza MNSA, PhD has proven again her leadership prowess as she reached her fourth year leading the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) amidst the pandemic and implementing great balancing acts in managing the top investment promotion agency in the country.
 

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead PEZA to greater heights and despite the pandemic. One’s leadership is tested in this pandemic and I humbly say I’m able to withstand the odds based on faith and rational and sound initiatives. At the heart of my hard work in PEZA is keeping and generating jobs for Filipinos, investments, and export income that boost Philippine economy,” said Plaza.

As the PEZA Chief, Plaza initiated major policy reforms particularly in revolutionizing the PEZA towards the goal of making the Philippine ecozones as economic driver & global contributor to supply chain.

Plaza is the second presidential appointee to the position of Director General since PEZA’s creation in 1995 by virtue of Republic Act No. 7916. Duterte appointed Plaza as PEZA Chief and she assumed the role beginning October 4, 2016. She is the co-author of Republic Act No. 7916 also known as “The Special Economic Zone Act of 1995” during her time as Congresswoman. Plaza has reached the 25th founding anniversary of the agency.

Since 2016 from the time of Plaza’s appointment to the present, PEZA recorded a total of 680.8 billion pesos of investments, a very significant portion of which comes from the development of new economic zones all over the country

Great Balancing Acts, Proven Leadership amidst Pandemic

In her time as PEZA Chief, Plaza is managing 408 economic zones and 4,587 registered companies and enterprises nationwide and her leadership helped to keep operations and performance of ecozones and to keep thousands of jobs amidst the seventh month of quarantines or lockdowns in the country.

Plaza said “PEZA has done positive changes and performance since 2016 even towards this 2020 despite that Philippines economy is coping with the pandemic. Early in March 2020, PEZA was avante-guard in implementing great balancing acts in order to keep operations of hundreds of ecozones that directly employ 1.6 million Filipinos.”

Based on the latest report from PEZA ecozone about the operations for the period of September 21-26, 2020, 87% of the total PEZA registered companies in different types of ecozones are operational. Such 87% is constituted by 2,620 of companies nationwide regulated by PEZA. Breaking down this numbers, PEZA recorded that IT/BPO sector is 83% operational, while manufacturing is 90% operational.

Nationwide, Luzon records that 86% or 2,193 out of its total 2,560 companies have already resumed operations. The Visayas is 94% operational or 384 out of its total 409 companies are operating. Mindanao is 90% operational which means that 43 out of its total 48 companies are also already operational.

Despite reported positive cases in some areas of some ecozones, there were only three deaths reported from PEZA registered ecozones nationwide.

“Beyond the pandemic, PEZA’s goal is to leave a legacy to Philippine investments and regions nationwide as we reach the last two years of the Duterte administration,” said Plaza.

“We will leave a legacy that is implementable within the last two years of the Duterte administration. This includes rebuilding the PEZA Pasay building and the Compensation and Position Classification System (CPCS) that are important as PEZA spreads services to regions nationwide. Unfortunately, the CPCS has not been finalized by the previous administration that affected the morale and compensation of long-time workers in PEZA,” said Plaza.

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

“We are adopting the Thinking Globally, Acting Locally campaign. The reason for this is exports compete in a global market while export incomes help generate dollar income to the national economy. In relation to this, ecozones are the key economic drivers to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) that will pave the way for the goal of building an export and production-driven economy—moving beyond a consumption and import-driven economy,” said Plaza.

“Achieving that goal of export and production-driven economy needs that efficiency factors for investments to be addressed. That is why PEZA takes the initiative of implementing the Development Outreach for Labor and Livelihood Advancement of Resources (DOLLAR) program,” Plaza added.

DOLLAR program aims to enhance the human capital, resources, and idle lands in the country. It is specifically in support to the Administrative Order (AO) No. 18 signed by President Duterte which is about “Accelerating Rural Progress through the Robust Development of Special Economic Zones in the Countryside”.

Thinking globally, Plaza envisions “Philippines as active contributor to the global supply chain as top performer of exports from different types of ecozones.” In this view, the PEZA Chief underlined the importance of empowering domestic enterprises, LGUs, State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), and building partnerships with private sector to prepare the country to more diversified investments.

Plaza also built partnerships with SUCs in developing their hectares of idle lands into Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST) Park that is haven for new technology transfer and making the country as research and development and education center in Asia.

Meanwhile, Plaza also initiated the Ka-PIPPs which means “PEZA Investment Promotions Partnerships” program, which partners with various agencies and organizations who voluntarily support investment promotions and business matchings for the country.

“Part of being investment haven is that we transform or keep harnessing Filipinos to be world class, multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, and world-class workers in every region of the country who are equipped with knowledge and skills needed amidst new technology and new ecozones. Hence, in DOLLAR program, PEZA facilitates human capital development through skills matching and training and identifying the same through the Special Economic Zone Institute,” said Plaza.

PEZA together with DTI and DOLE launched on July 29 the DOLLAR programs Job Expo and online skills training. In an online platform which can be found in PEZA website, the public, any interested Filipino working age, can search the available jobs which is a total of 69,081 and counting which are located in PEZA registered companies and ecozones. The vacancies are open for all unemployed Filipinos and repatriated OFWs, with jobs for newly graduates and under work-from-home arrangements being offered.

Different types of ecozones as drivers for development

“PEZA is going beyond the traditional perception that ecozones are primarily or merely just the manufacturing or assembling type. In fact, there are different types of ecozones that can be established in idle lands depending on the viability and apt to the natural resources available in the area,” said Plaza.

Plaza explained that “PEZA can do more in partnership with private developers or public ecozones into developing smart cities or townships within cities. We are helping to build metropolitan areas with the presence of economic zones as the key driver for economic development.”

As PEZA reached its 25th year this 2020, Plaza initiated the master-planning or redesigning of the 40-year old public ecozones located in Baguio, Cavite, Angeles, and Mactan. These are old concept of industrial parks. “Now we are turning them into models of green, healthy and sustainable, smoke-free smart industrial cities.”

The different types of ecozones available and potential for developing into new ones are: Halal Hubs and Production Zone; Export Processing Ecozone; IT Parks and Centers; Agro-industrial Ecozone; Agro-Forestry Ecozone; Mineral Processing Economic Zones; Free Trade Zone in International Air/Sea Ports Logistics Parks; Renewable Energy Eco-Industrial Park; Tourism Economic Zones Retirement Homes and Wellness & Naturopathy Villages; Island Cities; Knowledge Innovation and Science Technology (KIST) Parks; and Defense Industrial Complex.

Addressing efficiency factors of investments

Anchored on the mission to fully industrialize the Philippines with different types of ecozones and become an investment haven in Asia, Plaza said that addressing the efficiency factors of investments is important to attract investors and urge expansions to various regions. Efficiency factors include the ease of doing business, cost of doing business, supply chain, power and water rates, labor rates and labor capabilities, digital connectivity, peace and order, and international connectivity and logistics infrastructures, backward and forward linkages among others.

So aside from tax incentives administered by PEZA, Plaza urge whole-of-government support to maintaining and enhancing the Philippine competitiveness for exports and ecozone investments saying that there’s tighter competition among neighboring countries to keep investors and attract new ones.

“In an atmosphere of world recession and export companies looking to consolidate their resources and transferring to other profitable countries with better incentives, we must seek to assure our current investors that the Philippines remains the best investment haven hub in Asia because of our one-stop, non-stop shop, and continuing improvements in the country’s efficiency factors” said Plaza.

AO No. 18: Spreading ecozones to more regions

The PEZA Chief lauds President Duterte’s signing of AO No. 18 last 2019 which ordered the spreading of development of ecozones to the countryside. “This paves the way for utilizing and making idle lands productive and for bringing about the transfer of technology.”

President Duterte reiterated the importance of AO No. 18 during his fifth State of the Nation Address on July 27, 2020.

“Last year, I said that distributing economic and business activities is imperative to our country’s sustained and equitable growth. Today I reiterate that statement. I issued AO No. 18, directing concerned agencies to strengthen the development of Special Economic Zones in areas outside Metro Manila,” said the President.

Plaza underlined that President’s issuance of AO No. 18 evidenced the importance of ecozones in every region and is key for spreading development to the countryside. “LGUs that host the top public ecozones like Cavite, Mactan, and Baguio are very progressive and able to generate employment, multiplier effects, reducing poverty and bringing social progress. Regions with the most number of ecozones are in fact the top ranking regions for the country’s GDP. Host LGUs of ecozones are models of how ecozones bring progress and many LGUs now are hoping to replicate this,” said Plaza,

Before her appointment in PEZA, Plaza has already had a fruitful three consecutive terms in the Congress and with the other government agencies. In 1987, Plaza was elected as a congresswoman of the 1st District of Agusan del Norte, making her the youngest Congress Representative in the Philippine History. During her term, she has made major amendments to the Balikbayan Program and the Tourism Infrastructure Bill.

A Brigadier General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Reserve Force, Plaza is also trained on Crisis Resolution and Management at Melbourne, Australia; National and International Security Management at JFK School of Government of Harvard University; Preparing and Managing the Consequences of Terrorism at the Civil Military School of the National Guard Bureau in San Luis Obispo, California; and at the Asia Pacific Center on Security Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Trainings both domestic and international have honed Plaza as a Crisis-Oriented Leader and a National and International Security Administrator.
 

DG ON-CAM

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